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Thread: Whats the best stabilizer/interfacing to use in a clothing quilt?

  1. #1
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    Im wanting to make a memory quilt out of my FIL flannel shirts however they are stretching alot when I press.. I have never used stabilizer nor interfacing and am at a loss for what I need to look for. So I need help.. Can anyone suggest the best stabilizer or interfacing they have ever used? Speaking of which, Can I use either stabilizer OR Interfacing? is one better than the other.. Should I not use one or the other.. .. HELP !!!!!

  2. #2
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    a lightweight non-woven fusable stablizer will fit your needs- at stores like joannes, hobby lobby, other fabric stores (not all quilt shops carry stablizer- they carry paper backed fusables for applique)
    the stablizer is white- has fusable on one side only (feels like little bumps on one side) you press the stablizer onto the back of the fabrics- then cut them out- they keep everything nice and straight. it is light weight - but it does add an extra layer to your quilt- so machine quilting will be recommended- it's hard to hand stitch through all the layers.

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    Ck- thank you I learned something !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by luvTooQuilt
    Im wanting to make a memory quilt out of my FIL flannel shirts however they are stretching alot when I press.. I have never used stabilizer nor interfacing and am at a loss for what I need to look for. So I need help.. Can anyone suggest the best stabilizer or interfacing they have ever used? Speaking of which, Can I use either stabilizer OR Interfacing? is one better than the other.. Should I not use one or the other.. .. HELP !!!!!
    I am an absolute novice quilter (made one quilt over 30 years ago!) but have over 40 years experience as a seamstress and tailor.

    First of all, are you actually *pressing* the fabric? Or are you ironing it? The difference is this: pressing involves placing the iron on the fabric and lifting it off again with absolutely no sliding of the iron on the fabric; ironing is placing the iron on the fabric and then sliding it while on the fabric. Pressing takes forever but does not stretch or distort the fabric; ironing is faster but if the fabric is in some way unstable, will distort and stretch the fabric.

    It sounds to me like you are ironing rather than pressing. If this is so, the first step to any remedy is to thoroughly dampen or wet the shirts and let them dry. If you are planning to use them in a quilt, they should be in good enough condition to go through the washer and dryer enclosed in lingerie bags.

    Now, as a seamstress (and not an experienced quilter), I'd say what to do next would depend on how you plan to quilt your project. The more closely quilted you put in, the less you will have to do to stabilise your fabrics. You will only have to do enough to keep them stable while you cut the patches, sew them together and then baste the top to the batting and backing.

    If you are planning close quilting, then my best guess would be to find a very thin fabric like cotton voile or cotton batiste to back your patches with. You'd first deconstruct the shirts, spray with starch and *press* the pieces. Starch your voile or batiste. Then lay the deconstructed, starched shirt pieces on the voile or batiste, spray lightly with starch again and use steam to *press* the two layers together. The starch will act as glue while you cut and sew the patches. When the quilt is done, washing will remove the starch and you will have retained the wonderfully soft, cuddly feeling of well worn flannel shirts.

    A different option would be to get lightweight fusible interfacing. Launder, deconstruct and *press* the shirt pieces as above, then fuse them to the interfacing. This has the advantage of being permanent and not needing to be so closely quilted, but the end result will be slightly stiffer than the first option I suggested.

    I think your best option would be to experiment. There is bound to be plenty of fabric in those shirts that you won't be able to use in the quilt, such as in the collars. Get a small piece of all cotton voile or batiste and a small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing, then try each option on a collar piece. When you've starched and fused the samples, stay stitch around the edge of each sample patch and make a tiny quilt sandwich out of each. That will let you evaluate the results and choose which option works best for you.

  5. #5
    Super Member frarose's Avatar
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    Flex Shape works great. I used it on a clothing quilt. It is used to back t shirts when making a t-shirt quilt. It cost around $5 a yard and is only about 24" wide. It is also very soft and flexible.

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    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    voile or batiste?? Where would I find these?

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    Quote Originally Posted by luvTooQuilt
    voile or batiste?? Where would I find these?
    The best consistent source I've found is Dharma Trading; the price per yard is reasonable and the quality is better than the price per yard would suggest:

    http://www.dharmatradining.com

    Fabric.com often has voile and/or batiste, but you have to make sure it is all cotton and not poly-cotton:

    http://www.fabric.com

  8. #8
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    Thank you....

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