Buying wisely - guidelines for purchasing a fabric purse or handbag on line. Part 2 - Materials.
Continued - what to look for when buying a fabric purse on line. Part 2 - Materials.
*Fabric/Material: Check to be sure that the fabric has an attractive design that is woven and printed well on the fabric. Is it aligned well and printed evenly accross and up and down, and is the pattern centered well on the bag to make the most of the design? On large scale prints, there will be more fabric wasted in getting a good "cut", so take that into consideration before making judgements about the final price.
If you are selecting a purse that will get a lot of day-to-day wear, it's better to choose one made with a tightly woven fabric that's strong and sturdy. A good example would be cotton batiks. I love batiks because of their designs, but they also have a high thread count and are very tightly woven, and that makes them more durable. Cotton, and cotton batiks are also easier to clean. While synthetics can be more durable, sometimes they tend to "pill" and hold stains, so this is also a consideration.
Also, check to see if the maker of cotton bag states swhether or not the fabric has been pre-washed? There are a couple of reasons for pre-washing fabric, the first being allergies. Most modern fabrics are treated with chemincal preservatives to protect them from insect and mold damage while in the warehouse and in transit. More and more people, (including myself), are developing nasty allergies to these chemicals, the effects of which can be minimized or eliminated by washing.
Secondly not only is cotton is washable, it's also "shrinkable" and sometimes the dyes are not color fast. I pre-wash all my fabrics, so if they are going to shrink, bleed colors, or change shape, they will have done so by the time the consumer needs to clean them. Most of my cotton purses are hand washable, and come with care instructions.