In the vast world of textiles, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with fiber contents and hundreds of different fabric types. We at fabric.com are passionate about fabric and understand that (even for seasoned sewists) it can be a bit intimidating trying to find the right fabric for your project, let alone differentiating fabrics. Not sure how canvas and duck differ? Let’s find out!
To understand which fabric will meet your needs, you first need to really understand what duck and canvas are. Did you know that duck is actually a type of canvas? Both fabrics are plain-weave, are made from cotton and are incredibly versatile. The main difference between duck and canvas lies in thread count. Canvas is known for its coarser weave, while duck boasts a smooth hand thanks to its high thread count. You can see here the difference in weave in canvas (left) vs. duck (right).
Identifying duck and canvas is fairly easy. We classify our fabrics based on a weight system of ounces per square yard; the higher the ounce weight, the heavier the fabric. Browsing through fabric.com, you’ll notice that canvas comes in heavier weights such as medium/heavyweight to very heavyweight, whereas duck will be more in the medium weight range.
When it comes to projects, both plain and duck canvas give you a wide variety of options. You can use plain canvas and duck fabric for everything from durable clothing to accessories. Here are some suggestions for projects which are perfect for duck and plain canvas fabrics, featuring finished projects created by fabric.com customers:
Baby carriers & stroller covers
Baby carriers and stroller covers are a prime example of the balance between strength and softness. Here’s a great project one of our customers created for her stroller using Premier Prints Llama Love and Premier Prints Strike Sundown.
No need to spend money at the store when you can make your own bag using one of our gorgeous patterns. You can personalize it even more with a monogram!
Traditional art canvases can be expensive – why not make your own? You can even combine small pieces of canvas with Popsicle sticks to make tiny pieces of art. Simply use hot glue to combine four sticks into a mini frame, let dry, and then wrap a small piece of canvas around the sticks, giving you a miniature canvas that you can use for playing with kids or handing out your own artistic creations.
Curtains and other window treatments can be one of the most expensive home decor projects. With fabric from fabric.com, you can design something unique while also saving money.
Headboards are an enjoyable project that let you personalize your living space. With canvas fabric, you can create something that is just your style without spending a fortune.
Tote bags are a great choice, especially for duck fabrics. You can make a full-size tote with just a yard of fabric, making them a simple, cost-effective project.
If you’re creating one of the above projects, feel free to choose whichever fabric type you prefer! We stock everything from plain canvas to beautifully patterned duck, so finding the perfect fabric to create something beautiful should be a piece of cake!
Because canvas is a heavier weight fabric, is can be used for projects that will see quite a bit of wear and tear. This includes anything from shoes and duffle bags to sturdy backpacks and aprons. If you’re looking for an even more durable canvas, rhino canvas and sailcloth—made with synthetic fibers—are a great option. Our personal favorite, however, is waxed canvas. It’s made from cotton fibers and treated with paraffin wax to add a cool look and feel as well as built in water repellency.
Canvas is great for heavier projects, but cotton duck works well for a lot of projects due to its lighter weight. Not only is it lighter and with a smoother hand, it’s much more pliable and easy to work with than canvas. These properties make it perfect for handbags and totes, draperies, light upholstery and even anorak jackets and blazers. The options are almost endless!
We are happy to carry a vast selection of high-quality canvas and duck fabrics in a wide variety of colors and styles so that you can create something truly unique. Here are a few of our current favorites:
We hope you enjoyed this Fabric 101! If you’re looking for a little inspiration or simply want to expand your fabric knowledge, check back often as we’re always posting tutorials and informational posts. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the comments below about what you’d like to see next!