Fabrics From A to Z The Essential Guide to Choosing and using Fabric for Sewing by Dana Willard

I came across this book a few months ago, and I really wanted to familiarize myself with it, before I wrote this review. I have to admit, I don’t  know a lot about different fabrics when it comes to sewing. Really just the basics, particularly when it comes to quilting. But now, I am no longer afraid to experiment with other fabrics and try sewing projects outside of quilting.

Dana Willard, author of Fabrics From A to Z; The Essential Guide to Choosing and Using Fabrics for Sewing,has written a sewist’s reference gem. And her encouraging and enthusiastic introduction, has made me want to try Minky, (and other fabrics), which I have always been afraid would wreck the timing on my machine because of it’s thickness. Several months ago someone gave me a large piece of it. 

Back then I had a older Bernina, and now have the 750, but I think I still would have shied away from it.  I donated the Minky to the local SPCA to keep the dogs, cats, puppies of kittens soft and warm while waiting to be adopted. I never regret helping animals in need. 

Now I think I’m going to buy some Minky and use it for the back side of a baby quilt I’m planning. My cousin and her husband are expecting their third; a new baby who’s arrival we are all excited about, due this Spring.


This must-have guide/reference book is sooo well organized. The first section is about “Selecting Fabrics,” and that is divided into five parts; Woven Fabrics, Knit Fabrics, Speciality Fabrics, Blended Fabrics and Patterned Fabrics. Within those categories over 100 fabrics are covered.

Section Two covers “Notions and Tools.” That is divided into four sections; Reading Sewing Patterns, Glossary, Index and acknowledgements.

Each half page spread covers a fabric.  For example, see Lawn below. (Never knew there was even a fabric with that name, just thought it was something green outside our home. covered for the last few months with snow and ice. lol).

At the top left, check out the handy key with the icons. The dress means it’s a good fabric for fashion. The curtains indicate that the fabric means it’s good for home furnishing, and the hexagon shape tells the reader the fabric is good for crafts and miscellaneous projects.

At the bottom of each half page spread, is a very clear photo of the fabric, better than shown above. I can actually see the nubs and weaves in these photos, that’s how sharp they are.

There is a description of the fabric and a recommendation of what it is best used for in detail. For example, lawn is “…,plain-weave cotton….,” that is best used in “….blouses, dresses, shirts, curtain, nightgowns, baby clothing and quilting.”

Next the authors writes a bulleted list of the fabrics characteristics. The following paragraph is list that describes how to best work with the fabric. Lastly, comes a list of how to care for the fabric. Some pages include, “Handy Hint,” “Tip,” or “Did You Know.”  

Part Two covers Notions and Tools. This is fabulous, because each category within those topics are plentiful, with short, precise descriptions, and have simple line art drawings, that provide a novice sewer with a guide that makes identification easy, peasy.

Notions covers everything from all different kinds of threads, which is something I always need to question ,or have something to refer to, and wonderfully helpful. Pages depict different types of buckles, appliques, fastners, trims, zippers and more.

Tools is equally as excellent and complete. It covers tools for measuring, cutting, pressing, machine presser feet and more. I love the machine presser feet section.

I’m grateful to have found this comprehensive and well-written reference book, which is so perfectly executed. Spot on for all interested in sewing.




















Back cover….The end.

If you haven’t read Monday’s post of an interview with Amy Gibson from Stitchery Dickory Dock, please check it out.  It includes a fabulous give-a-way, which ends on Saturday, February, 16 at 12:01 PM.

Happy reading and sewing.  And stay safe and warm, especially if you too being effected by this  huge Nor’ easter.