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Thread: Have you heard that JoAnn's fabric is poorer quality?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Gayle8675309's Avatar
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    Have you heard that JoAnn's fabric is poorer quality?

    I was taught by a few quilting friends to never buy fabric from JoAnn's or WalMart for quilting. They say that JoAnn's and WalMart buy "second and third runs" from the manufacturers, therefore the cotton is of poorer quality...lower thread count and less printing quality.

    So I've never purchased fabric from anywhere but quilt shops. But I see that a lot of you purchase fabric at the discount stores.

    Have you ever noticed a difference between quilt store fabric and discount store fabric? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Occasionally on their cheapest priced fabric I can tell that it is too thin; however I don't think it is intended to be for quilting but for very light weight clothing. They sell more fabric than just quilting fabric. I buy according to the usage I have for it. I haven't had any regrets with my purchases. You need to know your fabrics and not be a "quilt snob."

  3. #3
    Senior Member cmrenno's Avatar
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    You can tell alot by feeling the fabric. If I like the fabric and I like how how it feels I buy it. Some Joann's fabric is lousy just follow your instincts. From time to time you can find high quality fabric at Joann's.

  4. #4
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I do see a noticable difference in what is sold at JoAnns and the Local Quilt shop, in both the fabric and the quality ( clarity/presion/definition) of the prints. I can tell you that there is far less cotton in most Jo'Anns fabrics , as I have put one yard of each on a scale. In addition many of the top manufactures use more colors to get the great definition and suble shading .... look at the color registrations on the fabric ... I have seen some at the quilt shops that have over 15( I have a few with 24 or more) , rarely are there more than 6-8 on a Jo'anns, these may not all be true color change, but shade changes , thus giving more depth to a print. A red flower can have 5 shades to give it more depth. Some of the less expensive fabrics the print will appear "flat" next to a higher quality print. Often I cannot mix the two as the print of the JoAnns fabric really looks cheap next to a higher quality print.
    AS for walmart ... mine stopped selling any fabric a few years ago.
    Last edited by Lori S; 12-08-2011 at 01:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Very big difference in texture and quality between LQS and Joann's, Hobby Lobby or Hancocks. I mostly stick to LQS because of all the work involved.
    Linda

  6. #6
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    Most of their designer named fabrics are really nice - nicer that some LQS that I have been to. But you just have to make that decision yourself. Unless it is something that I have bought before, I never order fabric on line from Joanns. I have purchased a sample piece and then ordered it on line with the SKU number when I have needed more than the store carries.

    But then again before Walmart took their fabric out 4-5 years ago, they used to carry some really nice stuff. I don't know so much about now. The store that I go to doesn't have fabric and are not getting it back. You would be amazed at what you kind find at places. I just keep an open mind and spend my money judicially. I let my money speak for me. JMHO
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  7. #7
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    I'll use their fabrics for pillow cases but not for gifts or things such as quilts, table runners, placemats, wall hangings etc. For one thing, their fabric is way too thin and for another, especially at JoAnn's now, their material is so expensive, if you're willing to pay $9.99 a yard for an inferior product, why not spend a few cents more and get a really good quality product? I was always told that if you can see your hand through it, stay away.

  8. #8
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    The quilter's fabric that Joann's has is nice, but it is not top quality. It won't last as long as the quilt shop stuff. It shrinks a lot more as well. That said, I do use it for young kid quilts, tied quilts, pillowcases and other stuff. I know people who won't use a quilt because they know they are expensive and are afraid to wreck it. Making them one out of scraps or Joann's fabric frees me to say, I didn't spend a lot of money. Then they will use it.

  9. #9
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    I agree there is a difference (as a general rule) between JoAnns and LQS fabric. I am not going to say you can never find good fabric at Joanns or Walmart, but if you look at their fabric side by side with LQS fabric, the difference is pretty evident and the LQS fabric will be better quality the majority of the time. That being said, I have purchased fabric at Joanns and it served its purpose adequately (I made trivets). But whenever possible, I shop at the LQS both for quality and to support my local stores.
    Sheila N.

    When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000 step process."

  10. #10
    Member kpelletier83's Avatar
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    I too let my money speak for me. I have a wonderful store near me called "$1.99 Fabric Store". They have varying
    qualities of fabric. I feel the fabric. If it is then and stiff I don't buy it. If I were making a special quilt I would spend the
    extra and go to my LQS. If I had unlimited funds I would stick with the LQS cause their fabrics are wonderful.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Honeynga's Avatar
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    I get frustrated, aggravated, exasperated and intimidated by this kind of thread. MY problem is I just don't have the money to buy the "best" fabrics.......I enjoy quilting and am thrilled when I make someout out of a JA's fabric that looks half way decent ! When I think back to our ancestors making quilts they didn't have LQS, JA's, Wm"s, etc...they had to use what they had. If I could I'd buy the finest quality fabric i could fine,but I can't. I'm retired, live on a very limited income, am somewhat disabled, can't work even if I could find a job...no one wants to hire a 65 year old these days anyway ! My heart and my gut tell me to do the best that I can with what I have; I really don't care if these quilts last 50 years or not, I make them for the moment, the joy and the joy of sharing them with my loved ones.

    I still have some clothes of my 30 year old daughter that I smocked for her when she was younger; most of the fabric came from the local Hancocks and still looks GOOD ! Too, I have several framed cross stitch and needle work items that I did in the early 80's and the supplies came from Leewards (remember them?), Joann's, etc......I have one needlework pillow that I bought the supplies from a local needlework shop and it looks like crap.....colors have faded terribly.

    Again, work with what you have available and enjoy it !

    Years back I somehow met this this very old woman that loved to crochet....she had the thin cotton thread and a bent safety pin.......my then husband took it upon himself to take this woman to a local craft store for her to buy her selection of crocheting thread and a selection of crochet hooks......she was thrilled...but you know what ? Her work wasn't any more beautiful than when she was using what she had !

  12. #12
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    I had heard that JoAnns bought second run (somewhat lesser quality) fabric than what is in a LQS; this includes some the "branded" fabric like Kaufmans that I have seen there. However, I noticed that they have started carrying a higher priced (feels better as well) batiks and other cottons under the "Premium and Artist Brands." JoAnn's carries a lot of their "own" named fabric.

    I have bought the Legacy line batiks and have been happy with them.

    I think you have to feel the fabric and see if you like it. It depends on the printing process used by the manufacturer. Check the country of origin on the label on the bolt and see if there is a consistent feel to fabrics from the same country.

    I bought some nice velvet and home decor fabrics there.

    Hancock's carries a little better fabric than JoAnns. Same with Beverly's.

  13. #13
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    Honeynga, I agree with you. If a quilt is made with love for the recipient, you will receive love in return. We all can't afford the more expensive fabric all the time. I make my quilts with love for the giftee, because the quilt pattern/fabric is "right" for them and because I love to quilt. I don't expect my quilts to become heirlooms (except my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, I hope) but make them to be comforting, useful and loved. I expect the kids' quilts I've made to be "drag arounds" to be used and loved. So what if they fall apart after they've outlived their comfort factor for the kids.

  14. #14
    Junior Member Gayle8675309's Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one that has been taught that LQS fabric is higher quality. Good to know.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpelletier83 View Post
    I too let my money speak for me. I have a wonderful store near me called "$1.99 Fabric Store". They have varying
    qualities of fabric. I feel the fabric. If it is then and stiff I don't buy it. If I were making a special quilt I would spend the
    extra and go to my LQS. If I had unlimited funds I would stick with the LQS cause their fabrics are wonderful.
    DITTO !!! You just have to be able to carefully search thru all the fabrics. JAF is getting more of a better line in their stores but the price has gone up to $9.99 a yard. Even Wal-mart has VIP and some Fabric Traditions. These stores buy in bulk so I doubt if they are buying 2nd or 3rd. Fabrics companies normally sell their seconds and unsold fabrics to dealers who primarily then resell the fabrics to smaller chain stores that can be either flatfolds or on a bolt with a different manufacturer name on the bolt. It is NOT difficult to spot the lower quality of fabrics. Those small chain stores ALL closed in Southern California such as Ben Franklin. You ALSO have to remember that most of the fabrics are being produced cheaply in China.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  16. #16
    Member Threadbanger's Avatar
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    Well, the reason that I buy at Joann's, Hancock etc is simply that there aren't any quilt shops near me. I'd have to drive at least an hour in any direction to get to one. I do agree that the fabric from quilt shops tends to be of higher quality. However, I'm a beginner in quilting so I would want to practice with the less expensive stuff. Maybe if I ever get to the level of expert or have people commission me to make them a quilt I will go with the higher end stuff. Until then JoAnn's, Here I come!
    Emily

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  17. #17
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    This kind of thread comes up all the time and usually ends with hurt feelings. IMO, I'd rather make fewer quilts with the best quality fabric I can find than use lesser, JoAnnes and Walmart type fabric. It's my preference and I'm no snob, just a realist that knows all the hours of my work should last as long as possible. I don't judge others who do buy there, but I don't and that's just my view on the subject. I do buy notions and batting at Joannes, but I'd rather buy the best quality from my LQS or online where I can get the best, LQS fabric for the same price that Joannes sells lesser quality fabric. It's kind of a no brainer for me.

  18. #18
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I hate to be the bearer of bad news for all of you LQS ladies....BUT....you can buy good fabrics at Walmart and JoAnn's! And I have seen very poor fabrics at your LQS. It is very easy to determine quality of fabrics simply by feeling them. The very worst and thinnest are the ones you can see through. The best ones have a heavier hand and you won't be able to see your hand through them (which is why it is very hard for me to buy online). I purchased great fabrics at WalMart just a few days ago for $2/yd. I am not a fabric snob and need to get the most bang for my buck, so I buy the best I can afford without throwing money away. I have been know to run to the LQS when I can't find exactly what I need somewhere else and am grateful for their helpful ideas.

  19. #19
    Junior Member morforles's Avatar
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    This past year I have seen the quality go down in the fabric at JoAnn's and even had one of the clerks tell me that the new "stuff" coming in is horrible compared to the past. I have found fabric in Wal Mart that is equal to or better than JoAnn's, but like the others have said, you just have to look and feel for yourself. I will say that when I hear quilters talk about fabric quality I wonder about our ancestors who quilted with what ever they could find and some of those quilts are still here today! ?????? Who knows what's best?

  20. #20
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    Occasionally on their cheapest priced fabric I can tell that it is too thin; however I don't think it is intended to be for quilting but for very light weight clothing. They sell more fabric than just quilting fabric. I buy according to the usage I have for it. I haven't had any regrets with my purchases. You need to know your fabrics and not be a "quilt snob."
    "You need to know your fabrics and not be a "quilt snob." Those last 5 words were totally uncalled for. You should really watch that, you know. Let's be nice, that is all I am asking.
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  21. #21
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Honeynga and gramajo - I'm with you. I also don't expect my quilts to be heirlooms, but utility quilts. If I find remnants or something inexpensive and it will work, then I get the pleasure of the creation. I do quilt mostly for my own pleasure, and the pleasure for me is in the making, not necessarily for the extended lifetime of the product. But, to each his own, and may we all enjoy what we do.

  22. #22
    Senior Member cassiemae's Avatar
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    I have noticed Joann's fabric seems to be getting worse and the price is getting higher.

    That is my opinion
    "BIG SKY COUNTRY"

  23. #23
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    almost all places that sell fabric have good fabric and some not so good you just feel them and decide for yourself. I have bought fabric from walmart and joanns that was just as good as a fabric store

  24. #24
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    I get some very nice fabrics from WalMart and while they're not cheap in price (around $6 yd) I'd say that I like some of them better than JoAnns. I shop everywhere and buy what I like and if it feels good I buy it.
    Debra

  25. #25
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    A "quilt snob" thinks of nothing but quilts. Thin cotton material not suitable for quilts makes wonderful summer clothes and probably was never, ever intended for quilts. Too complain and reject fabric for a use that it is not intended nor suitable for is indeed snobbish.

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