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The price of fabrics.

The price of fabrics.

Old 02-26-2009, 11:55 AM
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I think cotton fabrics have always been cheaper in the U.S. because we have the land and climate to grow cotton on a large scale, plus the mills for manufacturing thread and fabric. I think the U.K. has to import most of its cotton. I would imagine places like Australia and New Zealand have the land and climate to grow cotton, but maybe not the mills, so they end up exporting a lot of raw cotton.

Didn't cotton prices go up dramatically in England during the revolutionary war with the states? I think that was because England lacked raw cotton.
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:45 PM
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My friend took a Quilting 101 class this fall and several young women signed up, then nearly went broke buying all the necessaries. At their age, I too would have been hard put to buy all the rulers, scissors, rotary cutter and mat etc. and I won't even go there on the subject of machine costs! I think by the time I totted up the cost of the Q101 course I took last year, I had spent $200, and that was using 50% off coupons at Micheal's whenever I could for notions. Fabric here is CAN$12-17 per metre. And by the end of the course I realized my gorgeous sewing machine was bad at one thing...sewing 1/4" seams. I was able to find a nice used Bernina I could afford, just for the way it pieces so nicely.

My feeling with fabric is: get what you want. You are going to put so much labour into the piece, you should not waste your time with poor quality fabric or ugly fabric.

That said, I have real sympathy for quilters on a budget because increasingly it is getting to be a really expensive hobby. When people say "Wow, what a beautiful quilt! Would you make one for me?" I wince, because they don't know even a lap quilt takes me hours and hours, and the materials are expensive. They all seem to think we get our fabrics for free! Grandma may have had a scrap bag, I do not!

I am glad I spent some time building my stash this winter as it looks like my husband's company is going down thanks to the economy. Like the lady who said build it for retirement...buy when you can, and try to choose coordinates that won't date too much.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:00 PM
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May I ask a dumb question?? I was always told that you get what you pay for in regards to fabric. I was told to stay away from cheap fabric because " you do not want to make this beautiful quilt that took so much time and then have it start fraying and not holding its stitch or fading". Ever since then I have saved and bought in QS mostly.

What puzzles me is all the quilts that our grandmas made where certainly not QS quality fabric and they have lasted a century in some cases. Made of skirts, shirts and old dresses and bulk fabric from the merchantile. What's up?????
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:20 PM
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I get most of my fabric from Walmart(as long as it holds out) and have taken critisism for using "inferior" fabric. Too bad! I cant afford to be a fabric snob.People on fixed incomes like good stuff as much as anyone else,but you get what you can afford. I see a lot of gals on here that get theirs at Walmart too,and Im glad!! I feel more at ease !!
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:22 PM
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First, you only see the quilts now that DID last! All the ones made badly or from bad fabric are long gone.

I think the quilts that lasted were made from great fabric. And my sense is, the base level of fabric available to them was better than some of the really shoddy goods we find now...why? I think it was much harder in that smaller, more personal world to remain anonymous as a manufacturer, and I think your average housewife was quite knowledgeable about fabric and fabric quality, since most people made at least some of their own clothes and household goods.

Now, any shyster can get a run done in China and flog it to the bargain wholesalers. There is much less feedback from the end consumer.

I did have a very pretty quilt given to me when I was in my 20's, made by a local lady. My mom bought it for my birthday, and the thing totally self destructed. The cottons used were cheap, very low density and they frayed and fell apart. It was the classic example of poor materials and probably poor workmanship as well.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:24 PM
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I've always been taught "you get what you pay for" too.

I have used the cheaper fabrics on quick lap quilts for the couch (for kids and dogs) where I know it's going to be thrashed, it needs to go through the washing machine, and it doesn't have to last a million years.

But for something special, with an intricate design, I'm going for the absolute best fabric there is, even if it takes me a while to save.

The blue and white star exchange cost me just under $80 for the fabrics, $48 for the postage, and turned into rather an expensive undertaking. BUT, it will be worth it.
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Old 02-26-2009, 03:23 PM
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Since my budget is tight, I watch for sales at my LQS' and I ebay... I find a lot of good quality fabric there at prices I can afford...

I went into my LQS last Friday because they had a by 4 FQ, get one free but there was also a bin with $1 FQ's - $54 later I was home and happily fondling my splurge. But I hardly ever pay full price, money is just too tight...
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Old 02-26-2009, 04:29 PM
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blue chicken,
there are a couple of sites that have low-priced, good-quality fabrics.

try these:




follow the links. if you can make up a really big order (maybe with a friend) it may be worth the shipping.

there is also hancocks of paducah, marshalls dry goods, on the qt,.... like that.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by coldtoesinmi
What puzzles me is all the quilts that our grandmas made where certainly not QS quality fabric and they have lasted a century in some cases. Made of skirts, shirts and old dresses and bulk fabric from the merchantile. What's up?????
I think a lot of those older quilts were handled more gently on a daily basis and washed by hand infrequently. The agitator-type washing machines that most of us still have are really hard on fabric, IMO. Many times the "best" quilts were stored on a bed in the spare room, covered with a sheet, and brought out to see the light of day only when a guest came to visit.
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueChicken

Yeah... I've seen some rooms posted on here and nearly died. Maybe one day! :-)

I read somewhere once of a group of older women sitting around at a quilt class one day, chatting as you do, and several were saying how they had to stop spending so much on their stashes. The oldest piped up and said something along the lines of she wish she'd never slowed down on buying fabrics. That since she'd been retired money had been tight and she was unable to buy as she used to. She wished she had built a bigger stash as her "retirement fund", and that these women shouldn't be thinking of their stash as a guilty secret, that it was an investment in their retirement.

I susbcribe to that theory, and at this rate, I'll need to live till I'm 112. ;-)

in the back of my mind, I know this is what I did. Was afraid of being on a fixed income. It takes me a long time to get my projects/fabrics-4 "just right". I change my mind like crazy!!! sorry, your fabs cost so much. I just paid 9.00 a yard, for the very first time for one of those, love-at-first-sight fabrics...and not sure if I will do it again, but I do looooove it!! ooooh, lisa...it is pink with white polka dots and cherries!!! and it's gorgeousamondo!!! :D
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