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TOPIC: Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost

Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 30 Apr 2018 18:20 #143816

I thought of one more thing: "From Fiber to Fabric" by Harriet Hargrave. It has all sorts of information on fabric and how it is made.
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 20 Apr 2018 07:22 #143783

  • LadyRags
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INTRODUCE her to the art of shopping estate sales or quilter to quilter sales ... since so many quilters are aging out or downsizing that is a great source for good QSQ fabric at reduced prices.

You and her would have to know the manufactures that are high quality ... but many of them do not sell to JoAnn so it would be easy to pick the better fabric.
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 20 Apr 2018 07:19 #143782

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Clue her in to buying at on line shops that only carry QSQ fabric but have great sales... love MISSOURI Star Quilt Co for that ... and there are several others.... For beginning quilters pre-cuts are great for learning.

I personally have a good visual for the difference of fabric quality ... I have a quilt made from JoAnn fabric which is less then 10 years old and had been hardly used since it was a holiday fabric .... I compare it to my 10-20 year old quilts and even non quilters can see the difference in the fabric ... JoAnn fabric faded and not holding up well... QSQ fabric looks vibrant and sturdy despite having been washed and used for years.
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 08 Apr 2018 22:43 #143746

  • Sewdreamy
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Great idea!

"Neglect not the gift that is within you..." -1 Timothy 4:14
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 07 Apr 2018 16:50 #143737

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I can understand reluctance to buy fabrics online. There is no substitute for seeing and handling quilting fabrics in person.
I try to shop locally to support my local quilt shops, but if I am considering buying fabrics that are not sold locally, I try to order a charm pack of the collection.
This way I can see the whole collection in person at home for a nominal price, and order what I like online.
The charm packs never go to waste. A beginner can use a charm back to make a table runner or an easy baby quilt or place mats, etc.

Happy quilting,
Judy
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 07 Apr 2018 15:54 #143736

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I want to thank everyone for their comments. I find them very insightful and helpful. I am hoping to go shopping with her next week and we will take a good look at what is available to her. Yes, I give her some fabrics for some of her practice, but she is hard to convince into taking some of them, and our tastes in fabrics do significantly differ. Also, she wants to learn about successful fabric shopping, which I really understand. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I love the ability to throw a question like this out to all my friends at TQS and get back such helpful responses. Cheers. :)

"Neglect not the gift that is within you..." -1 Timothy 4:14
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 07 Apr 2018 13:52 #143735

I agree on going for the quality fabric, but I would like to add a couple things. I, too, have a private quilting student on a limited budget. I haven't tried to convince her to shop for the expensive fabric, not after I gave her a decent seam ripper and threw away the one she bought at Walmart that pulled and ripped the thread -- and she retrieved it from the trash.

1. She gets free fabric from my stash -- and really, don't we have enough fabric? I bring over stuff I am not likely to use.
2. I give her fabric and gift cards (not for Joanns!) for birthdays and Christmas.
3. Try craigslist and yard sales. You might be surprised at what you can find. Take her shopping when things are on sale. It is too bad she doesn't shop online, because you can always find decent prices. Not to mention a store closing sales -- perhaps you can help her there.
Any other ideas on cheap fabric?
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 05 Apr 2018 13:20 #143724

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I agree with Judy. Just because it's sold at JoAnn's doesn't mean it's bad fabric. I've actually used a lot of JoAnn's fabrics in my quilts without any problems. My first king-size quilt was all JoAnn's fabrics and it's still in good condition. You definitely want to feel the fabric to make sure it's not too thin to stand up to being used in a quilt. (And if you're making a wallhanging, then IMO you can use any fabric you want. For those, the only thing you really have to worry about is if you stabilized everything enough to stand up to the pull of gravity and what sunlight will do to the fabrics.) And, as Rosemary says, it's better to use what you can afford to make quilts than give up the craft because of cost.

The same is true in any craft. In knitting, it's really nice to use the nice expensive yarns, but you can still make a really nice item out of the less expensive yarns from JoAnn's. We grew up with all of our items knitted with cheaper acrylic yarn, but they were fine and we never thought anything of it.
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 05 Apr 2018 12:53 #143723

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In my humble opinion, a poor quality quilting fabric is one that is loosely woven (low thread count), feels coarse to the touch, or the dye continues to bleed and run after washing. Loosely woven fabric is often disguised by heavy sizing that washes out in the first wash, leaving you with "wimpy" fabric that is more difficult to sew and is even more difficult to "unsew." Beginners especially need quilting fabric that holds up well to "unsewing."
A good quality quilting fabric will have a higher thread count, be sturdier, more substantial, have a nice "hand," feel good to the touch and be more dye stable. If a print, it will have fine, sharp detailed printing. (Batiks are an exception. I expect the darker, deeper batiks, esp, in black, red, purple or blue to bleed. They are so gorgeous I work around that.)

In general, I have found that I can trust certain fabric manufacturers to produce good quality fabrics.
For instance, the Andover fabrics in the TQS BOM are excellent quilt fabrics. They are excellent quality, nicely printed, substantial weight fabrics that hold up well to any cutting and sewing errors I might have.

I have purchased both top quality fabrics and poor quality fabrics at quilt shops.
I have purchased both top quality fabrics and poor quality fabrics at JoAnns.
As a rule, quilt shops have better quality quilting fabric than chain stores like Joanns, but I have found some good quality quilting fabric at Joanns. Joanns carry lovely Kona cottons, which you can buy at a great price when they go on sale or if you use a coupon. They also have some low thread count, loosely woven, coarse fabrics at generally lower prices. You have to be careful. If in doubt, I would advise buying a small sample to test it by washing and sewing.

Happy sewing,
Judy
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 05 Apr 2018 12:33 #143722

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The answer I feel is, as always, buy the best you can, where you can. Surely it is better to buy the cheaper fabric and be able to do some piecing or patchwork than none because you cannot afford the ‘good’ stuff.

I would love to use Oakshott fabrics much more than I do, but because of cost, I admire them and then walk on. I have plans for using them in a large hanging, but until I get saved up to buy them plans is all they are.
Likewise when I am doing embroidery I would love to always use silk threads, but because of cost and accessibility, I usually use stranded cottons. They give a good finish, but cotton will never have the lush look of silk.

I would encourage people to try as many different qualities as possible and then to decide for themselves.


Embroideress Extrordinaire & Mad Hatter
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 05 Apr 2018 12:03 #143721

Go for the Quality - every time. I have had students purchase lower cost fabrics (usually they have a lower thread count) and then be faced with all the struggles of the poor quality; the seams show through, the fabric starts to shred (especially if any "unsewing" is involved) and the pieces easily get off grain. Then when they see their finished product, compared to quilts with quality fabric, they are even more disappointed.
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Quilting Fabric Quality...High vs low cost 05 Apr 2018 11:38 #143720

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Hi. For the past year I have had a private quilting student Anita who is also one of my best friends. We were talking about fabric costs the other day and I could feel her frustration because I was advocating she buy her fabrics from a local quilt shop that carries the best fabrics vs. the cheaper fabrics at Joanne's. She said she was sure her ancestor didn't spend that much on her quilting for those quilts that are now nearing 100 years old. I think if you are putting this much effort in your quilts you should make them from good fabrics, but I understand her frustration. Like me, she lives on a slim retirement income, but she is new to this sport and really can't see the differences in the fabrics. I would like the community opinion...she's a member of TQS lately so she will be able to see this discussion. Oh, and by the way, she does not like to shop online. I don't want to see people give up quilting because they can't afford the expensive cottons. I also don't want her to get discouraged from the results of poor quality fabrics. What do you think? Have you some suggestions for her? I also may write a blog about this if I get enough solid responses here. Thanks! :)

"Neglect not the gift that is within you..." -1 Timothy 4:14
Last Edit: 05 Apr 2018 11:40 by Sewdreamy.
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