Finding Top 7 Hardest Fabrics to Sew With

Last Updated on February 27, 2024

Sewing is a rewarding and creative hobby, but every seamstress knows that not all fabrics are created equal. Some fabrics present unique challenges that can test even the most experienced hands.

Hardest Fabrics to Sew With


  • Beginners should ease into sewing with simpler fabrics before tackling challenging ones.
  • Velvet demands careful planning due to its nap, making it a less forgiving fabric for newcomers.
  • Delicate fabrics like lace, tulle, and chiffon require precision with rotary cutters and tailor tacks.
  • Messy and thick, faux fur needs extra attention; tailor tacks can assist in managing its challenges.
  • Sequins, beads, leather, vinyl – these luxurious fabrics demand patience, meticulous handling, and time for preparation.

What are the Hardest Fabrics to Sew With?

Hardest Fabrics to Sew With

Velvet, soft open-weave fabrics (lace, tulle, chiffon), faux fur, lightweight silky fabrics, spandex or swimwear fabric, sequins and beading fabrics, and leather, vinyl, and clear plastic vinyl are among the hardest fabrics to sew with. Beginners are advised to approach them cautiously and gradually build their skills.

Here, we’ll explore the top 7 hardest fabrics to sew with, providing insights and tips to help you conquer these sewing adversaries.


  • Feature: Soft and luxurious with a distinct nap or pile.
  • Challenge: Ensuring consistent nap between seams, pattern layout, and susceptibility to damage during pressing.

Velvet, known for its soft and luxurious feel, is a fabric that can be a bit tricky for beginners. The challenge lies in managing the nap or pile of fabric. Ensuring a consistent nap between seams requires careful pattern layout and attention to the grainline.

Additionally, velvet can be easily damaged during pressing, making careful preparation essential. Beginners might find it helpful to start with velveteen, a less expensive and somewhat easier alternative.

Soft, Open Weave Fabrics (Lace, Tulle, Chiffon)

  • Feature: Delicate and airy with open weaves.
  • Challenge: Difficulty in accurate cutting with pins and scissors, challenges in transferring pattern marks, and unconventional seam sewing methods.

Fabrics with soft, open weaves like lace, tulle, and chiffon can be challenging due to their delicate nature. Cutting accurately with pins and scissors can be difficult, so using a rotary cutter is recommended.

Transferring pattern marks may also pose a challenge, with tailor tacks being the go-to solution. Special attention is needed when sewing seams, especially with lace, where unconventional techniques like applique seams may be beneficial.

Faux Fur

Faux Fur
Faux Fur
  • Feature: Adds texture and interest with a fur-like appearance.
  • Challenge: Messy cut fibers and hairs, thick seams, difficulty in pinning and marking.

While faux fur can add flair to costumes and garments, it comes with its set of challenges. The messiness of cut fibers and hairs is a notable concern.

Thick seams and difficulty in pinning and marking make this fabric less friendly for beginners. Tailor tacks remain a valuable tool for working with faux fur, providing control and precision.

Lightweight Silky Fabrics

Silky Fabrics
Silky Fabrics
  • Feature: Slippery, lightweight, and drapey, often made of polyester.
  • Challenge: Tendency to slide and pucker, difficulty in cutting and sewing.

Silky fabrics, often made of polyester, are known for their slippery, lightweight, and drapey qualities. Cutting and sewing these fabrics can frustrate beginners, as they tend to slide and pucker.

With less satin texture, Crepe de chine is suggested for those looking to work with lightweight and drapey fabrics without the added challenges.

Spandex or Swimwear Fabric

  • Feature: Stretchy and often used for activewear or swimwear.
  • Challenge: Combines stretchiness of knit fabrics with slipperiness of silky fabrics, leading to sliding, stretching, and lack of stabilization.

Combining the stretchiness of knit fabrics with the slipperiness of silky fabrics, spandex, or swimwear fabric can be a nightmare for beginners. It requires careful handling due to its tendency to slide, stretch, and lack stabilization. Unless you’re venturing into activewear or swimwear, beginners should tread cautiously.

Sequins and Beading Fabrics

  • Feature: Embellished with sequins and beads for a fancy appearance.
  • Challenge: Requires meticulous preparation due to the risk of stitching through sequins and beads, time-consuming handwork for removal and reattachment.

Fancy fabrics adorned with sequins and beads may be a dream to wear but are often a nightmare to sew. The intricate details require meticulous preparation, including hand-removing and reattaching sequins and beads to avoid stitching through them. These fabrics demand patience and precision, making them less suitable for beginners.

Leather, Vinyl, and Clear Plastic Vinyl

  • Feature: Thick, unforgiving materials with unique textures.
  • Challenge: Difficulty in sewing, less forgiving to mistakes, potential irreversible damage, and a need for specialized techniques.

Thick, unforgiving, and challenging to sew, fabrics like leather, vinyl, and clear plastic vinyl can intimidate even seasoned sewers.

Mistakes on these materials are less forgiving, often requiring starting fresh or dealing with irreversible damage. However, even beginners can conquer these formidable fabrics with the right techniques.


While these fabrics may present challenges, it’s essential to remember that they are not impossible to work with. With patience, practice, and the right techniques, even beginners can master these fabrics.

Start with simpler materials, gradually building your skills, and soon you’ll find yourself confidently sewing with the most challenging fabrics.