fabric terminology

I just wanted to say a few things about fabric…specifically about fabric terminology in regards to patternmaking. Most likely people know some of this already, but since I use these terms often on this site and in my patterns to describe the yardage for each fabric needed, I figured that I should clarify this. These are the professional terms and definitions as I learned and use them.

Self / Shell | This refers to the main fabric used in a garment, plain and simple. It can be cotton, linen, leather, upholstery material, whatever. If by chance you are making a garment out of paper bags, than the self is the paper bags. If you have a self belt, it is a belt made out of the main fabric used in your garment and if you have a contrast belt, it is made out of a different fabric. I’ve seen it referred to as any fashion fabric, but I’m not sure how accurate that is. I guess I’ve never really seen a definition of fashion fabric, I just assume it to be fabrics one typically uses when making garments?

Combination / Contrast | This refers to any fabric you are using in combination with the self (main) fabric. There may be many different combinations or contrasts, usually listed as contrast 1, contrast 2 and so forth. So say you are making a plastic bag border at the bottom of your paper bag dress, then plastic bag then becomes the contrast.

Lining | You know this one…it’s whatever you use to line your garment with.

There are more of course but this should cover it for now, if I add any other terms to my patterns I will be sure to clarify here!

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