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Thread: Difference between fabrics

  1. #1
    Super Member CarolinePaj's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    Whilst in a quilting shop a few weeks ago, I was told by the store owner that if I ever get to the US that I should not buy my fabrics from the chain stores as they are not a good quality as the LQS..... is this true?

    Hugs

    Caroline

  2. #2
    Super Member Janetlmt's Avatar
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    I agree with that..I decided after my first quilt that if I was going to spend all this time making one..I should only use name brand fabrics.

  3. #3
    Super Member Luv Quilts and Cats's Avatar
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    It depends on the chain. Check this board and you will get ideas. Wal Marts have stopped carrying fabrics in some of their stores. If you find a Wal Mart with fabric you have to be carefule, some of it is not good. Joann's carries good fabric, but you still have to check it. I'm not sure where you are going in the US but if you are in New England, you may want to take a trip to Marden's in Sanford, Maine. They sell LQS quality fabrics at $2.99 and $3.99 a yard. Their selection is constantly changing so if you see something you like, buy it. I have read other people talking about Marshall's Dry Goods in Arkansas. They sell quality fabric at a discount as well. I am sure other members can point you to stores in their area of the country as well. Marden's does not sell fabric on line, but Marshall's Dry Goods does.

  4. #4
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Hi Caroline- hope you're doing better!! Good to "see you" :D
    I agree that there is a vast difference in quality. While I agree with both responses above I've never gotten bad fabric from a LQS- my experience.
    Hugs, Sue

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It is true that the quilt shops generally carry only higher quality goods. But there are a few indepedent stores that carry end of runs, or discontinued top quality at significantly lower prices.
    Just educate your self in how to recoginize higher quality fabric from lower. One is the amount of threads , if you can see the outline of your hand thru a single layer it is a low quality ( very little cotton per inch).
    Examine the print , it should have clearly defined patterns. Screen prints tend to be very high quality. When looking at fabrics that have what seems to be great colors and depth. Look at the Selvage ... often highly appealing prints have over 10 colors in the registration. Some have as many as 20 , this give the fabric wonderful shading.
    Many times a cheap fabric can be made to appear higher in quality by the finish ( starch and or Sizing). Fabrics that seem unusally stiff for a cotton quilting is hiding its poor quality. If its thin but seems to have a stiffness , avoid. Chances are it will sew OK , but once washed will not have any "body " or a desirable hand.
    Granted most fabrics are prewashed by the quilter to preshrink ,and check color fastness , but cheaply made goods will reveal them selves in the first few washes.
    While discussing color fastness. No manufacture is immune to having a fabric run , but the cheap fabrics , run and keep running. I have on occasion checked the fabric at the counter prior to cutting , by using a damp white cloth on a corner ( yes I have been known to keep this in a zip lock bag in my purse). Deeper color fabrics are most prone to running.
    Beleive it or not a give away to cheap goods is the care the manufacture winds the fabric on the bolt. Higher end manufactures pay close attention to making sure that when the fabric is cut off the bolt the straight of grain is parrallel to the bolt. I can not tell you how many time I have been at a chain Store ( Jo Ann's ) and the fabrics a so poorly wound on the bolt that when the cut a yard , by the time I get it home and straighten the grain , I have as much as 8 inches or more that it lost. ( this is a pet pieve of mine) .
    I can go on forever on this topic but ... bottom line ..learn to reconginize good quality from poor. It is a skill you will use just as much as learning to sew a 1/4 inch seam.

  6. #6
    Super Member CarolinePaj's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys,

    As always, you are all so helpful. Thank you Sue, it's good gto be around again... even managed some sewing today... although the quilt I am working in is a doosey!!!!

    We may be going to the USA (Hawaii) in September/October and of course we will have to have a stop over and I am trying to get DH to stay a couple of days so I can shop for fabric! Don't know where the stop over will be yet!

    Hugs to all

    Caroline

  7. #7
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    Let the Board know where your stop over will be and then I am sure there will be suggestions where you can get good prices on fabric.

  8. #8
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Most of the time....
    You can find some better quality fabrics, you have to look. They will not be on the $2.99 table!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinePaj
    Thanks Guys,

    As always, you are all so helpful. Thank you Sue, it's good gto be around again... even managed some sewing today... although the quilt I am working in is a doosey!!!!

    We may be going to the USA (Hawaii) in September/October and of course we will have to have a stop over and I am trying to get DH to stay a couple of days so I can shop for fabric! Don't know where the stop over will be yet!

    Hugs to all

    Caroline
    Caroline, Here is a LQS in Hawaii. I have ordered from them online several times and find them to be a great company to deal with. It is gotfabric.com online, but here is their addy:

    GotFabric.com
    933 Kanoelehua Avenue
    Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA

  10. #10
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S
    It is true that the quilt shops generally carry only higher quality goods. But there are a few indepedent stores that carry end of runs, or discontinued top quality at significantly lower prices.
    Just educate your self in how to recoginize higher quality fabric from lower. One is the amount of threads , if you can see the outline of your hand thru a single layer it is a low quality ( very little cotton per inch).
    Examine the print , it should have clearly defined patterns. Screen prints tend to be very high quality. When looking at fabrics that have what seems to be great colors and depth. Look at the Selvage ... often highly appealing prints have over 10 colors in the registration. Some have as many as 20 , this give the fabric wonderful shading.
    Many times a cheap fabric can be made to appear higher in quality by the finish ( starch and or Sizing). Fabrics that seem unusally stiff for a cotton quilting is hiding its poor quality. If its thin but seems to have a stiffness , avoid. Chances are it will sew OK , but once washed will not have any "body " or a desirable hand.
    Granted most fabrics are prewashed by the quilter to preshrink ,and check color fastness , but cheaply made goods will reveal them selves in the first few washes.
    While discussing color fastness. No manufacture is immune to having a fabric run , but the cheap fabrics , run and keep running. I have on occasion checked the fabric at the counter prior to cutting , by using a damp white cloth on a corner ( yes I have been known to keep this in a zip lock bag in my purse). Deeper color fabrics are most prone to running.
    Beleive it or not a give away to cheap goods is the care the manufacture winds the fabric on the bolt. Higher end manufactures pay close attention to making sure that when the fabric is cut off the bolt the straight of grain is parrallel to the bolt. I can not tell you how many time I have been at a chain Store ( Jo Ann's ) and the fabrics a so poorly wound on the bolt that when the cut a yard , by the time I get it home and straighten the grain , I have as much as 8 inches or more that it lost. ( this is a pet pieve of mine) .
    I can go on forever on this topic but ... bottom line ..learn to reconginize good quality from poor. It is a skill you will use just as much as learning to sew a 1/4 inch seam.
    Lori- what a great post!!! :D

  11. #11
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Around here Joann's and Hancocks carry very good quilting fabric--especially Hancocks. Just check it out. AND, if you ever get to the US there are two places you just HAVE to check out. One is Threads of Time in Danville, Illinois, the other is Marshall's Dry Goods in Batesville, Arkansas, if you're traveling around that is. You will also find that our fabric is more reasonably priced than a lot of other countries. Some women from Canada were complaining of their prices, Australia is high, as is (I think) England.

  12. #12
    JJs
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    Hancocks carries Kaufman - are you saying Kaufman is garbage? They carry Kona cottons - also by Kaufman...

    I just got some yesterday..... at Hancocks on the markdown for $4.50 a yard.

    I am getting to the place where I agree as far as JoAnns is concerned. The stuff that's nice and feels good is getting to be around $13 a yard in there - too rich for me. If I were going to spend that kind of money it wouldn't be in Joanns.
    Frankly, I'd rather shop the places that have the "out-of-date" name brand stuff for reasonable prices. I don't have to have the latest-greatest the first second it comes out...

  13. #13
    Super Member CarolinePaj's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    Lori, you should be writing books on fabric recognition. I have printed you response and will use it all the time. I love that you carry a damp white cloth in a ziploc... another tip I will use.

    When we know if we are coming to the USA I will certainly be posting here and getting any help I can.

    Hugs

    Caroline

  14. #14
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    I also think you need to consider what the quilt is being used for. An heirloom quilt desires the very best you can afford. A drag-along quilt can be less expensive fabric but still have quality.

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