The Skinny on Substrates: Setting You Straight on Substrates

If you are new to fabric or to the sewing community, have no fear, we've got your back. We're here to answer your substrate questions! First things first: what is a substrate? A substrate is the type of fabric being used. This not only refers to the fiber content, but also the weave and the weight of the fabric.

Almost all the fabrics listed on our site are a woven, quilt-weight cotton unless otherwise specified. Quilt-weight cottons can be used for much more than quilting, such as curtains, clothing, placemats, etc. 

Double gauze consists of two thin and loosely woven layers of cotton that are tacked together with tiny, barely visible stitches at regular intervals. It is very soft to the touch as well as light and airy. Double gauze is wonderful for making baby blankets, clothes, and even quilts.

Knit fabrics are much more distinct from woven fabric because they have stretch. The flexibility/stretch of the fabric will depend on the fabric content. The only difference you'll find between knits is that some will be labeled as 100% cotton knit in the description vs. knits that are usually cotton with a small percent of spandex in them. Knits with spandex have a two way stretch while the 100% cotton knit has a one way stretch, making the 100% cotton knit less stretchy and more stable. Knits are perfect for shirts, dresses, baby clothes, etc. 

Durable tightly woven fabric that can be used for bottom weight projects and in other more structured garment pieces. Also great for home decor sewing, bags, and can even be nice in a quilt for a little extra body. 

Minky is a plush, fluffy, luxurious-feeling microfiber fabric. It is often used to make blankets and quilt backings.

A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.

Cotton lawn is a 100% cotton fabric made from very fine and thin high thread count yarns, yielding a smooth, crisp, untextured surface. Lawns are great for making lightweight apparel and quilts. 

Voiles are a soft, thin, semitransparent fabric than can vary in fabric content. This lightweight and smooth fabric is perfect for apparel, quilts.


Rayon is a textile made from regenerated cellulose (viscose) or in other words, a plant based fabric. It is a versatile fabric with a wonderful drape perfect for gowns, flowing garments, blouses, etc.

Have a wonderful day!

-Fabricworm Team


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