Identifying The Fabric's Face Side
For most fabrics, identifying their face side is for the most part, fairly straightforwards. There are some cases however, when the fabric's right and wrong side looks so similar that the task of identifying which to use as the face in your garment can be a bit ambiguous.
In dressmaking, the fabric's face side should naturally correspond to the garment's right side, but this is rule is not written in stone- you can take the liberty to decide whether you prefer to use a textile's wrong side as the garment's designated face. However, keep in mind that by design, a fabric's right side is built to soil less and drape better.
Some fabrics are woven to look identical on both sides. These fabrics provide a much simples pattern cutting and seam alignment process- you don't have to worry about how the patterns are aligned in relation to the fabric's face side and garment pieces can be interchanged as needed since they look identical on both sides.
In most cases, you can use the following basic conventions to identify a fabric's right side:
If the fabric's selvage edge features identifying marks or writing, the side that includes the writing is the manufacture's designated face side. This is especially helpful when both sides look almost (but not 100%) identical.
A textured fabric will traditionally, have more texture on its face side. This is often the case with textured boucle fabrics like the one pictured above.
The side that features more sheen or shine is by design, the fabric's designated right side. In this case, the difference between the fabric right and wrong side should be distinguishable and very easy to identify. Some fabrics may only feature a small amount of sheen on the fabric's right side requiring closer inspection. In this instance, it helps to examine the fabric in various lights to find the side featuring more luster.
When both sides look similar, you can use the fabrics "hand" to identify it's face side. Traditionally, textiles are often designed to be softer on their right side. As in the image above, you'll notice the fabric's softer side is accompanied a brushed effect which can be another visual giveaway of the fabric's designated face.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to identify a fabric's right side is by examining a print. Intuitively, the fabric's face features a bolder, brighter print. In some instances, the print looks almost identical on both sides. At closer inspection however, you may notice a slight difference in the prints prominence and its color. If one side appears to be duller than the other, choose the side that appears bolder as your garment's designated face side.
As noted above, don't be afraid to choose a fabric's designated wrong side as your garment's face side. While the difference is quite noticeable when looking at a cut of fabric, the finished garment will look natural.