How to choose the right fabric for your next collection?

fabric selection featured image

Selecting fabric and developing a new collection is a daunting process. There are a million thing that needs to align along the way. Our specialists have put together an easy ‘6 step mental framework’ for making the right decision before selecting fabric for a collection. By the end of this article, you will know what to look for when choosing fabric for your next collection.


  1. Put ‘customers’ at the center

Ultimately, all the products that a company manufacturers are for their customers. It is really important to make decisions that will help the company sells more products by winning the hearts of the customers.

  • What is the occasion?
  • What activities do they do?
  • Is this a premium collection?
  • What will be the lead time for the design?

Let’s face the fact that each of the apparel is made with certain occasions in mind. Brands have diversified their product offerings into various categories like sleepwear, loungewear, casual wear, party wear, sportswear, etc. in order to increase their market share. Each of the categories requires a certain type of clothing. Sportswear is likely to have quick dry and elastic properties. So it is important to choose fabrics like spandex for manufacturing sportswear items.

Each type of fabric has its own price. Hemp is expensive while polyester is cheap. Printed is cheaper than jacquard. So it is equally important to keep the budget and target price per unit in mind while finalizing a material.

Just like pricing, various fabric materials have different lead times also. Keep in mind that the lead can vary anywhere from 30 to 60 days depending on the manufacturer and the political situation in the country.


  1. Look for novelty

Customers love unique patterns that are fresh and rare. They expect their brands to be unique and different in their offering. While considering the fabric, mix up the conventional style. We need to consider the fact that each and every fabric has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Cotton mixed with linen or bamboo is more breathable.
  • Spandex increases elasticity
  • Special washes create unique textures.

natural vs synthetic fabric

Always look at how a certain fabric can be made fresh. It can be by playing with the warp and weft yarns, its construction, its weave, or its weight.


  1. Consider the fabric weight

GSM, grams per square meter is the measurement used for calculating the weight of a fabric. Fabrics can be divided into three depending on its weight.

  • Lightweight
  • Medium weight
  • Heavyweight

Learn how to calculate fabric GSM here: https://dineshexports.com/what-is-gsm-in-fabric-and-how-to-calculate-it/

Please take a look at the various fabrics coming under each weight class.

fabric weight classes

  1. Going green

It is possible to manufacture fabrics at a cheap price. But those materials do not follow the sustainable practices put forth by independent third-party organizations like the GOTS, OCS, etc.

Brands have a choice while choosing to go with sustainable products or a normal product. In this case, the price given to produce a green material will be higher than the normal fabric.

Sustainable fabrics

Does your brand value the health of the planet? Every choice you make represents the brand. Make this decision wisely.

There are certain fabrics available in the market that are considered to be sustainable. Eg: Bamboo and Hemp fabrics.

  • They are soft and comfortable to wear
  • Unique materials
  • Breathable
  • Resist against UV rays
  • Creates a curiosity in the customer

By adopting such naturally available sustainable fabrics, brands can achieve their sustainability goals along with presenting novel fabrics to customers.


  1. Decide the fabric drape

The stiffness of fabrics can be referred to as the fabric drape. It is an important factor that determines the flow of fabric. More drape means the fabric will float away from the body and soft drape means it sticks the body.

drape graph

(credits: www.colettepatterns.com)

Depending on the type of garment that needs to be made, the draping should be picked. If you want a flowing shirt, pick a well-draped thin fabric. But if you want a structured skirt, pick a stiff and thick fabric.


  1. Stretchable or not?

The elasticity of the fabric is its stretchability. It is important to note here that the patterns and designs that come on a piece of fabric can really be affected by the stretch effects. Make sure that you consider this before deciding on the fabric.

How to measure the stretchability of a fabric?

Items needed:

  • 5” material to be tested
  • Measuring ruler

Hold one side of the material on the zero marks and stretch the fabric over the ruler until you feel resistance. Divide the number (measurement) with the original length of its fabrics.

Eg: If your material stretches to 8”, then divide 3/5 = 0.6 * 100 = 60%

stretch measurement

Now that you have a strong understanding on what are the key things to look for while selecting fabrics for your next collection, you can be confident making your next choices. Share with your friends and colleagues and help them make better decisions.


For any type of woven fabrics manufacturing, reach out to us.

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