Playing-with-Fabric-Texture-in-Quilts-Part-Two Essentially Loved Quilts

Playing with Fabric Texture in Quilts Part Two

In my Playing with Fabric Textures in Quilts Part One blog post I focused on typical fabrics used in quilts, but just because these next fabrics aren’t “typical” doesn’t mean they can’t be used 😃. I’ve used almost all of them in the few textural baby quilts I’ve made over the last few years. Although they may not be as easy as quilting cotton to use definitely add a fun touch of personality to the quilt.



This one is really similar to quilting cotton, a natural fiber (from the flax plant, flax seeds anyone 😃?), in the way it sews up… it’s nice and flat and thin, so it sews up easy unlike other fabrics that get bulky quick.

Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts with linen
Don't mind the "black out block" it's for the privacy of the baby this was for 😊.


Double Gauze

I haven’t played with Double Gauze much… just an infinity scarf I made a couple years ago. And even though it is thin like cotton or linen it’s two, thin layers making it slightly more challenging to sew together—a walking foot will be your friend with this material. This one I would like to play a bit more with, especially for baby blankets and lightweight summer clothing as it is soooo lightweight and flowy.


Wool or Felt

First, there are two kinds of felt… real felt which is felted wool from a wool source and crafting felt, which is actually polyester (aka plastic) processed a certain way. In the below picture I used felted wool, which ended up shrinking after I washed it 😫—to say I was severely upset is an understatement 😔, but the boy loves it and doesn’t know the difference. Yay! But I did learn that lesson quickly.

Sewing with it is akin to piecing with flannel in that it’s thick, so you’ll have bulky seams, but otherwise not an issue.

Tip: if you’re going to piece with felted wool 1) buy extra and 2) pre-wash it! Because it’s going to shrink, you’ll want to know how much you need and the size of the largest piece, then buy more than that. Then wash it, so it’ll pre-shrink and you can piece with little to no worries about your quilt going wonky because of shrinkage.

I don’t see a lot of piecing done with wool, however, there is lots of wool appliqué. 

Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts with wool or felt
This block gave me washing trouble... it shrank 😫, but even though it's not perfect the toddler who received it loves it as does his brother. I would definitely play with wool again, but lesson learned I will always pre-wash wool, to eliminate as much shrinkage later as I can 😅.
Essentially Loved Quilts blog post Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts part two using wool


Vinyl, Leather, & Faux Leather

This is a trickier “fabric” to work with, again it’s bulky, so make sure your sewing machine can handle the thickness and toughness it will need to sew through all the layers. For a medium like this I have some specific recommendations regarding needles and machines and even your presser foot.

Something you need to know about “leather” and vinyl (and potentially even real leather) is you need to have a non-stick foot or foot pads to help this “stick-y” material move under your sewing foot properly. As it can be kind of “plastic-y” on the top, a metal foot will likely stick to the material causing a fight between your feed dogs wanting to move the underside of the material and the top sticking to the presser foot… no bueno!

For sewing needles you’ll want a Leather needle in 100/16 or 110/18. This needle has a sharper point on it than a Jeans needle, making it easier to penetrate the leather, especially if there are multiple layers being sewn together.

For sewing machines, I highly suggest you have metal “guts” as plastic gears may break or wear, causing your machine to not function as it should. For any of the heavier-duty fabrics or materials I suggest you check with your machine’s manufacturer to make sure your machine can handle leather (and faux), vinyl, canvas, and jeans. If you’re in the market for a good machine that will do aaalll the things I would highly recommend a Viking or a Pfaff as I know they have metal gears and parts inside, so you shouldn’t have any issues with stripping plastic gears or anything like that.

Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts with leather and faux leather 



Pin! Pins, pins, and more pins! 😅 Because of the fluffy nature of this material, pins will be your friend to keep pieces where you want them. This is a fun material to use with because of its bumpy, tactile texture, but it’s more difficult to sew with, so lot of pins will be your friend.

Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts with sherpa 
Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts with sherpa



Sewing with mesh is a tricky one… pinning doesn’t function as well with mesh as it does with other fabrics, there are way too many large holes to be effective 😆, so clips are my suggested alternative for holding your fabric in place. I love these ones (LINK HERE). Once your mesh is placed I suggest using a walking foot to sew with as it will have feed dogs on both the top and underneath the fabric—more places to grip fabric to move it as it should.

If you are putting mesh in a textural quilt you need to have it atop some kind of backing… you can use muslin or other fabric. In the baby quilt I did I had the wool underneath the mesh and well… we see how the wool worked out 😝😅. Mesh is definitely do-able for textural quilts along with other fabrics, so don’t overlook it 😊.

Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with Fabric Texture in quilts with mesh
I overlayed mesh atop the wool to add some texture. If you're making a baby blanket just be sure your mesh isn't so open the baby can get their finger caught in it.


Canvas is another more heavy-duty fabric and so needs those heavier needles like jeans needles and if you’re piecing multiple layers together it would be advisable to use your walking foot here. Canvas is great for its courser texture in a textural quilt, but its most often used in home décor, purses & bags, and outdoor equipment.


Jersey Knit aka T-Shirts

One last fabric that is being used more and more in quilting is T-shirts. Mostly for memory quilts for high school and college graduation as a reminder of all the sports and/or activities they did during their younger years. This material can be finicky to work with only because it stretches so easily, but it really a wonderful way to preserve memories for you or the “child”. So though it’s not for the new quilter it can be successfully tackled by the at least advanced beginner.

Essentially Loved Quilts blog post on Playing with fabric texture with jersey knit or t-shirt fabric


These are all the fabrics I'm familiar with and have worked with in my sewing life and though there are many more fabrics to use still I don't know which ones are left (yet) to be explored in quilting. If you have any ideas either of ones you've worked with or ones you'd like to see someone else play with 😅 please let me know... I'm up for exploring most anything 😁.


If you like this post, you may find these ones interesting as well:


Warmth & Love,
💜 Tracy


PS. This blog may contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions about products are my own and I will never recommend products that I have not or would not use myself. Thanks for supporting Essentially Loved!



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