Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 48

Thread: Fabric Manufacturers Quality

  1. #1
    Member KLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    6

    Fabric Manufacturers Quality

    Hi all! I'm new here and new to quilting, too. I've been doing some heavy research on which manufacturers produce the highest quality fabric, and now have a vague idea of who those are. I have also selected my favorite when it comes to print and fabric quality, according to the internet, and that would be Art Gallery Fabrics.

    However, the internet doesn't compare to actual experience of working with a fabric. So, my question to all of you experienced quilters is what manufacturers fabrics are you most likely to work with if you were given the same print for each manufacturer at the same price?

    I'm making a quilt for my mother and would really like the use the highest quality cotton fabric. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    4,335
    What is the criteria you are using to determine the highest quality of fabric?
    Sandy
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome Decor 3050 / Janome 1100D serger
    Singer Centennial model (inherited from my late, fav aunt!)

  3. #3
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,381
    For me I would have to feel the fabric. I don't buy fabric by brand, I buy it by feel. This is called the hand of the fabric. I feel for texture and drape -- different pieces of fabric from the same company can feel vastly different so I don't just focus on a single brand. This is why I am hesitant to buy fabric online unless I am very sure what I am getting (Kona cotton and batiks from name brand companies are a couple I will buy on line).
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  4. #4
    Super Member Cybrarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay Area, Florida
    Posts
    2,154
    Another piece of information needed is what style of fabric? For example will you be making a quilt for your Mom out of batiks, solids, '30's prints, or a specific designer? Designers work with a specific fabric company, so if you want to use fabrics designed by say, Tula Pink, you're purchasing from Free Spirit Fabrics.
    Come to Me and I will give you rest--Jesus.

  5. #5
    Senior Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    803
    Moda, Benartex, Riley Blake, Northcott, Henry Glass and Robert Kauffman are all great fabrics. I've found a lot of flaws in the "Stella" fabrics, so we will discontinue selling that brand. Kona used to be a great solid, but the sales rep told us they lowered their quality so they could sell to JoAnn's. But then, Moda's Bella solids dropped their quality, too. "Cotton Supreme" is a very nice solid. I think it's by RJR.
    Annette in Utah

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    191
    I've noticed a drop in quality in Moda Bella solids just since I started quilting a year ago. The same grey solid I bought about 6 months ago has a completely different look and feel than the one I bought 3 months ago. Definitely thinner.

    One thing to keep in mind is that even within a designer's fabric collection, the fabric can feel different for the different prints. You will notice how drastic this is if you buy a precut like a jelly roll. One fabric in the collection will be really stretchy, thin, and have a lose weave. Another one will be thick and sturdy. So you cannot even go by brand, designer, or collection.

    Michael Miller's solids are supposed to drape really beautifully. I only have a fat 8th pack so I cannot judge it, but it does feel silkier than Kona or Moda.

  7. #7
    Member KLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    6
    The main criteria that I’m using to determine fabric quality is weight/thread count, softness, drape and how well a fabric washes time after time. I am heavily taking experienced quilters preferences into consideration. There is a local quilt shop that I’ve visited, but was only able to find Moda, Timeless Treasures and Robert Kaufman. I did like the feel of Moda.

    The style I am aiming for is modern prints with a more traditional quilt layout; hence Art Gallery Fabrics being one of my top choices print wise. The material I am looking to use is typically 44’’ – 45’’ cotton. Not Batiks, though I’m aware that batiks have a higher thread count. I’m looking mostly at manufacturers because, like you said, designers work with companies. My assumption is that because it’s the designers that work with the manufacturers, consistency of quality can be better determined by manufacturer versus designer? Correct me if I’m wrong.

  8. #8
    Member KLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    6
    "One thing to keep in mind is that even within a designer's fabric collection, the fabric can feel different for the different prints. You will notice how drastic this is if you buy a precut like a jelly roll. One fabric in the collection will be really stretchy, thin, and have a lose weave. Another one will be thick and sturdy. So you cannot even go by brand, designer, or collection."

    That's really interesting! I wonder what makes the prints so different from each-other within the same designers collection of the same manufacturer. You would think that if a designer or manufacturer used the same type of fabric, at least a collection should be consistent. But you're saying that it's as if a different fabric is used even within a collection?

  9. #9
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,736
    Many of the so-called better lines are only 42-43 inches wide. Some are even narrower.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    191
    Quote Originally Posted by KLauren View Post
    "One thing to keep in mind is that even within a designer's fabric collection, the fabric can feel different for the different prints. You will notice how drastic this is if you buy a precut like a jelly roll. One fabric in the collection will be really stretchy, thin, and have a lose weave. Another one will be thick and sturdy. So you cannot even go by brand, designer, or collection."

    That's really interesting! I wonder what makes the prints so different from each-other within the same designers collection of the same manufacturer. You would think that if a designer or manufacturer used the same type of fabric, at least a collection should be consistent. But you're saying that it's as if a different fabric is used even within a collection?
    Yes, I am saying that I have bought jelly rolls where one or more of the fabrics had a different feel than the others. For example, Lotta Jansdotter's Mormor collection which is manufactured by Windham Fabrics. The fabrics that are printed on a white background are thinner and stretchier than the fabrics that have colored background. They felt different in my hand and they behaved different in an assembled quilt block. The extra stretch that the white fabric had in them caused some wonkiness in my blocks. If I had more of the white fabrics in a block, then the block ended up larger. My guess is that it was the difference between using a bleached cotton vs. a nonbleached cotton. It likely has to do with the printing process. Certain designs probably require particular weaves of the fabric.

    The take away is that if you only want to use fabrics that feel top quality, you will have to lay your hands on each piece in a collection to see if it feels the same. You cannot assume that they used the exact same cotton for each print in the collection. To expound on that point even further, you cannot assume that a manufacturer uses the exact same quality of cotton in all of its fabric lines. They also might use a slightly different weave depending on if it is a solid, print, grunge, blender, shade, and so forth. I'm sure that there are some manufacturers that use the same quality and weave for all of their fabrics. But there are definitely some that don't.

    That is just my firsthand experience. Hopefully, there is someone with more expertise that can shed some light on this topic.

    Since this is for your mother, she will love whatever you make her. Art Gallery Fabrics is lovely fabric. If you like it, and you think your mother will like it, then go ahead and use it in her quilt. It will turn out beautiful. Just as important as quality fabric is quality thread and batting. Have you decided on those items?
    Last edited by silliness; 06-10-2015 at 10:38 PM.

  11. #11
    Member sophiebernina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    92
    Of the different manufacturers fabrics I have, the fabrics by Lecien are my favourite, they feel softer and somehow more substantial to me. However, I only have one range by them so other ranges could be manufactured differently.
    Last edited by sophiebernina; 06-10-2015 at 11:35 PM. Reason: typo

  12. #12
    Member KLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    6
    You're right, she will love it, but I still want to make her something great that will last! I'm a crazy perfectionist. Yes, she likes shapes and bright colors. She's not a big fan of floral.. and so it's been a bit difficult to find stay away from that. Thanks for your approval of Art Gallery! Other company's I've been able to find prints in have been Michael Miller and Robert Kaufman.

    As for thread and batting, I don't have specific brands picked out yet. Although I've read that cotton thread should be used and that Aurifil thread is good. Batting is something I haven't looked much into, but I definitely want to use natural fibers. So I will probably go with wool or cotton.

    And it's good to know that not all widths are the typical 44''. Now I know to pay closer attention when getting yardage!

  13. #13
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    4,335
    Keep in mind that the "hand" of the fabric can be altered by the "finishing" process. I have fabrics in my stash that go back 6-7 years. That "finish" has aged and become crusty, dry. It does wash out but it was an eye opener to feel quality fabric that was soft at the time of purchase is now stiffer. Finishing processes can be decieving. Think before spray starch vs. after spray starch "hand".

    Sandy
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome Decor 3050 / Janome 1100D serger
    Singer Centennial model (inherited from my late, fav aunt!)

  14. #14
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    4,335
    Quote Originally Posted by sophiebernina View Post
    Of the different manufacturers fabrics I have, the fabrics by Lecien are my favourite, they feel softer and somehow more substantial to me. However, I only have one range by them so other ranges could be manufactured differently.
    I agree. I dont feel the "finish" that is applied to lots of other brands.
    Sandy
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome Decor 3050 / Janome 1100D serger
    Singer Centennial model (inherited from my late, fav aunt!)

  15. #15
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    19,178
    I have been quilting for over 25 years so I stick with what I know has quality in the feel and the wear of the fabric. My favorites are Hoffman, Robert Kaufman and Timeless Treasure.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  16. #16
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    8,115
    ....hmmmm, just wondering...I have personally not really deeply analyzed fabric content, mfgr vs. mfgr., I only look, feel, if I like its design, color, or whatever draws my eye to it initially will determine my purchasing or not....but now after reading all this above comments I'm being to wondering if, like thread, the deeper the color concentration, the heftier it feels. Someone mentioned the same mfgr line with white background was stretchier than one with colored bkgrnd....wonder if that has to do with dye applications.....ok deep thinking time is now over.....back to the fun part - cutting and sewing back together differently!

  17. #17
    Super Member Onebyone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8,130
    Liberty of London is one of my favorite brands of quilting cotton fabric but it's hard to find in shops.
    I love my life!

  18. #18
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Tn
    Posts
    2,502
    I don't have a particular favorite. I just use what I like the looks and feel of. Just be careful you are not overthinking and limiting yourself to what is out there. There is so much to see. Hancock's of Paducah carries so much quilting fabric. If you want some real eye candy check out their web site.

  19. #19
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    8,115
    You say you are new to quilting too.....how new, may I ask? Do you have a sewing machine or are you planning on hand working this project? Just curious....

  20. #20
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,736
    I bought a group of fabrics years ago that each one had been dyed several shades of the same color.

    The pale strip felt very flimsy - the darker the strips - the stiffer the fabric felt. Even after washing.

  21. #21
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    8,115
    ..."according to the internet ". Last sentence of your first paragraph. And, we know that all on the net is true...as per a tv commercial I saw once! Just visit a LQS in your area, a JAF or hancocks and touch the fabric ........and soak in the beauty of the eye candy.......then decide....Do you have a specific pattern you would like to do for your mom?

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    430
    I've really been disappointed in the Bella solids. Used to use them exclusively, they're so thin now you can practically see through them. It seems we're paying more for an inferior product.... dirty shame.
    aka Gale

  23. #23
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4,662
    Quote Originally Posted by cjsews View Post
    Just be careful you are not overthinking and limiting yourself...
    Such great advice!! This is the second post in as many weeks by a brand new quilter who is looking for cyber opinions on "quality" manufacturers as if they were trying to find the "best" restaurant in town by checking online reviews. Like so many other things in quilting, the best answer is...it depends.

    Depends on what line of the manufacturer, when it was produced, what dyes were used, what greige goods were used, where it was produced, and who knows how many other factors. It all makes a difference and the only way you can tell that difference is by touch. There are simply too many variables involved even within a single manufacturer.

    If I were just starting out instead of 40+ years into this sport, I would still make sure I got 'hands on' with all the fabrics I intended to purchase for my first few quilts. After that, you can base decisions on your own experience...tempered by input from others perhaps, but the key is self knowledge. What is 'quality' to you will very often not be the same as 'quality' to someone else.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Posts
    630
    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    Liberty of London is one of my favorite brands of quilting cotton fabric but it's hard to find in shops.
    And it's jolly expensive at average 22 per metre!

  25. #25
    Senior Member SuziSew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Middlebury, IN
    Posts
    788
    Keep in mind that the "hand" of the fabric can vary from person to person so it depends on what you think about it. I've had good luck with Northcott, Bentartex and In the Beginning fabrics. I don't buy much at JoAnn's any more, I just think the quality has gone down in their cottons. Luckily I have lots of LQS's around so I only order online once in awhile. Check with your LQS to see if they have groups or guilds that you could talk to about your questions as well.
    Sue

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.