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Faux Suede: A Luxurious Easy-Care Fabric

For care and ease of sewing, it’s better than the real thing
Threads #195, Feb./March 2018
Fabricated suede mimics the rich colorations and texture of genuine leather versions. Pattern: Vogue 8805. Fabrics: perforated blue faux suede, MoodFabrics .com; gold polyester satin underlining, Banksville Designer Fabrics, Norwalk, Connecticut.

With a luxurious hand and easy-care reputation, synthetic suede is a fantastic fabric choice, especially when you seek a sumptuous feel without bulk. Halston made it famous in the 1970s in his iconic shirtdresses and jackets. It is available in a range of weights and colors, prints, and embossed and perforated versions. Choose a lightweight type for drapey styles or a medium-bodied fabric for structured garments. Faux suede’s no-fray nature makes it wonderful for cutwork or appliqué.

Synthetic origins

Faux suedes are made from microfiber polyester and a polyurethane binder. Some are constructed as a nonwoven fabric with a suedelike nap on one or both sides. Others have a woven or knitted base with a napped surface on one or both sides. Ultrasuede, a trademarked fabric developed by Toray in the 1970s, was the first high-quality version. Other synthetic suedes are available, but you get what you pay for in terms of hand and durability. Look for a brand name and shop from a trusted source for the best quality.

Sewing considerations

Faux suede doesn’t ease well, can be damaged by heat, and may wear at stress points. It is tough to sew with a regular hand needle, and on a sewing machine, skipped stitches and creeping can be problems. Aside
from these easy-to-overcome shortcomings, faux suede offers remarkable qualities: It is durable, breathable, tear resistant, water and stain resistant, and washable.

Examples of perforated, plain and printed faux suede.
Perforated, plain, or printed, faux suede has an inviting surface. Always cut these textiles with the nap in mind.

Garment planning

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