10 Thick Fabric Types and How To Thicken Fabric

Not all thick fabrics come with great colors and cute designs. Sometimes you have to turn to thin fabrics to get the look you want. That is where having a little experience and a few tricks up your sleeve come in handy.

How to thicken fabric: That cute cotton pattern you just bought should turn into an ice warm sweatshirt or other cool-weather clothing. The problem is that it is too thin. All you need to do is find the right thickness of fleece to thicken the cotton up.

To find out more about thickening different fabrics or their accessories just continue to read our article. It provides you with helpful information making your sewing life more enjoyable and easier to do.

Can You Thicken Fabric Paint?


This can be done and it is not a difficult process. There are thickening agents you can buy that are designed to work with fabric paints and thicken them up for you. After you have mixed the thickener in, you get more control over the paint so you can do a precise painting without making a mistake.

Then if you like to use dyes, you can thicken them up as well and substitute them for fabric paint. Once you thicken the dye it will act like paint and work best with direct application methods.

You can also try aloe gel if you want a natural touch to your paint. But make sure to get the clear version. The one drawback to using aloe gel is that it will alter the color of your paint. So you need to be careful when you mix it.

Thickening fabric paint is done for two reasons. First, the color won’t bleed that much and second, it should not run as much as it would when it was thinner. The key to using any fabric paint is to make sure it dries thoroughly before washing.

How to Thicken Cotton Fabric


Thickening cotton fabric is a lot easier than trying to thicken fabric paint. There is no mess involved and virtually no clean up except for cut pieces of fabric. To get the right thickener you need to see how thick your cotton fabric is.

The fabrics you can use, like fleece, come in different thicknesses. You have to be careful not to pick up a fabric that is too thick for the cotton exterior. Another fabric you could use would be flannel. This fabric should be able to be attached without any interfacing.

The key to using cotton with a thickening fabric would be to pre-shrink the cotton. This is especially important if you use polar fleece. That fabric does not shrink so if you forget to pre-shrink the cotton you will have one weird-looking clothing item on your hands. The other key is to make sure the thickening fabric looks good with the cotton exterior. If it does then you are good to go.

How to Make a Thin Fabric Thicker


This process only takes a little time to get done. It also takes a good eye in finding the right fabric to help thicken the exterior fabric. That eye needs to judge the thickness of the interior fabric as well as its look.

Both characteristics need to be just right if the marriage of the two fabrics is going to work. You can always turn to micro fleeces to help you find the right look and the right thickness.

Microfleece is the thinnest of all fleece and it is also the most flexible. That flexibility makes it perfect when working with thin fabrics. You can manipulate it quite well and get it into the position you want without too much difficulty.

Since you are going for warmth when making the exterior fabric thicker, you may consider flannel. There are a lot of thickness options that come with this fabric as well as great looks.

The drawback to using flannel is that some of its thickening options may not be as smooth as others or microfleece. Microfleece can be very smooth and very soft to the touch.

Thick Fabric Types

Some of the fabrics on this list may not work well to help thicken up thin fabrics as they may be too thick. But that depends on the type of sewing project you have in mind. Here is the shortlist.

  • 1. Fleece - it is very flexible, warm, cozy and comes in a variety of thicknesses so you have lots of options to work with as you customize your exterior fabric.
  • 2. Flannel - may not be as smooth and soft as fleece but it does have its uses. It is also nice and warm and it comes with lots of design options to help you be creative and innovative when you work.
  • 3. Canvas - can be used for tough sewing projects as it comes in various weights that provide some flexibility in its use. Its ribbed surface may not be good for some projects.
  • 4. Denim - this is a soft but thick fabric that is also very durable. It works well for jeans and coats as an exterior fabric and can work equally well as a thickening fabric when you do not want the look of denim on the outside.
  • 5. Duck Cloth - may be too thick to consider for clothing items but it is good if you want to thicken up your bags while not losing that decorative design you like so much.
  • 6. Corduroy - like denim it is a good exterior cloth for pants or jackets and vests, etc. With different varieties of corduroy available, you can use it as a good thickening fabric when the look of corduroy will not do.
  • 7. Ottoman fabric - like corduroy it is a tough fabric with a ribbed texture on the surface. It is good for outerwear but may be too thick and heavy to use on lighter clothing items.
  • 8. Wool tweed - can be considered for a thickening fabric when you want the strength and warmth of wool inside your hoodies, jackets, and overcoats. Its drawback is its rough surface.
  • 9. Suede or man - made suede- are ideal for a thickening fabric as leather makes just about anything look and feel good. It also comes in different thicknesses so you should be able to find either in the thickness you need.
  • 10. Coated fabric - if you are looking for warmth but need some water protection this is the type of fabric you should turn to to get both features. It is a heavy weighted fabric so use with discretion.

Fabric Thicker Than Cotton


The above list of thick fabrics is all thicker than some cotton materials. Except for canvas. That fabric can be made out of cotton especially for bags and similar fashion items.

One fabric that is thicker than cotton is linen. Its thickness does not rob linen of its breathable nature nor its comfortable texture. It is a lightweight fabric that is better suited for traveling. Linen may dry faster than cotton as well.

Wool is another fabric that is thicker than cotton but its rough surface may turn some people off when thinking about using it as a thickening fabric. Wool is also more durable than cotton making it an ideal thickening fabric when you want something to last along time.

Finally, some polyester blends may be thicker than cotton. Even if they weren’t their durability makes them excellent candidates for a thickening fabric. These blends may not have the comfort of cotton but they do have a variety of weights that help them thicken up the cotton exterior fabric and make it better.

Fabric Thicker Than Chiffon


While it sounds exotic and it is a sophisticated fabric to work with the word Chiffon comes from the French word for cloth. Its simple meaning doesn't do the fabric justice as it looks great on evening gowns and often portrays a floating like appearance when a woman walks.

Chiffon is a very lightweight and sheer fabric. It is also very difficult to work with because of its slippery nature. The other drawback of using chiffon in your clothing is that it can fray very easily.

The fabric is so delicate that it cannot stand up to the rigors of machine washing or drying. Because chiffon is a sheer fabric, just about any other fabric is thicker than it. The organza fabric may be the one material that is not thicker than chiffon.

A Georgette fabric is similar to chiffon except that it is a thicker material and doe snot have the transparency that chiffon has.

How do You Reinforce Fabric?


One of the problems with working with different fabrics is that they are not all easy to sew with. For example, knits may curl up on you at the edges making hard to get the fabric through the needle.

Other fabrics need help so that they can drape properly. Then embroidery fabric needs help to stay stable when you are doing either machine or hand sewing. Reinforcing fabric is not that difficult and it shouldn’t take that long to do.

It is time well spent as your sewing time goes smoother and faster. All you need to reinforce your hard to work with material is a little interfacing. When you attach the interfacing to your cloth your sewing should be a lot easier.

The first thing you need to do is cut the interfacing according to the pattern. That gives you enough interfacing for every pattern piece. Then pin the interfacing to the wrong side of your exterior fabric, then sew.

If you are using fusible interfacing, just iron after pinning and when you are done remove the pins. It is a simple process that saves you a lot of hassle and frustration.

Sewing Thick Fabric Tips

Thick fabrics are not always going to respond to the techniques you use when sewing with regular thinner fabric. It pays to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make sure those f=thicker fabrics sew just right and make your project more enjoyable to do.

Here are some tips to apply to your sewing time when you use thicker fabrics:

  • 1. Walking foot - it is claimed that this little device is the savior for those having problems sewing thick fabrics.
  • 2. Cut out the small pieces - too many small pieces in your pattern can make sewing with thick fabrics frustrating and very irritating.
  • 3. Avoid thin tubes - not only that you should avoid sewing thin corners when using thick fabrics. These two areas are very difficult places to sew and adding thick fabric to the mix is not a very good idea.
  • 4. Sewing seams - if your partner or kids have irritated you before they left for school or the office a rubber mallet may be your therapy. With thick fabrics, you can pound the seam getting your frustrations out and make them bey your commands. Also, you should clip, trim, and grade the seam allowances to avoid the bulky look.
  • 5. Needles - a good denim needle is what you need to use when sewing with thick fabrics. Smaller needles are not strong enough to handle the job. Then forget pins when needing to secure the thick fabric in place. Clips are the go-to device in these situations.

Some Final Words

Working with thick fabrics does not have to be a chore. If you can get the right thickness then your cute exterior fabric will have a warmth and cozy layer that makes wearing the clothing item a lot better.

There are a lot of different thick fabrics to choose from so you should not be out of options when you want to use the cute cotton pattern you found for more than just a T-shirt or blouse.

The key is to make sure you pre-shrink any cotton and use the tips to help your sewing time get better.

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