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Thread: Let Us Teach About Fabric Quality

  1. #1
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    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.

  2. #2
    Super Member boxerlady's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
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    I'm with you
    I buy fabric from any source that has something I like.

  4. #4
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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.
    Lorraine

  5. #5
    Super Member Maggiesmom's Avatar
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    I agree. You can find good fabrics in many places with a little effort. Even at Goodwill.
    Previously known as McQuilter, Jan 22, 2009 with 1,400 + posts
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  6. #6
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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.
    Every day, I find it harder to live up to my blue china.

  7. #7
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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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.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  8. #8
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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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
    Nancy in western NY
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  9. #9
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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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...

  10. #10
    Super Member EagarBeez's Avatar
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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.
    I never believe in the word can't,unless you've tried

  11. #11
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    For me it's not about the price. I have plenty of fabric and just buy because I want to. When I buy just because I want to I don't have to buy yards and yards. I can buy one yard and support a business owner in my community. The dollars I spend in my own community turn over several times in my community. I saw one estimate that each dollar spent in a locally owned business can turn over as many as 250 times in your own community.

  12. #12
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    You are so right. Good fabric can be found many places. We just need to take the time to look and feel it. And who doesn't love to feel fabric. Great thread and thanks.

    Quilting is my therapy

  13. #13
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Well said! Many years ago (32 or so) I made a quilt for my daughter. I bought 2 sheets from KMart. My MIL said it would never last --- the fabric wasn't "quality". She gave the example of how the sheets just don't last when used as sheets. Well, my daughter STILL has that quilt. The color has faded somewhat. What's remarkable about it is she has used it for EVERYTHING. It's been on her bed in some shape or form for those 32 yrs. She took it camping, to sleepovers, and dragged that puppy in to the car when we went traveling. To say it was beaten up is putting it mildly. The quilt I made for my son out of "quality fabric" my MIL insisted I buy, didn't last 10 yrs.!!!! So, if you put off buying fabric because the "quality fabric" is too expensive, then buy cheaper.........but BUY and MAKE it!!! You just never know!!!
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  14. #14
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    Thank you Holice for stating this so clearly.

    mltquilt

  15. #15
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    Holice, I think your comments are timely. There has been a lot of bashing on here lately that is uncalled for. This is a place to enjoy. Growl to your dogs and cats ladies, but stay helpful and happy on here. No one wants to hear uncomfortable words to start their day. Barny

  16. #16
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    Good post. Everything you said is so true. There is a place for everything, bashing someones choice is just plain wrong. Buy fabric that you like and enjoy the journey making your quilt. Sometimes you can only find the one fabric that you need to complete that special quilt at a discount store. Go for it. Thanks Holice.
    Sue

  17. #17
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    Seems this is one of those topics that never really goes away on the QB. I have made statements that some consider "bashing" of big box stores, though that is not necessarily my intent. I prefer to shop at LQS because I like to shop at local stores. Do I have a huge budget? Not really. Personally I don't think any less of quilts made with fabric purchased from big box stores and I don't look down on those who shop there. But I do know what I like in a fabric and I shop where I am most likely to find fabrics that are to my liking. What matters is when you put it in your hands, is it a quality that pleases you, the buyer? If so, buy it where ever you like for how much you like. As so many things do with quilting, it comes down to personal preference. While there are guidelines you can refer to (weave, color fastness, thickness etc) to help separate acceptable quality from not-acceptable, it is relatively subjective and there is a lot of room for personal preference/budget/accessibility etc.

    I do consider myself a fabric snob - fabric has to meet my criteria and have a certain "feel" to it for me to buy it. But considering the fact I spend less than $100 a year on fabric, I am okay with that.

    You make a very good point, Holice. And I'd like to add... it is not just the fabric but the construction that helps determine how long and well a quilt wears.
    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."

  18. #18
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    Thank you Holice. I think your comment about washing and ironing helps. I always wash and iron fabric. It helps to decrease the chances of bleeding and shrinking in the finished quilt and helps to have all the fabrics shrink, bleed and fade closer to the same rate in the finished quilt with years of washing.
    Beth in Maryland

  19. #19
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    Well said. I use fabric from a number of different sources and have been pleased with more than 95 percent of it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member EmbQuilt's Avatar
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    Holice (clapping loudly) awesomely worded. I love love my one lqs (the other has a wonderful staff but grouchy owner) and I purchase fabric when they have sales or if I just can't live without it . I also shop the chain stores and have found many beautiful fabrics that have held up wonderfully.

  21. #21
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    Very thought provoking. From now on I will look for the quality fabric no matter what store I am in and buy that. Also I will remember there is good and bad in all the stores that sell fabric and will check the fabric itself before I buy. I will remember the ultimate responsibility for buying quality fabric is up to ME!!! Thank you for your post.

  22. #22
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    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.
    I don't understand why this couldn't be added to the current thread about Joannes fabric quality and why a new thread on it if you are exhausted by the fabric bashing? Do we really need two ongoing threads about this? Just sayin'.....

    Those who prefer to buy LQS fabric are called snobs and those that don't buy from their LQS get offended and feel judged. Hurt feelings all around and really nothing good comes from the threads. IMO.
    Last edited by Candace; 12-09-2011 at 08:46 AM.

  23. #23
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    I agree with you Candace, nothing good comes from these kinds of threads. It's hit or miss wherever and however we shop. I also didn't see any educational advice offered ;-)

  24. #24
    Junior Member thevintageseamstress's Avatar
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    kudos! you have put it into perspective!
    Did you say you dropped the pie!

  25. #25
    Super Member valsma's Avatar
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    Thank you, thank you for saying so well what I have felt for some time.
    Tammy

    Life Is A Banquet and Most Poor Suckers Are Starving!

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