In July 2022 I made a stop in the ER for what I thought was a dislocated shoulder and some stitches. Turned out to probably be a torn rotator cuff 😝, so I laid low for a week in recovery mode.
As I chilled out last week on the couch under a quilt, I found many spots needing mending, so I got out my needle and thread to hand mend all the spots. Going through the entire top brought up my subject for this blog post (and previous newsletter) … fabric quality.
In my mind—what was shared with me early on—and what I share with my Beginning Quilting students is there are three levels of fabric for quilt making.
1 - Fabric loosely woven and often you can see through it. This is a lower quality fabric I recommend staying away from for quilts because we want our quilts to last for years and years and with the loose weave you will find it tears easily and doesn’t hold together as well in quilting. Yes, you can wash and dry this in hot, but there won’t be much improvement, so I recommend avoiding it for quilting projects altogether if you want them to last—the old saying you get what you pay for applies in this case. “So where do I avoid getting this fabric from” you ask? If it’s not a fabric/ craft store, don’t purchase from there 😊. Yes, the price is lovely, but you’ll pay for it in the long run 😆.
2- Mid-level fabric has a tighter weave, so less see through, and a bit coarser in texture. This fabric you’ll find at the “big box” fabric stores. Yes, it is better quality than #1 and your quilt should last longer, but it may not last quite as long nor be quite as snuggly as you’d like. To be fair, I do some shopping at stores that carry this fabric, but as there isn’t a close one for me it’s rare. Pricing in this category ranges from $7-12/yd depending on the quality you choose at that store (and don’t forget many of these stores have coupons that’ll save you some money as well 😃), so even then you’re still potentially paying as much at the big box store as your local quilt shop (LQS) even though you’re not getting the quilt shop quality.
3- Level three is Quilt Shop fabric! It’s the best quality fabric you can purchase for quilting projects and here’s where I like to spend my money… for two reasons.
☝🏻 One - Quality! It truly is the best quality fabric you can purchase for your quilty projects as it will last the longest; this fabric is made FOR quilting.
✌🏻 Two - is quilt shops are locally owned and operated and I love supporting local when I can, not to mention there’s four quilt shops between me and the nearest "big box" fabric store (that’s 2 hours away), so it’s really not worth it to drive. Plus, I love my local ones! They both have a wide variety of fabric, they’re well set up so it’s pretty easy to understand, and 90% of the time I can find what I need to do my project. AND the price isn’t too bad (about $9.50-$12.50); it may be a little bit more expensive (by only a buck or two, if that) than a big box fabric store, but I know I can trust the quality I get at my local quilt shop (LQS), so every penny is worth it to support a local family.
I hope that has been an interesting read. I know I have loved petting 😂 all the pretty fabric over the last few years and I can absolutely feel, and often see, a difference in quality in various stores and manufacturing companies. Yes, I do have some of each level fabric in my own stash, and though much of it was given to me I am careful how and where I use it.
Alright, Friend, that’s it for now 😅.
I’ll see you online and if you have any questions about fabric quality or anything else please reach out via message or commenting below! I’d love to hear from you.
Warmth & Love,