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Help Topics

We've put together some helpful information with the aim of answering questions that we get asked a lot. If after reading this you still have a question, then contact us and we will get back to you.

What bases do you offer for your custom fabrics?

We always offer cotton lycra with a composition of 95% cotton and 5% elastane, it's a minimum of 150cm wide, has a 4 way stretch and is approximately 220-240gsm.

We will also from time to time offer the designs on the following bases, although they may not always be available for each design in every round. Depending on the demand for a particular base, we may be able to add it to the round, so please ask if there is a design you would like to see on a particular base.

French Terry which has a composition of 95% cotton and 5% elastane (spandex), it's a minimum of 150cm wide, has 4 way stretch and is approximately 260-280gsm. It can be used for all the same projects as jersey knit but has a looped reverse, is a bit thicker and is often called summer sweat.

Double brushed polyester which has a composition of 88% polyester and 12% elastane (spandex), it's a minimum of 150cm wide, has 4 way stretch and is approximately 240gsm. It has a thinner feel than the other stretch fabrics due to the manufacturing process, which brushes both sides of the fabric so it is super soft. It has lovely drape and is suitable for a range of uses, especially leggings, tops and dresses.

Swim with a composition of 80% polyester and 20% elastane (spandex), it's a minimum of 150cm wide, has 4 way stretch and is appoximately 220-240gsm. It's slick to the touch to slide through the water. It is also suitable for use in other active wear such as running leggings, gymnastic leotards etc.

Heavy woven which is 100% woven cotton fabric. It's around 260gsm and is a minimum of 150cm wide. It has zero stretch and is close to a canvas in weight and texture so is perfect for bags, cushions, curtains and other homeware items.

Cotton poplin which is 100% woven cotton fabric. It's around 135gsm and is a minimum of 150cm wide. It has zero stretch and is a lightweight cotton fabric suitable for clothing.

Do you offer panels?

As and when the main fabric design has an element that we think will work well as a panel, we do. They're normally available for sale individually, although from time to time we may offer bundles at a discounted rate - this will be clearly indicated on the shop listing when we do.

Our panels are only available in jersey knit, unless specifically stated otherwise. We offer two sizes, adult and child. The panels are 74.5cm wide and 98.5cm high for adults; and 48.5cm wide and 50cm high for children.

How do I order me some fabric?

Roughly once a month we offer a "round" which is comprised of a selection of designs that we have created and will be available to order on a preorder basis.

The preorder is open for around two weeks, during which time you will be able to place your order via our website in the shop. Also, during this period, you will get to see examples of the designs that people have sewn from samples, which we call "strike offs", shown in our Facebook group.

Once the order has closed, the fabric is digitally printed and then sent to us for quality control and cutting, before it is finally sent to you.

We always order extra metreage of each design and, once all preorders have been fulfilled, any remaining fabric will be stocked in our shop under the retail heading. Any retail fabric can be purchased and will be shipped out immediately.

When will I get my fabric?

If you have ordered preorder fabric, our leadtime is approximately 8-10 weeks from the close of the order until dispatch. Keep up to date with how each round is progressing by joining our Facebook group.

If you have ordered retail fabric from the shop, we aim to ship out all orders within 2-3 working days.

Do you ship internationally?

We do! Shipping is calculated by weight to the desired country. You can get an estimate of the shipping cost before checking out by using the calculator.

To help keep shipping costs to the US down, we also have a co-op group that you can join to share the cost of postage, you can join that to find out more here.

Do you offer layaway on preorders?

Yes, we do. A minimum order value of £50 (pre shipping) applies, please read our Terms and Conditions for layaway payments and use the code layaway at checkout.

My fabric has arrived, do I need to do anything with it before I start sewing?

The first thing you should do is look over your fabric, and make sure that there aren't any flaws in it. We do our best to find any flaws during cutting but we are only human, so if you find one that we may have missed contact us and let us know so that we can resolve it for you. See below for what constitutes a flaw.

After that you should always pre-wash any fabric before you sew with it. This helps to remove any dust that may be in the fabric from factory or travel, and also because any unwashed fabric can shrink slightly after the first wash, it is important to make sure you wash it before you cut out your pattern to avoid the garment not fitting properly later.

What are the washing instructions?

Whilst you can wash our fabric however you would normally wash jersey knit, French Terry etc, for absolute optimum performance we would recommend that you wash on a short, cold/warm, gentle cycle with like colours. Dry on low/medium heat. Avoid mixing with any abrasive materials (jeans, bras etc) in wash and dry, this is especially important for the brushed polyester. Do not use bleach. Colour catchers are recommended for dark colours on the initial wash.

Our fabrics tend to be crease resistant, but if you must iron them use a light touch, with the iron on a synthetic setting.

What constitutes a flaw?

Stretch fabric can shrink during a wash, and we make every effort to cut each length slightly over the length advertised in order to account for this. The industry standard for shrinkage is a tolerance of 5%. If you find that your fabric has shrunk more than 5% after washing, then please contact us so we can resolve this for you.

It is not uncommon to find flaws along the selvedge due to the printing process. Each of our bases has an advertised width, for example our jersey knit is advertised as 150cm wide. Anything outside this 150cm width would be considered selvedge and any flaws found within this area are not eligible for a refund.

If a flaw in the printing process or white speckles/dots is found within the main area and can be covered by a 10 pence piece then it is not eligible for a refund. Marks that are on the reverse of the fabric and do not affect the print are also not considered to be a flaw and are not eligible for a refund. If the flaw you have found is larger than a 10 pence piece, please contact us within three days of receiving your order and we shall work to find a suitable resolution for you.

If you placed an order for 5m of a particular fabric, then we shall always endeavour to cut it in a continuous length for you. However, please be aware that this is not always possible as we try and avoid any flaws that we may find as we cut. It is not considered a flaw if we are unable to supply the fabric in one continuous length for you, we shall always make sure that the shortest length supplied is no shorter than was originally advertised.

I want to pile my fabric up into a huge heap, and then roll around in it.

So do we, so do we... Sorry, what was your question?

I'm new to sewing with stretch fabrics, do you have any tips?

You'll want to grab a pattern first, there really are so many great designers out there that design specifically for stretch fabrics we can't really list them here. When you have decided what you want to make ask in our Facebook group for suggestions or head over to our blog where we have put together a list of free patterns.

A ballpoint or stretch needle in your machine is a must. You might also find investing in a walking foot for your machine will help, as it can help stop that top layer of fabric from travelling around. A guide can also be helpful for keeping a straight line when you are first starting out, you can get magnetic ones that fasten onto your needle plate at the position you want.

You'll want to select your machine's "knit stitch" option, which sews whilst still allowing the fabric to stretch. It could also be called an overlocker, lightning or stretch stitch in your manual. If your machine doesn't seem to have one, then a zigzag stitch is totally fine.

Lastly, take your time and go slow, it's tempting to rush to get a project finished but you will always get better results when you take your time until you get the hang of it. Once you've got to grips with it, we're sure you'll be amazed how simple it is to create great looking items in no time. Make sure you show your creations off in our group!

I've got a really great idea for a fabric design, do you take requests?

We draw our inspiration from anywhere and everywhere (haha... draw... geddit?) So if you have an idea that you would like to see in fabric, then let us know and we may consider it for future.

Alternatively, if you're handy with designing yourself, we have our Print Your Own option in our shop where we facilitate turning your own design into fabric. Please read our Terms and Conditions for this service. We're also happy to help source stock images and offer input and design advice where needed, just drop us an email at hello@42customfabric.co.uk.

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