Fabric Weight Explained to Choose the Right Fabric
As a fashion designer, one of my most important decisions is choosing the suitable fabric for your designs. The fabric you choose can make or break the final garment, which is why it's crucial to understand the concept of fabric weight.
To make an informed decision, you need to know what fabric weight is, how it's measured, and how it affects the final garment. Fabric weight refers to the weight of the fabric per unit area, usually measured in grams per square meter (gsm). The weight of the material is determined by the type of fiber(s) used, the construction of the fabric, and the finishing processes applied.
There are different types of fabric weights, including:
1. GSM (grams per square meter) weight: This is the most commonly used method for measuring fabric weight. It's calculated by weighing a one-meter-by-meter piece of fabric and then converting the weight into grams per square meter.
2. Ounces per square yard: This standard measurement is used in the United States. It is calculated by weighing a one-yard by one-yard piece of fabric and then converting the weight into ounces.
Different fabrics have different weights, and typically, the weight of a fabric is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). Here are some common fabric types and their corresponding weights:
- Chiffon: 30-50 GSM
- Georgette: 60-70 GSM
- Satin: 50-100 GSM
- Taffeta: 50-100 GSM
- Cotton Jersey: 120-150 GSM
- Cotton Poplin: 110-150 GSM
- Denim: 200-300 GSM
- Linen: 100-300 GSM
- Silk Charmeuse: 65-85 GSM
It's important to note that these weights are just general guidelines, and the actual weight of a fabric can vary depending on factors such as the weave, fiber content, and finish.
When choosing the suitable fabric for your design, it's essential to consider the fabric weight. A heavier material may be more durable and have more structure, while a lighter-weight fabric may have more movement and drape. You'll need to choose a fabric weight appropriate for the design and desired look.
For instance, when I am designing a winter coat, choose a heavier-weight fabric that can withstand cold weather. Heavier fabrics, such as wool, are good choices for outerwear because they provide warmth and insulation.
On the other hand, when designing a summer dress, a lighter-weight fabric that is breathable and allows for airflow may be the right choice. Lighter materials, such as cotton or silk, are suitable for summer clothing because they are relaxed, comfortable, and can move quickly with the body.
In addition to fabric weight, there are other factors to consider when choosing a suitable fabric, including durability, comfort, and cost. You'll want to select a material that meets all your design needs while staying within your budget. At FABA, we highlight fabrics that are recycled or grown organically to protect the planet.
Understanding fabric weight is essential to choosing the suitable fabric for your design. By considering the type of fiber(s) used, the construction and finishing processes applied, and the fabric weight, you can choose a fabric that meets all your design needs and ensures a successful final garment.