Choosing the right quilting fabrics can make or break your project and quilting supply. Whether you are putting together your own patchwork fabric, looking at holiday fabrics or searching for quilt panel to make a baby quilt, you want to know that your quilt will be durable. You also want to find fabric that is easy to use and attractive.
Choosing quality does not mean that you shouldn't buy quilting fabric on sale. It does mean that inexpensive fabric may not hold up over time, let alone the first time that you wash it. Starting out with frayed, washed out fabric can put a real damper on your quilt.
Cotton and Thread Count
Look for 100% cotton fabrics. Cotton fabric is much easier to work with than other types of fabrics. Synthetic and blended fabrics can pucker. Many of these types of fabrics also fray more than 100% cotton fabrics.
The thread count of the cotton is also important. Thread count indicates the number of threads used per square inch. The higher the thread count of the fabric, the finer the fabric is. Since many manufacturers don't provide this information, you can look at the material and judge for yourself. If the threads seem loose, the fabric looks thin or you can easily pull threads apart, the fabric is not for you.
Handle the Cloth
You can tell several things by rubbing and crinkling the corners of the cloth. First, take a corner of the fabric and ball it up in your hand. If it has a lot of wrinkles or feels stiff, the manufacturer may have cut corners and not given it a final finish to make the fabric feel soft. This is a piece of fabric to avoid.
Another manufacturing trick is to add starch to a cheaper fabric to give the fabric more heft. If, after vigorously rubbing a piece of fabric between your fingers, the fabric seems limp, put the fabric back.
If the color comes off on your fingers when you are rubbing it, the fabric isn't colorfast and another indication that the fabric should be placed back on the shelf.
Looking at Prints for your Quilt
There are a couple of things to check for when looking at prints. First, make sure that the print is on the grain, or square. Prints that are off the grain look crooked. If you use them, your quilt may look crooked too.
Next, unroll several yards of the fabric. If the pattern overlaps in some place or there is a white space where there is no print at all, skip the bolt. You won't be able to use all of the fabric that you are buying.
If this is the first time that you are looking for quilting fabric, you might want to go to a quilt shop. Since this type of shop specializes in quilts, you will be able to get expert advice to help you choose your fabrics.
If you tend to save your shirts, maybe it's time to create t-shirt quilts with your memories.
What better way to showcase those favorite photos and to enhance your fabric crafts than to transfer photos onto fabric and sew them into useful items to be used or displayed?
Use this free quilt pattern for a nine patch quilted potholder if you are new to quilting and trying to create an easy project.
English paper piecing is an old technique often associated with patchwork quilts. Because this method of piecing is so time consuming and cumbersome, a lot of people avoid patchwork.