Good quality projects start with quality materials. The same goes for quilting and sewing. If you want to make beautiful and long-lasting quilts, then invest in quality fabrics.
When you shop for quilting fabrics, make sure you are buying the right one. You have to keep in mind that not all fabrics are the same. Quilting is different from other sewing projects because your fabric choice is crucial.
Here are some pointers you need to consider in buying your quilting fabrics.
- Buy From Quilt Stores
- Use Cotton Fabric
- Check the Fabric On-Grain
- Know the Thread Count
- Avoid Fabrics with Strong Odor
- Choose Colorfast Fabrics
- Avoid Fabric with Skipping Designs
- Go for Softer Fabrics
As a quilter, you must buy at quilting shops because they sell quality quilting fabrics. Although some of these fabrics cost more they are worth it. Using quality fabric will ensure that your quilt will not fall apart too soon.
Most quilters use 100% cotton fabric. Cotton and other natural fibers are easy to quilt, sew, and iron. This fabric also frays less than synthetic and blended fabrics. Muslin, calico, and broadcloth are great examples of cotton fabrics.
Most cotton fabrics come in 44 – 45 inches in width. Check the label to be sure that you are getting the right one. One of the most favorite cotton quilting fabrics is the Quilter’s weight cotton.
Turn the fabric on its reverse side. Does its vertical grain run straight up and down? Is the horizontal grain run straight from side to side? If both grains cross at right angles and the weave runs parallel to the selvages, then the fabric is “on grain.”
This is what you should look for. If the fabrics do not have straight grains, then avoid this kind of fabric.
Quality quilting fabrics have high thread counts. Thread count refers to the number of threads woven per square inch of the fabric. Choose a fabric that has thread counts between 68 and 78.
Quilting fabrics in this thread count range are thicker, denser, and more durable. They also have minimal shrinkage and easier to sew.
Most of the time, manufacturers do not state the thread count on the labels. You can examine the weave of the fabric and determine if they have loose or tight weaves. If the threads do not pull out easily from the fabric, then it has a tight weave.
A good quilting fabric must have a tight weave and is thick.
When you shop in fabric stores, you might encounter fabrics with strange odors. This strong or strange scent is from chemicals. Some fabrics have chemicals to make them look thick and sturdy. But after several washes, these fabrics are limp and thin.
Avoid buying such fabric. If you want to check if this fabric is thick and stable, perform a simple check. Get the corner of the fabric, rub it on your hands in a scrubbing motion. If the fabric loses its firmness, then this fabric is not good for quilting.
Always choose a colorfast fabric. You do not want to have quilts that bleed every time you wash them. If the color of the fabric transfers, avoid it at all costs. This will leave your quilt looking like a mess after each wash.
Do not use or buy fabrics with skipping or overlapping designs. This unbalanced pattern will be difficult to align in your quilt. This skipping pattern is also a sign that the design is only printed on the surface of the fabric.
This type of fabric often fades fast. Take time to check a few yards of the printed fabric and see if the pattern is continuous or not.
Quality fabrics always undergo a final finishing process. This makes the fabric feel soft and seals the dyes. Most low-quality fabrics do not get the final finish and so they feel stiff and wrinkle fast.
Avoid buying quilting fabrics that are stiff, wrinkly, and cheap.
Buying quality fabrics is an important element in making quality quilts. If you do not want to waste your effort in quilting, then invest in good materials.
List of Contents:
- What Is The Best Quality Quilting Fabric?
- What Is The Difference Between Quilting Fabric And Regular Fabric?
- What Is The Thread Count For Quilting Fabric?
- What Is The Difference Between Cotton And Quilting Cotton?
- What Is The Best Cotton For Quilting?
- How Do You Identify Quilting Cotton?
- What Is The Best White Fabric For Quilting?
What Is The Best Quality Quilting Fabric?
Cotton is the most favored quilting fabric. One particular type is Quilter’s weight cotton. This fabric is 100 percent cotton. It is a medium -weight cotton and has less shrinkage. Most quilters prefer this fabric because it is easy to sew, durable, and colorfast.
Aside from Quilter’s weight cotton, there are other quilting fabrics that you can use.
- Cotton Flannel
- Cotton Voile
Flannel is available in a wide range of solids and prints designs. It makes a great quilting fabric on itself or you can mix it with other fabrics. Most quilters use cotton flannel in making baby quilts because of their soft texture.
This is a lightweight cotton that is soft, silky, and a bit transparent. This has been popular for clothes making, but in recent years it became a popular quilting fabric. You can combine this with quilter’s weight cotton.
You may also use it as the top fabric for your quilt, or as a backing material.
The key point in choosing the right quilting fabric is to go for high-quality fabrics. Make sure that you buy quilting and not apparel fabrics.
What Is The Difference Between Quilting Fabric And Regular Fabric?
Quilting fabrics and regular fabrics are different in three aspects.
- Thread count
- Thread quality
- Finishing Process
- Thread count
- Thread Quality
- Finishing Process
Quilting fabrics have higher thread counts than your regular fabrics. Quilting fabrics have a thread count of at least 60 squares. This means there are at least 60 threads per inch on the crosswise and lengthwise grains.
The higher the thread counts the denser and thicker the fabric. Since quilting fabrics with higher thread counts and so they have minimal shrinkage. They also feel soft and sturdy.
Quilting cotton fabrics are medium weight and are tightly woven. Quilting fabrics are less likely to produce lint.
Quilting fabrics often cost more than your regular fabrics. They undergo several finishing processes to set the dyes and make them colorfast. These processes create a soft texture and minimal shrinkage to the fabric.
What Is The Thread Count For Quilting Fabric?
Quilting fabrics have a thread count of at least 60 threads per inch. These fabrics are woven using long and strong fibers of cotton.
When the fabric has higher thread counts per square inch, the fabric becomes denser. Using thick fabric prevents the batting from poking through the fabric of your quilt.
Fabrics with high thread counts produce soft texture. It also helps absorb dye or colorants better. The most preferred quilting thread count is 68 which is the Quilter’s weight fabric.
What Is The Difference Between Cotton And Quilting Cotton?
Quilting cotton and apparel cotton are both made of 100 percent cotton fibers. Both are plain-woven fabric with a medium weight and have a lot of body. This type of fabric has high thread count and so it is thick and durable.
Quilting cotton holds its shape and has less shrinkage even after several washes. This fabric is great for quilts and home sewing projects. Quilting cotton always comes in different prints or patterns.
Quilting cotton is a durable medium weight fabric. It can withstand several washes without falling apart or producing lint.
Quilting cotton is easier to use than apparel cotton. It is easier to make quilts using this fabric because it is dense and stable. Apparel cotton is not ideal for quilts because it is a bit stretchy and lightweight.
Quilting cotton comes in 44 inches (112 cm.) wide, while apparel cotton comes in 54 to 60 inches (137 to 152 cm.) wide. Since apparel cotton has a bigger width per yard, it is more expensive.
Apparel cotton is lightweight which gives it a beautiful drape. They wrinkle less and are more comfortable to wear.
What Is The Best Cotton For Quilting?
Quilter’s weight cotton is a high-quality fabric. It is the best choice for quilting both novice and experienced quilters. Like other fabrics, Quilter’s weight cotton also tends to shrink, but to a minimal extent.
Many quilters prefer this fabric because it is less likely to bleed when washed. Quilter’s weight cotton comes from 100 percent cotton fiber. It has a 68 thread count, so it is dense, thick, and easy to work on.
This type of fabric is perfect for making quilts and other home sewing projects. You can use it on its own or mix it with other fabrics in your quilt.
How Do You Identify Quilting Cotton?
Good quality quilting cotton has a high thread count. However, most bolts of fabric do not include the thread count in the labels. If you want to check if the cotton is ideal for quilting, do a simple test.
Hold up a single fold of fabric to the light. If you can see through it, then the fabric has a loose weave and is not good for quilting.
- Quilting fabrics must have tight weaves. They often have a thick and dense texture.
- Some cotton flannels have a loose weave, so always check before purchasing. If you choose flannel for your quilt, see to it that you get the thick one.
- Another sure sign of low-quality cotton is the low price. Cheap cotton fabrics often have lower thread counts.
- Keep in mind that when the thread count is low, the fibers break easily when stitched. This is not good for quilting as they tend to fall apart after several usage and washes. They will fray and often the batting material is prone to bearding.
- Batik fabrics have a higher thread count compared to other quilting cotton fabrics. This makes them good for raw edge and other fusible methods. Batik are fabrics that have identical sides.
- Cotton fabric is easy to work with. Unlike other fabrics, it holds its form better. This fabric is easy to sew and press.
- Cotton sticks together and does not slip as you sew your pieces. It means you may not need to pin it as you sew the quilt.
- Quilting cotton is often from 100 percent cotton so it is breathable. It also gives a comfortable warmth to the body.
- Cotton is great for quilting because it is very durable. It can withstand constant use, washing, and can last for years.
What Is The Best White Fabric For Quilting?
If you want to use white fabric for your quilts, choose white Kona cotton. This fabric is a little heavier than other plain white cotton fabrics. Kona cotton comes from 100 percent cotton fibers and has a 60 thread count.
It is available in solid plain colors. This fabric is dense and holds pleats well. Kona cotton does not wrinkle or tear easily. Aside from quilts, it is also great for making pillows, blankets, and home sewing projects.
Quilting is not your typical bedding. To make a real quality quilt, you need to choose the right materials. One important element of a good quilt is a good fabric. You cannot use any fabric for this quilt.
You need to choose one with at least 60 thread count, soft, and durable. If you are a beginner, choose the Quilter’s weight cotton. It is the safest and most friendly quilting fabric you can use.
You must keep in mind that not all cotton fabrics are suitable for quilting. Thread count, on-grain, and finishing process are crucial for quilting fabrics.
You must also pay attention to the pattern of your fabric. Make sure that the design or pattern in your fabric is continuous. Choose a colorfast fabric with less shrinkage.
Quilting is not a mere patching up fabrics. It needs quality materials and good sewing skills to make a decent quilt. So, if you intend to make quilts any time soon, plan before buying your fabrics.
Go and shop from a quilting fabric store and choose the right material. It is important to start your project right. This will give you quality output that will motivate you to make more quality quilts in the future.