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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Q) Regular cotton fabric VS Quilting quality fabric ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Q) Regular cotton fabric VS Quilting quality fabric
What is the difference?
yangzi
yangzi
Advanced Beginner
Indiana USA
Member since 7/7/08
Posts: 9
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Date: 3/6/09 9:42 AM

Hi everyone! I am brand new to quilting. I am thinking about learning how to quilt and have been looking around fabrics for quilting online.

My question is - what is the difference between regular cotton fabric and quilt quality fabrics?

While browsing online stores and Ebay, I noticed "quilt store quality fabrics" are more expensive (?). Are they different than quilt fabrics sold at Jo-ann fabric store and Hancock fabric store?

I am recently hooked up with all the beautiful fabrics and don't know the difference. Thanks in advance!

diningroomseamstress
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diningroomseamstress
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 2/27/07
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Date: 3/6/09 3:42 PM

The advantage to quality cotton quilting fabric is less shrinkage, less bleeding, and lacks chemicals in the fabric. I saw another post here where similar was discussed and a comment was made that fabric bought from JoAnns is fine for projects if that is all one can afford. I've made quilts from fabric from JoAnns and they've turned out fine (I pre-washed). But, now I'm spoiled and buy most of my fabric from my favorite quilt shop. I just like it better and I love the customer service there.

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Carol - * I always have more time to sew *
Babylock Ellageo, Viking Mega Quilter, Janome MC6600P, Babylock Evolve Serger, Janome FM 725

Donna H
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Donna H
Washington USA
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In reply to yangzi


Date: 3/6/09 3:54 PM

Quilt shop quality cotton is usually 250 thread count and will have 1-3% shrinkage.

Joann's quilting cotton is about 200 TC, unknown the shrinkage.

WalMart's cotton is 180 TC and it will shrink AND fade horribly.

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The single most important discovery made by a group of women? The Empty Tomb!

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yangzi
yangzi
Advanced Beginner
Indiana USA
Member since 7/7/08
Posts: 9
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Date: 3/6/09 6:25 PM

Thank you for replies! Okay, I see. I didn't know about shrinkage. I would hate to see my quilt projects shrank and fade after washing...

I bought some quilt shop quality fabrics online and, yes, I can tell that those fabrics are thicker than many of JoAnn fabrics. So, it's better to pay more to get quilt store quality fabrics for making quilts?

I recently found out there is a quilt shop not far from my house. I am hoping to visit the store very soon...

quathy
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quathy  Friend of PR
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California USA
Member since 6/3/06
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In reply to yangzi


Date: 3/6/09 6:49 PM

Hi yangzi,
welcome to quilting! you definitely get what you pay for with the quilting cottons. I can recommend a few less-expensive online sources, though I have to mention that if you have a local shop it's worth supporting the mom-and-pop shops at home. Over the past few years, we've lost several stores, so I feel like i'd rather spend the money closer to home and keep my locals in business...

but there are still times when i'll find the need to go online, so here are some of my favorites (NAYY):

equilter.com - often has discounts. great search tools.
fatquartershop.com - has lots of bundles, fast shipping & good prices.
thousandsofbolts.com - i have a friend that uses this site regulary, and they are typically half what you'd pay elsewhere
connectingthreads.com - very low prices

fabshophop.com is a fun way to explore new quilting stores online.

Depending on what pattern you are doing, it might be helpful to order a pack - say a Fat Quarter pack, or Charm Pack, as you'll get a blend of light & dark fabrics to play with.

Have fun!!! I can't wait to see your projects!

Warbler
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Warbler  Friend of PR
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Vermont USA
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In reply to yangzi


Date: 3/6/09 11:14 PM

Generally you can tell the quality by feel but I think the salvage is very telling... it will be as well made as the fabric itself if it is a high quality product. I think that some manufacturers produce different grades of some of their lines of fabric and the salvage can help you distinguish the difference. I think secondary runs have a frayed look on the salvage. It is difficult to describe it here but as you shop around you will become better at detecting.

On a slightly different note because I don't always care whether my quilt fabrics are first runs or not, I pre-wash to minimize dye bleeds, wash away chemicals and to preshrink before I start cutting. There are many opinions on this topic too but it is what I prefer...

------
Janome MC6600 Bernina 240 Juki MO735 Singer 201-2 Singer 221-1

yangzi
yangzi
Advanced Beginner
Indiana USA
Member since 7/7/08
Posts: 9
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In reply to quathy


Date: 3/7/09 2:09 AM

Quote: quathy
Hi yangzi,

welcome to quilting! you definitely get what you pay for with the quilting cottons. I can recommend a few less-expensive online sources, though I have to mention that if you have a local shop it's worth supporting the mom-and-pop shops at home. Over the past few years, we've lost several stores, so I feel like i'd rather spend the money closer to home and keep my locals in business...



but there are still times when i'll find the need to go online, so here are some of my favorites (NAYY):



equilter.com - often has discounts. great search tools.

fatquartershop.com - has lots of bundles, fast shipping & good prices.

thousandsofbolts.com - i have a friend that uses this site regulary, and they are typically half what you'd pay elsewhere

connectingthreads.com - very low prices



fabshophop.com is a fun way to explore new quilting stores online.



Depending on what pattern you are doing, it might be helpful to order a pack - say a Fat Quarter pack, or Charm Pack, as you'll get a blend of light & dark fabrics to play with.



Have fun!!! I can't wait to see your projects!

Thank you! I will check the online stores from your list later. I was looking around online and just purchased several fabrics from the store I just found. With 3 boys (3rd son is 7 month-old), it's really hard for me to go out shopping, so I have been shopping a lot online. I certainly want to go to local quilt shops to see/feel fabrics though!
yangzi
yangzi
Advanced Beginner
Indiana USA
Member since 7/7/08
Posts: 9
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In reply to Warbler


Date: 3/7/09 2:14 AM

Quote: Warbler
Generally you can tell the quality by feel but I think the salvage is very telling... it will be as well made as the fabric itself if it is a high quality product. I think that some manufacturers produce different grades of some of their lines of fabric and the salvage can help you distinguish the difference. I think secondary runs have a frayed look on the salvage. It is difficult to describe it here but as you shop around you will become better at detecting.



On a slightly different note because I don't always care whether my quilt fabrics are first runs or not, I pre-wash to minimize dye bleeds, wash away chemicals and to preshrink before I start cutting. There are many opinions on this topic too but it is what I prefer...

I read somewhere that I need to wash brand new fabrics before quilting to prevent shrinkage and bleeding problems later. I have one question though.

If I buy pre-cut fabric set (like, charm?), am I supposed to wash all those small pieces of fabrics in washer machine before start sewing/quilting? Since those pieces are ready-to-quilt sizes, I am worried to think they may fray if I wash them in washer and dry them in a dryer... So, am I supposed to wash them before quilting?
CJ Tinkle
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CJ Tinkle
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Member since 2/5/06
Posts: 1056
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In reply to yangzi


Date: 3/7/09 7:48 AM

I do not prewash any of my quilting fabrics (I only buy good quality fabrics). When I finish a quilt, I toss it in my washing machine in warm water, with a SHOUT brand dye catcher. I quilt with red in nearly everything I make, and I have never had any dye run onto a quilt. Now if you overstuff your washing machine so that the quilt can't move around freely, the dye sheet won't help.

I have signed up to a gazillion online quilt shop newsletters. When they have sales, I get an email, and I try and buy most of my fabric at 40% or 50% off.

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Bernina Artista 630 ✂ Bernina Aurora 430 ✂ Bernina 830e Record ✂ Bernina 1300MDC ✂ Babylock BLCS ✂ APQS Millennium ✂ Singer 201-2 ✂ Singer 301 ✂ Singer 401A ✂ Singer 15-91 ✂ Singer Featherweight 222K ✂ Singer Featherweight 221

Warbler
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Warbler  Friend of PR
Advanced
Vermont USA
Member since 4/15/07
Posts: 3552
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In reply to yangzi


Date: 3/8/09 0:34 AM

Quote:
If I buy pre-cut fabric set (like, charm?), am I supposed to wash all those small pieces of fabrics in washer machine before start sewing/quilting? Since those pieces are ready-to-quilt sizes, I am worried to think they may fray if I wash them in washer and dry them in a dryer... So, am I supposed to wash them before quilting?


Yangzi, I do not wash the pre cut fabrics only because I don't want shrinkage. I know that charms are cute as are jellyrolls and layer cakes but honestly they are more expensive than if you purchased yardage. I have a collection of fat quarters but the majority of my collection is in 1/2 yard cuts or larger if I really like the fabric, 1 maybe 2 yards.

I have to say that prewashing is not a requirement, although there are treatments to add to the wash to stabilize fabric dye... I can't remember which does which... one is called Retayne and the other is Synthrapol. My point is that one can wash the quilt after it is made and still prevent color bleeds. Here is a link to explain them better.

------
Janome MC6600 Bernina 240 Juki MO735 Singer 201-2 Singer 221-1

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