Choosing your fabric

Find your perfect fabric with our rating system

At Thimble and Notch we understand that shopping online for fabric can be difficult. Without feeling the fabric for yourself it can be tough to know what you’re ordering and we know how frustrating and disappointing it can be when your fabric isn’t what you expected.

Our rating system gives you handy pointers about the properties of your fabric. You’ll see these ratings on all our fabric descriptions to help you make the right choice. Below you’ll see the details of our ratings for opacity, sheen, drape and stability. The higher the rating, the more of that quality the fabric has. Simple!

If you are still unsure about your fabric we recommend using our swatch service. As camera lenses and monitor settings can sometimes skew colours, we also recommend this service if you have a specific colour in mind. If you need a larger sample, please contact us to order a 25cm length.

Opacity rating

This helps you to understand how sheer or opaque your fabric is

0. A very sheer or transparent fabric, or fabric with large holes/ cut outs. Skin and underwear would be clearly visible in garments made from a 0 rated fabric. Examples: Lace, organza
1. A sheer fabric or fabric with smaller holes/cut outs. Skin and underwear would be quite visible in garments made from this fabric. Examples: chiffon, “burnout” jersey, voile
2. A fine fabric that shows light when held to a window, or fabrics with very small cut outs. Skin is covered by garments made with this fabric but underwear may show through. Examples: fine jersey, georgette, fine lawn, broderie Anglaise
3. Light – medium weight fabrics that show a little light when held to a window,but skin and underwear would be well covered by garments made in this fabric. Examples: viscose challis, lightweight jersey, crepe
4. Medium-heavy weight opaque fabrics that may show a little light when held to a window, but skin and underwear would not be visible. Examples cotton sateen, canvas, heavy crepe, scuba
5. A very thick opaque fabric. Very little to no light shows through when held in front of a window. Examples: wool coating, velvet, corduroy

Sheen rating

This rating tells you how lustrous you fabric is. It can be especially hard to see this in a photo so pay careful attention to this rating!

0. Completely flat matte fabric width no sheen at all. Examples: linen, cotton poplin or canvas
1. Fabrics with low sheen. Examples: hammered satin, peachskin
2. Fabrics with moderate sheen. Examples: satin, some fine crepes, dupion
3. Fabrics with a high sheen finish. Examples: liquid satin, or fabrics with shiny, metallic prints
4. Very obvious all-over shiny finish. Examples: PVC or fabrics with moderate embellishment with glitter or sequins.
5. Fabric with all-over, very shiny, metallic effect, or fabrics heavily embellished with sequins/glitter. Examples: Foil effect fabrics, dancewear fabrics

Drape rating

The drape rating will tell you if your fabric will hang downwards or stand proud. Its is particularly helpful for assessing your fabric’s suitability for a project.

0. Very structured fabrics with little or no drape. Examples: thick felt, PVC coated waterproof fabric
1. Fabrics with a little drape and good structure. Examples: linen, canvas, craft cotton
2. Fabrics with a some drape and good structure. Examples: ponte, poplin
3. Fabrics with good drape and a little bit of structure. Examples cotton lawn
4. Light – medium fabrics with very good drape. Examples: viscose challis, cotton voile, jersey
5. Fine, but “weighty” fabrics with excellent drape. Examples: silk satin, crepe

Stability rating

This rating will tell you how easy or difficult your fabric will be to work with. We advise beginners to start fabrics with a 3+stability as they move around less when cutting and sewing. As your confidence grows, you may like to try working with more challenging (but very beautiful!) fabrics

0. Very slippery, fine fabrics with little stability. Examples: silk chiffon
1. Light, fine fabrics with lots of movement. Examples: georgette, peachskin,
2. Fabrics with a little stability and some movement. Examples: heavy crepe
3. Moderately stable fabric, with little movement. Examples: cotton jersey, lawn, viscose challis
4. Stable fabrics that largely stay put when cutting. Examples: cotton poplin, ponte roma
5. Very stable fabrics with little to no movement. Eg craft cotton, felt