It is important to see if there are any stains or discolorations on the fabric. And if there are, notice if they are placed somewhere possible to cut around. It would be a shame to discover a huge stain on your new dress right after finishing sewing it….
When buying fabric in the secondhand store, it often doesn’t say what it is made of. Instead, you must touch it and find out for yourself. If you are a beginner and not sure of what to look for, try to have these things in mind: Does it seem synthetic? Will it feel nice on the skin to wear? Is it stretchy? Does it wrinkle?
- Drape of the fabric
Before buying your fabric in the thrift store, it is a good idea to have in mind what to sew. The drape of the fabric is very important for dresses, but not as much for a blouse. Sturdy fabric, like woven cotton, doesn’t have a nice drape for dresses, so e.g. bedding is not the best to use. You can read more about this *here*.
Tip: Hold the fabric up in the grain line direction. That way you can see how it drapes.
- Grain line direction
However, it isn’t always easy to find the thread direction on used fabric, as there typically isn’t a selvage to look for. The selvage is the edge from the factory. Instead, you can try stretching the fabric, and the direction with least stretch is the grain line direction.
We recommend that you spend some time on this step, as it is quite important to get the right drape.
You can watch our IGTV here about cutting the fabric, for further explanation.
We hope that it feels a little less daunting to buy your fabric secondhand after having read this little guide. You can always ask us on our Instagram, if you are still in doubt.