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Let Us Teach About Fabric Quality

Let Us Teach About Fabric Quality

Old 12-09-2011, 06:25 AM
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Location: Sturbridge, Ma
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Default Let Us Teach About Fabric Quality

I get exhausted reading the posts bashing stores for the quality of their fabric.
Instead.....lets teach how to determine the quality of fabric.
Fabric quality/availability has changed in the past couple years. Factories have closed; base fabric is being made almost exclusively overseas and it is becoming difficult (I imagine) for our favorite companies to get the quality they want. Lets face it, we may never have the quality and price we became accustomed to in the past.
I wanted to make a quilt using 6 different prints in shades and patterns in PINK. The quilt was being given for use as a throw on a couch and the circumstances were that I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the fabric.
The only place I could find the fabric at a price I could afford was at the chain fabric store.
Within the 6 fabrics, there was a distinct difference in the feel of each fabric. However, after washing, ironing, sewing and cutting - the final product was certainly satisfactory. I have old quilts that were used, washed and used for years; have differences in quality and being all cotton are still good. Faded but still holding up.
I saw an interview recently on tv in which the interviewee said "We may not be able to control the circumstances but we can control how we react to them". Or something like that.

So.......all this is to say.

We have to live with the current fabric situation.
We have to be able to make our own decision about using the fabric that is available and the price we can pay.
And I would hope stop saying "only fabric available at certain sources" should be used in our quilts. Rather, advise other quilters about those circumstances to watch in using various qualities.

I like to remember to "respect the nature of the fabric" and act accordingly.

I hope no one takes offense to my rambling this morning. I try never to tell my students or other quilters that they are wrong but rather advise based on my experiences how they might react to the situation and the end results.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:38 AM
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You have stated this very well. Decent fabric can be found at many stores. Some of us do not have a LQS within 50 miles and we buy fabric wherever we can. You just have to feel the fabric and think about how the quilt will be used.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Keene, New Hampshire
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I'm with you
I buy fabric from any source that has something I like.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:49 AM
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Very good thread. You have given all of us something to think about. I too have purchased good fabric at the chain stores and poor quality at LQS. I think the purpose of the QB is to help each other by being positive and not to bash chain stores.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:52 AM
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I agree. You can find good fabrics in many places with a little effort. Even at Goodwill.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:53 AM
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Amen. I'm not paying $10/yd for something that $5/yd somewhere else works just as well. Price does not equal quality, and even 'quality' is subjective.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:53 AM
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I agree good fabric can be found at chain store right next to the not so good fabric.I have seen fabric by a brand name at Walmart for $6.00 a yd and have seen same fabric at a quilt shop for double the price-same exact fabric and same quality.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:56 AM
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My quilts will never be show quality. They are made with love and meant to be used and abused. However, if I were ever to try a show quilt, I would choose the best fabrics that I can find. For now, I have a stash that will last many years
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:57 AM
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Location: Northern California, Sonoma Co.
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This is a subject that has been on my mind lately as well. I often receive donations of fabric for our local Project Linus, and as the resident quilter, it's my fun job (truly!) to go through it. When I've pulled appropriate fabric, I wash it and iron it.
I can't tell you how many times I've found something pretty, only to find upon ironing that it's not cotton, or found something terrible (either rough or see through or falling apart in threads) only to find it's a major name brand fabric. It's not unusual for me to get fabric from the 1990's, so I've really been able to compare fabric and brands over the years.

And what I've found? There is good fabric and bad fabric, from all brands, all stores, all time periods, all manufacturers. That's why I base my fabric choices on the fabric in my hand, regardless of where it came from.

And to be honest, I love fabric so much, I don't turn much away...
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:24 AM
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I shop around. I often buy online a lot of good places. I make my quilts with love in every stitch.
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