Quilter's cotton

Old 04-06-2020, 07:05 AM
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Default Quilter's cotton

Is cotton fabric bought from my LQS considered quilter's cotton?
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Old 04-06-2020, 07:21 AM
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This should be a good discussion for me to follow because I'm not sure on what is being asked. Different parts of the country use different terminology, like there can be differences between "piece work" and "patch work" and terms start or change over time.

I mostly know the term "quilt shop quality fabric" in terms of fabric swaps. In which case, yes, most everything your LQS would carry would count. From time to time I have gotten bad pieces of fabric from high quality names so brand name, price, and where bought don't always guarantee whether something is going to pass my feel test. Likewise I've had some lower end fabrics printed on nice greige goods (the raw rolls of fabric) that were absolutely lovely, so again brand names and price aren't the only indicators.

In terms of what makes a fabric more suitable for quilting or other use can involve the weave, which in quilting is usually not textured, even, with a fine equal thread in both directions. Personally, though, I've used various weaves like home spuns, ikats, jacquard, or other non-standard fabrics. Canvas can be 100% cotton but too thick or too coarse a weave to be suitable for quilting.

I tend to like lighter weight fabrics of a smooth even weave, like batiks. When you are used to working with them, a lot of what other quilters feel is prime and desirable can seem rather thick -- or on the other hand, the batiks can feel flimsy to those used to them.
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Old 04-06-2020, 07:34 AM
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For the most part this is true. our LQS do carry higher quality fabrics compared to Walmart even if the print looks the same and the manufacture is the same the tread count can be very different. The majority of the fabrics I have in my stash are quilt shop quality. I do have a few that came from JAF and I have to be careful not to use those in swaps that call for quilt shop quality. I buy online most of my fabrics now and in most instances I am getting quilt shop quality and that works for me. I like the 'feel' of higher quality fabrics too.
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:02 AM
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Another difference between "quilt shop quality" and others is the color saturation. If you look carefully at two very similar pieces of fabric and look at those color registration dots in the selvedge, you may see that there are more dots used, or a thin metallic embellishment may be used on one/missing on another.

You see this most often with a designer fabric that is popular but limited one year opens up in a different color way or other changes and becomes more wide-spread for the next year or two -- in addition to down right copies by other companies.

Now, I'm not particularly snobby and I'll use some pretty iffy fabrics for my "use" quilts, those that are just blankets. I recently did a top of all metallic fabrics, a couple of those were gotten from swaps and were not quilt shop quality... but in terms of being usable fabric they were just fine even if ugly compared to the others. Still, they were never going to make it into a top except that one so I put them in.

I used to do a lot of fabric swapping and I know I have wider tolerances than some people over what is acceptable. But it's hard to look at a stack of fabric and not see those that stick out, either in terms of quality or adherence to the swap theme.

There is a whole level of fabric considered "Craft" fabric -- a lot of what (not to pick on them) Walmart sells is in this category. Even if it is 100% cotton, it isn't really quilting suitable. But some of the fabrics Walmart carries are just fine if you go through them bolt by bolt (if your store still has bolts!). Last year I bought a large bag of scraps that was mostly Walmart, and some of the Wamsutta fabrics were lovely -- others not so much and some of what was in the bag didn't make it into my project because they were blend fabrics even though they looked very similar to the all cotton ones.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:31 AM
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Most LQS fabric is exactly that but there are different kinds of cotton fabric. Denim, canvas, chenille, cotton twill, corduroy, chintz etc. If you ask for quilting cotton, they will direct you to the right section.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:56 AM
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Thanks everyone.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:27 PM
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are you asking because you've seen info that "quilters cotton" is tighter weave and hence better in face mask in keeping out Covid 19? If so, a friend that owns a LQS has told me that most "quilter's cotton" is actually only about 70 thread count, while most cotton sheets are 150 up to 500 thread count! Some of the cheaper "quilters cotton" is actually only 40 thread count and may often have heavy dye and sizing to give it "body"---but you'll know that cause it's likely to be stiff. Probably the best combo for face masks would be batik and nice cotton sheets.
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