Judging fabric quality in a crazy market?

Hi and thanks so much for reading my question! I can understand if there are in fact no direct answers to this question. I live in india and the markets here are probably totally different to those in the States. we have brands but are not limited to them in the least and some of the most beautiful and high quality fabrics as well as clothes are sold in nameless shops at varying rates (tailoring is also big here). however, I seem to have developed a gripping fear of ending up with cheap or poor quality cloth. while I am a firm believer that quality comes at a price, it isn’t exactly always applicable in our markets. I find that I am afraid to buy something that doesn’t feel right to the touch at a local shop, but my fears are put to ease if I see a similar thing at a reputed branded store. this has also turned out to be quite a problem as I often fall in love with a pattern or find the perfect size, but hesitate to buy it because I’m worried the cloth will look cheap or spoil easily. I never really hesitate to invest in good cloth. the truth is that the concept of something “looking cheap” has been planted in my head by someone, and has clouded my judgement considerably. so my question is, are there any simple standard tests I can put the cloth to, by appearance or by feel, that will help me determine the quality? or vice versa, anything I can notice in a fabric that means I absolutely must NOT buy it? I’m sorry the question is so silly, and would more than understand if there was no proper answer. in that case please let me know if the best thing to do is to pick fabric/clothes in a more “secure” price bracket. thank you again!

By: nandini

One Response to “Judging fabric quality in a crazy market?”

  1. Kirsten Longly says:

    Dear Nandini,
    that is not a silly question at all. The only way you are going to get over that notion though is to purchase and work with as many materials as possible. Here’s a couple things you can do while at the fabric markets. Feel the materials. Price has nothing to do with what you want the material to do in the end. Develope a fabric swatch book. This contains 2″ by 2″ squares which have discriptions of the fabric, it’s fiber content, thread count, construction, and dye method. In otherwords educate yourself and keep notes. It’s taken me years but when I go to the fabric store now I can tell by feel what a fabric is made of. Another simple test is to take a section of the fabric between your hands, leave about 8″ between your hands and make sure to have a good grip on it. Move your hands in opposite directions. One up one down and reverse that action. Do this quickly. If the fabric is a bad weave you will be able to see it coming undone. The weave will become loose and more open. Don’t buy that fabric. It is almost sure to fall apart while you are working on it. Just because a fabric doesn’t cost alot does not mean it is cheap. Especialy where you are. What I wouldn’t give to go shoping in some of the markets you have access to. Hope that helps.