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Thread: Buying fabric at Walmart, Joann's, etc.....

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    I know there are people who will only buy fabric from a true quilt shop. But, how does the fabric at Joann's, Wlamart, etc compare to the fabric in the quilt shops. I'm a new quilter, getting ready to purchase fabric for a Baltimore Album Hand Applique quilt and I'm wondering... Where the best place would be to purchase my fabric? And, what is the difference between the Batiks, Moda, Kona, Calico's, etc...How do they make fabric and is it all made the same way???? I don't mean to sound like a moron but some of the fabrics I've looked at look like bed sheet fabric and others are thicker and heavier than others and seems to be a better quality than others. What would be the best fabric to make my quilt out of?

  2. #2
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    Some folks on here will tell you to buy only LQS but I won't. I shop Walmart fabric and have been extremely happy with the quilts I make. You just want to make sure that the fabric isn't too thin. Honestly I've seen fabric at the LQS that I wouldnt put in a quilt. Every place has their good and bad fabric. For me it's all about the price tag, I can't afford the expensive stuff especially when I can find the same item cheaper else where.

  3. #3
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    You will get many opinions on this one....LOL. I personally speaking, will buy fabric wherever I can get the most bang for my buck. You can get great fabrics at Walmart for a very reasonable price...and you can also get stuff that is very thin and won't last at all. That same theory will hold true for anywhere you shop, whether it's your LQS, JoAnns, or any of the hundreds of online shops. So it's up to you to check your fabrics carefully to determine if they will suit the needs of your quilt. I am in the process of collecting one yard pieces for a bargello - 24 different shades. I have about 6 to get and it's getting harder to find just the right one to fit into the color scheme. So everywhere I go, I look at the fabric to see if there is one that will work. Today, it's a trip to the LQS to check on LA rental....while there I will look at the fabrics (always look :lol: ) to see if there is a dark teal that I haven't been able to find anywhere. Desperation may make me spend more than I want.

  4. #4
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    You will get different answers from everyone! I prefer to touch the fabrics and feel the thickness and hopefully softness - maybe some of you also do the same. I have never touched a Blank Quilting fabric I didn't like. Other brands at LQS - I won't mention names- often feel the same as those at Joann's, WM... So it is up to you- my thought is- it is your quilt and do it your way!

  5. #5
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    Buy where you find what you like and can afford. I love my LQS and spend quite a bit there. I also buy from JoAnn and WalMart. I try very hard to use the same quality fabric throughout a quilt. Where it comes from is not important.

  6. #6
    Junior Member MamaQuilter's Avatar
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    I have bought at both (all). I personally prefer quilt shop brands but my wallet disagrees so I buy both. :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Grama Lehr's Avatar
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    I have found some really great fabric at Joanne's. I have also found some really thin fabric there. You have to hold it up, feel it and see if it's quilt worth. I won't put anything in a quilt that won't wash and wear well. My quilts are the warm and comfy kind that get washed and dried on a regular basis.
    I have also found some really great stuff at Walmart, but again you must be pickey!

  8. #8
    Member galatotesa's Avatar
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    Walmart/Joanne fabric. I like quality fabric (name brands) BUT when I'm looking for just the right color or print I will buy what I need for the project I'm working on OR (going to be working on some day) The batiks are beautiful, but for applique it is more dense and harder to get you needle thru. Good luck with your project..

  9. #9
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Because you are doing hand applique I think it will be important to choose fabric with a close weave. A fabric that has a looser weave is going to ravel more and will make needle turning difficult if not impossible (especially if your new at it). The looser the thread count the more difficult it will be to get good straight lines and make nice smooth curves.

    You should be able to see and feel the difference between a tighter weave and a looser weave. Some extreme examples are a batik (tightly woven) and a homespun (loosely woven). Or to use your bed sheet example of feel and look - the difference between a 200 thread count and a 600 or 800 thread count.

    I CAN feel and see the difference in some of the Joanne's Fat Quarters I recently purchased for a small wall hanging project. I would not ever consider using these for applique.

    Batiks are typically a tighter thread weave, and batiks are dyed. Calico's and other fabrics are screen printed. The main difference in dye vs screen print is that dyed fabrics the fabric is either in a dye bath or liberally painted on and the color goes through the whole cloth.

    Screen prints use a series of die plates (large rubber or silicon material - like a rubber stamp), there is one for each color used. The fabric moves through a series of these die plates and is imprinted with ink on the die plate. The color "sits" on the top of the fabric, it doesn't go through.

    And then there are homespuns, mostly plaids, and these are made by weaving different color threads - so like a batik the color is all the way through. These may still be quality fabrics, using quality cotton - but the nature of the weave lends them to a limited number of uses - typically not applique, but they are used quite often in pieced quilts. Although come to think of it, I have felt some homespuns that are a nice tight weave that I would use in applique.

    The quality of the fabric has more to do with the type of greige (raw material) used, and the process used to weave it.

    Some fabric, a lot of the Asian prints come to mind, are a thicker greige/weave, a bit stiffer to the hand. I personally wouldn't want to needle turn one of these.

    If I were going to take the time to hand applique a Baltimore Album I would use the best quality I could find.

    I'd start by visiting a LQS - finger all the different type of fabric. Purchase what you think feels like good quality, nicely woven, soft fabric. Buy a fat quarter of one batik and one screen print. Then go to Joanne's and do the same thing. Take them home and make small tests blocks of each of them - just cut a simple applique of a heart (has curves, straight lines, and points) and hand applique it to muslin (or the other half of one of the fat quarters) and see how each of the fabrics behave. You'll know more by working with each of them than you will from any of us talking about it.

    And I have to add ... new to quilting and wanting to do Balitmore Album. You go girl!!!

  10. #10
    cjr
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    Super Member cjr's Avatar
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    I buy what i like and can afford at the time of purchase.I make an effort to support LQS, because they offer classes that mass merchandisers do not. I believe in supporting every one

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