What Is The Best Fabric To Practice Sewing On?

It can be difficult to resist buying a piece of fabric when it is the perfect color and has a pattern that immediately captures your attention, rather than waiting to decide what to do with it. However, certain materials are so challenging to work with, that only the most skilled sewers have a chance of producing something decent with them.

Every hobby must begin somewhere, and sewing is no different, because you must start with gentle fabrics before utilizing ones that are more complicated.

What Is The Best Fabric To Practice Sewing On?

100% cotton cloth with a fine weave is the best material for beginners. You won’t encounter many issues when sewing with this kind of cloth, because it’s one of the easiest types to deal with and cut.

Furthermore, cotton is adaptable. It can be used to create almost anything. Additionally, cotton-based products are comfortable, robust, and simple to maintain.

Why Should I Use Cotton for Sewing?

Cotton is your best option when deciding which cloth to use for sewing practice. For various reasons, cotton is excellent for novice sewers and craftspeople. Some of these reasons include. 

1. Flexibility

Cotton is excellent for practicing various stitching techniques, since it is tolerant. They are useful for practicing cloth sewing, crafts, embroidery, and applique.

In terms of clothing, cotton is simpler to work with whole machine stitching, because batiks and synthetic fabrics tend to snag a little. Cotton’s durability makes it a fantastic material to practice serging seams, so that your garment looks more polished.

Most crafts use cotton because it is affordable. Some craft styles require various stitches, such as buttonholes or zigzags. Additionally, you can play around with the stitch modifications and presser foot position to make the stitches longer, shorter, closer, or farther apart.

Cotton is excellent for practicing embroidery. While you practice your stitches, they fit comfortably inside the hand or machine embroidery hoops. Cotton also eliminates the need for a stabilizer while you are not practicing your embroidery stitches, by allowing you to simply double it. Use a fabric with a wider weave, such as linen, wool, or jute, while practicing crewel stitching, which uses larger needles and floss.

2. Cheap And Available

Cotton fabric can be easily purchased from big box stores like Walmart at a very low price. Even if your local store doesn’t carry fabric yardage, they generally carry jelly rolls or fat quarters. For around $2, cotton fabric can be purchased, and you can easily begin to practice sewing.

More options can also be found in fabric stores, including bolts of cotton fabric that can be purchased by the yard. The variety may cost a little more, but because there is a wider selection, you might also find a lot.

You can also go through your closet and choose some cotton materials to practice your sewing, without having to spend on materials. Old shirts, skirts, and pants make excellent practice material.

What Is The Best Cotton Fabrics For To Practice Sewing?

While it has been established that cotton is the ideal fabric for beginners to practice sewing, these are the best cotton fabrics you can start your sewing practice with. 

1. Quilting Cotton 

Because they often have a thread count of between 60 and 75, quilting fabrics are the most accessible of all the cotton fabrics for learning stitches.  A little roughness will be felt when handling this.

To put things in perspective, low-cost sheets typically have a thread count of 200 to 300; therefore, quilting cotton will feel a little rougher than that. The thread count counts the number of threads that run through an inch of cloth in both length and width.

The lines that run lengthwise and widthwise can be seen on the quilting fabrics if you look attentively. The thread lines are still clearly visible, despite being more compact than Aida cloth for cross stitch. Beginner stitchers will appreciate this, because the thread line can serve the purpose of a stitch guide.

This is particularly simple to achieve while practicing hand sewing, but it can also be useful when sewing by machine, because you can align a specific strand of the cloth with the presser foot’s guidance.

Moreover, stitch removal is made simpler and less damaging to the cloth by the quilting cotton’s thread count. You may picture the locations where these threads converge, and arrange your stitches so that they pass through those minute junctions when using a quilting cotton thread count with fewer threads per inch. Furthermore, since they slide easily between the threads, less harm is done when stitches need to be undone and re-done.

2. Muslin

A sort of cotton cloth called muslin is relatively simple for beginners to deal with. It has a plain weave and is incredibly adaptable, working for both delicate and robust outfits. Dresses, quilts, blankets, upholstery, washcloths, blouses, and other clothing items are examples of frequent uses for muslin. 

Muslin is also recommended, because it is less expensive. Even seasoned sewers frequently start using muslin before cutting more expensive fabrics for their intended usage. Additionally, it is simple to confirm the specifics, particularly if you’re imaginative. Before sowing, double-check the sizing information to save time and money on subsequent jobs.

3. Batik Cotton

Due to their vivid colors, batiks are also renowned in quilting and often have a 200 thread count. You might wonder why batiks and quilting cotton are so different. Since batik cloth is constructed of finer threads, more may fit into each square inch. The additional threads are necessary for the batik dyeing process to produce vibrant colors.

With their tighter weave, batiks allow the needle’s entry and exit sites to manually leave holes, whether manually or mechanically. Most novice crafters choose to reserve their batik purchases for when they are a little more experienced with the needle and thread, because they are significantly more expensive than quilting cotton.

What Are The Drawbacks To Using Cotton Fabrics?

The cotton fabric also has some shortcomings. Cotton fabric’s worst flaw is its tendency to shrink, especially after its first wash. Therefore, you should get more cotton fabric than you anticipate when shopping. Before utilizing it in your sewing project, it must first undergo pre-shrinking by being washed. 

Cotton will shrink in size the first time it is washed, if it is not pre-shrunk before use. You won’t be able to wear the dress you labored over for hours, because it will be too small.

Cotton fabric, however, is still the route to go for a beginner sewer, despite a few small downsides that aren’t as significant as other textiles.

Are There Other Alternatives To Cotton?

One of the ideal fabrics for starters is polyester. In general, polyester is a lightweight, crease-resistant synthetic woven fabric. Since it doesn’t absorb moisture, it is ideal for clothing and home goods.

Due to the synthetic nature of polyester, items made with it or blends of it, such as caps, shirts, jeans, coats, bedsheets, and upholstered furniture, are extremely stain-resistant. Polyester is a more affordable option than natural fibers, making it a great practice cloth for sewing. 

What Are The Fabrics To Avoid As A Beginner?

To prevent your project from becoming an absolute disaster, there are some fabrics that you should avoid as a beginner. These fabrics include. 

– Denim

Given how popular denim is, it makes sense that you’d be motivated to create something using the material. Denim’s thick fabric is a concern. It can be challenging to just cut it, especially if your equipment isn’t as sharp. With the exception of those who enjoy damaged needles and sewing machine clogs, you cannot sew denim with any type of needle. No, you need a needle manufactured specifically for denim.

Additionally, additional accessories for your sewing machine are required, which adds to the cost. However, you’ll encounter difficulties when sewing with denim, even if you’re using the proper needles and supplies.

– Knit Fabrics

Stretchiness is the best feature of knit fabric. This makes it a fantastic fabric for various sewing projects. However, it is precisely this stretchiness that makes the knit fabric so difficult to work with. To prevent the knit fabric from puckering up when you stitch, you must slightly stretch it. 

However, overstretching it could lead to gathers, which is also undesirable. Additionally, when setting out your design, you shouldn’t expand it in any way. Knit also tends to snag and run, which can ruin an otherwise exquisite and possibly expensive piece of clothing.

– Satin Fabrics

Satin is a lovely fabric. It looks incredibly luxurious, shiny, and glossy. But despite how gorgeous it is, satin is tricky to deal with because it is slippery. Satin enjoys sliding across flat surfaces and through your fingers. It can be difficult to get it to “sit still” long enough to cut it properly.

Additionally, it can be challenging to keep two pieces of satin together long enough to sew them.


Once you’re comfortable sewing on quilting cotton, switch to a batik. If you’d like, try sewing on synthetic and slinkier fabrics.

Spend some time honing your stitching skills on each sort of fabric you’ll be working with, and in time, you can work on all sorts of fabric comfortably.