Up until fifty years ago, the vast majority of women knew how to sew. All the women that I knew as a child sewed and knitted and manufactured some of the clothes for me and my four brothers. When I was eight or nine, I and each other child in my class was taught the fundamentals of knitting and before I went off to college, my mother taught me how to take up my jeans, sew on patches and repair my clothes. Unfortunately, sewing, knitting and repairing clothes has largely died out in the United Kingdom. I now live in Thailand and I do not see much evidence of sewing or knitting here, so I assume that these arts are dying out all over the world among the masses, although I am certain that there are individuals everywhere who still knit and sew. It is a real shame. If you are going to make your own clothes or furnishings like cushions, pillows or soft toys, it is pretty essential that you select the right fabric for the job. Using the wrong cloth will make your task more difficult and might even render your work worthless. So here are a few suggestions on choosing the correct cloth for the task in hand. The first and most obvious thing to do is read the recommendations on the pattern you are using and if you are a novice take that advice until you know what you are doing. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not read the instructions anymore. I can not remember the number of times I have seen someone struggling to assemble something and found the instructions in the bin with the packaging. Get to know textiles by examining the fabrics in the shop. Ask questions about textiles and look at the fabric on the bolt or roll. If the fabric does not look right on the bolt it probably will not look correct anywhere else either. When you unroll a couple of feet of the bolt, does it lie flat or does it roll up or crumple? Grab a handful and squeeze it. Does it crease easily? Does it feel right? Is the fabric fraying on the bolt? If so it will fray while you use it too. Look on the bolt for special cleaning or handling directions. Do they suit your needs? It is quite a problem to work with satin because it slips easily. T-shirt knit is also a problem because it rolls up on itself. It is almost certainly best to avoid these materials until you gain some experience Cotton is the best fabric for beginners because it is easy to work with and everyone is very familiar with cotton goods. We know how they should feel and we can tell good, thick heavy cotton from cheap, thin cotton. We also all know that cotton shrinks. Therefore before you cut your cloth, wash it and cut the shrunken cotton fabric. In effect, you have pre-shrunk it.Here's your FREE Scrapbooking Kit!