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Thread: new fabric, shorter width

  1. #1
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    Unhappy new fabric, shorter width

    Last week I got a yard of fabric at JoAnne's to make a pillowcase for my DD. Imagine my shock when I put it together with pieces from my stash to make the case & it was substantially shorter! I mean like 3-4 inches!! Is this a new trick by manufacturers to compensate for the extra cost of cotton? I guess I'll have to take my tape measure with me from now on to measure the width of the fabric before purchasing! I mean, I was stunned! Thank goodness, it was only for a pillowcase & not something that the yardage would have made a difference!!

  2. #2
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    what did it say on the end of the bolt? Was this after washing?

  3. #3
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    Thank you for letting us know. We will need to investigate closer from now on!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for heads up will be checking close from now on!
    QUILTNMO

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rubesgirl's Avatar
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    Many manufacturers are now using a 42" width. You really do have to check each bolt you want to buy from. It was a surprise for me when I bought fabric, assuming it was 44-45" and it only measured 42".
    Wendy in VA

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  6. #6
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    Good to know. Most fabric no matter where you buy shrinks after washing.

  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It surprised the heck out of me when it happened the first time. Many manufactures have reduced the width of their fabrics. Its not just a JoAnns issue. I can now tell the newer purchases from the older in my stash by the width. I have been wondering ...Are we going back to 36 inch wide cottons?!!

  8. #8
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    I hadn't noticed this, will definitely have to check when I buy fabric again.
    Heather

  9. #9
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    The 44-45" fabrics disappeared several years ago. The 42" fabrics are problematic for me because I wrap the fabric from back around to the front for the binding. This requires the backing to be at least 4" wider than the front. This is ok for the smaller children's charty quits but a real problem for the bigger boy's quilts that are the greatest need.

  10. #10
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    Some older fabrics (15 to 20 years old) are also narrower - this includes some of the "better" brands such as Kaufman and Hoffman.

    So - it isn't just the "new" fabrics that are narrower - some of the older ones are, too.

    I had also "assumed" that the "newer" cotton wovens - as in 1950 and on - were 45 inches wide. NOT SO!!! Even back then!!

    So - yes, it does seem that some of the fabrics are narrower - and some are - but this is not necessarily a "new" thing.

    I now try to check the end of the bolt for width - if it isn't shown - or covered up with a price tag - one can ask to have the width measured.

    Some fabrics shrink a lot (I've had fabrics shrink up to 2.5 inches in width) and some don't shrink at all. I can't tell ahead of time what a fabric will do.

    I'm one of those that prefer to soak fabrics in hot water (gasp!!!!) and then wash them in cold or tepid water before cutting them.

    There are also many sewers that skip the washing step.

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    generally the width of fabrics is written on the end of the bolt= along with fiber content and price- fabrics vary from
    36" wide up to 44" and even 54"----it is always a good idea to check- it is not some trick- it's been that way for a long long time (since they started putting fabric on bolts)
    it is (normal) for fabrics sold to quilt shops to pretty much be 40"-44" wide- but in other markets like joannes or hancocks where they sell apparel fabrics and fabrics for many other uses it is common to find other widths.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Super Member Pinkiris's Avatar
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    I recently bought some cotton fabric for my grandsons' favorite NFL team. It was 60" wide!! What factory is making that, I wonder? Got it from Hancock Fabrics.
    Sue

  13. #13
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up. But even at 42", by the time you cut off selvages you could come up a little narrow for a pillowcase, I cut my standard cases at 41".
    Joyce

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  14. #14
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    So what else is new? I bought coffee and the can is about 1 in shorter. Bought Puffs and they are 1/2 in shorter. Prices go up and the product shrinks. Two price increases in one! What a deal.

  15. #15
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    I've noticed that some of the new fabrics coming in are 42" of 43" wide now. Also the bolts we get (WM) are now only 8 yards on a bolt instead of the 10 it used to be.

    Phyllis
    QuiltingGrannie
    Last edited by PatriceJ; 03-31-2012 at 03:50 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member maryb44662's Avatar
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    I remember when you could only get 36" wide fabric. It was wonderful when they came out with the 44-45" width and some 60" width.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Handcraftsbyjen's Avatar
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    When I figure my bindings and such, I just base things on 40". That way I am usually safe no matter which fabric I choose.

  18. #18
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    When buying fabric I always have planned on 40" width and I'm usually pretty safe. That would take into account "skinnier" fabric and after washing. So far it's worked for me.

  19. #19
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    Wow! Thannks for letting us know. I will try to be more alert now and check the bolt end.

  20. #20
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    Went to hancocks yesterday and bought some fabric for block swap, asked the girl to cut me 1/4 yard of two peices, took it home to wash and press, measured fabric it was 12 in. & 13 in , confused here thought, 1/4 yard was 9 inches, checked receipt it said .25 yards. this was a first for me usually girls are more accurate than that.

  21. #21
    Super Member jetayre's Avatar
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    To add to everyone else's comments: I noticed that some bolts are reading 42". I am a end-of-the bold reader. What I am wondering ----how does this affect patterns. Some patterns show right to the edges and I can't help wondering if the pattern industry is going to take this in consideration. Any patterns I've seen lately are still the standard.

  22. #22
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I think it is a marketing ploy myself. Just like everythingelse, the size is shrinking. Where you used to get a pound of bacon, now you get 12 oz. They hope people won't notice.
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  23. #23
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    Thank you for the post , agree...surprised! My use was for a strip quilt, flag. I was greatful it was the nlue field so width required snd not red length! The bolt cardboard was the usual size! No clue there would be a differance.

  24. #24
    Senior Member anita211's Avatar
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    I haven't pre-washed quilt fabric for about 25 years. I did it once... I ended up with 'strings' all over the place and said enough was enough. I don't even wash reds or blacks. If the quilt is washed in cold water once it is complete, the chance that it will run is minimal. I have also never had to rewash, soak, or whatever. Does the cotton shrink? It might after a couple of cold washings because then I will wash with hot water. I do this for Amish style quilts where you want the shrinkage that is always there on an Amish quilt. But for the rest, I wash in cold water, have little shrinkage and no running of colors. Besides, what is the sense of washing all the sizing off, and then ironing with spray starch to get the 'hand' back?

    Anita in Northfield, MN

  25. #25
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    A sign of the times for sure I just think it would be polite to be informed by the companies. I don't like being surprised.
    On the plus size, I walked down the soda asle at the grocery store and small bottles have returned. And cookie packages are getting less weighty...maybe we will all get thin! LOL

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