Let’s Take a Nap??

Not really, let’s just briefly discuss sewing using a fabric that has a “nap”.  A fabric with nap is a type that usually has a “pile” which means that it has gone through a process to bring the fiber ends to the surface.  Good examples of a fabric with nap are:  Velvets, Corduroy, Terry Cloth, Brushed Denims, Suede, Flannel and Fur.

You can actually run your hand along the fabric and see a difference in shading and design with a napped fabric.  When reading a pattern, it will state the yardage  *with nap  and  **w/o nap.  Most of the time, depending upon the design of the pattern, you will always need more fabric to complete your project if you are using a fabric with a nap.

The reason for this is because YOU MUST LAYOUT your pattern pieces with them all RUNNING in the SAME DIRECTION.  If you don’t cut out all your pattern pieces in the same direction, your garment will not have a cohesive look to it and you will see unusual color/ shading differences.

Personally, when I am laying out pattern pieces using napped fabric, I like to have the direction of the nap heading South or brushing down from the top to the bottom.  You will see that if you rub your hand along the fabric from one cut end to the other cut end, one direction feels smooth to the touch and when you go the opposite direction it will have a slight rough feeling.

Another factor to keep in mind, is that fabric with “nap” is probably better suited using a more simple or less intricate design.  Especially a fabric like Velvet, which is heavier or thicker in weight and will have a somewhat crushed look to it if there is a lot of top-stitching or lots of small design accents.

  • TIP:  If using a bulky fabric with nap that has facings, it might be helpful to use a lighter weight fabric for the facings to help eliminate some of the bulk.  Select a fabric that blends good with the main fabric and has the same type of washing or drying cleaning abilities too.

Remember to always do your pattern adjustments, if any,  prior to cutting out your fabric.  So next time you are planning to do a new “snoozing”, I mean sewing project, check out fabric with “nap” and see if it will work for your design.

  • TIP:  Double check your fabric for any “one-way” designs because again you will want to pin your pattern pieces so they are all going in the same direction so your fabric design will all be running the same way too.


Brushing fabric from left to right, rough to the touch on left side/smooth on right


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