If you're fairly new to buying fabric, it can be thrillingly exciting... so many different designers, so many mouth watering colours, and amazing patterns. So, far so good. But then something complicated starts to happen and you begin to see words such as 'medium weight', heavy weight, home decor weight and then the mist starts to descend and you really aren't quite sure what it is you want.
Basically fabric weight is a term used to describe the thickness of the fibres which make up the fabric weave.
The fabric weight determines how the fabric behaves in terms of drape. Will it hang nicely, if my design has a lot of gathers will it still look soft and not all bunched up and stiff.
Heavier fabrics have a denser weave, think denim or corduroy as being a heavier weave. Therefore these are best suited to projects where they are likely to get 'heavy' use and least suited to sewing which require nice soft pleats and flouncy gathers.
Home decor/heavy weight fabrics are good for those places in the home which get a lot of use such as upholstery, cushions, covering dinning chairs, jackets, bags and purses because they tend to be more hard wearing.
So how do you decide which weight of fabric you need?
There more questions to ask here than just fabric weight but generally when you're buying fabric you have a sewing project in mind. If you're planning to make clothing with pretty gathers, tucks and pleats then you will achieve better results with light weight/medium weight fabrics which will be more inclined to flow around body contours and curves, rather than bunch up unattractively. So, think about how important the that is to the overall look of the garment.
(From Amy's s - pretty bag in Paradise Gardens in Midnight)
If you're sewing garments where this isn't such a consideration, designs with a lot of structure for example such as A-Line skirts, bags or jackets then the heavier weight or home decor fabrics may be perfect.
Heavy weight fabrics or home decor fabrics come in some beautiful and colourful designs. Just feast your eyes on these beauties.