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Thread: Views on Poly cotton?

  1. #1
    PrettyKitty's Avatar
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    I have recently tried out some of the online fabric shops, as my stash is woefully small due to my tight finances and the high cost of cotton fabric here in the UK. While browsing the online fabric shops (for any UK quilters just Google 'cheap fabric' and you'll find some good ones) I was amazed at how cheap the poly cotton is. 2-3 per metre. Cotton is generally 7 per metre and above, it can be 10+ per metre for designer names in my LQS.

    So I ordered some plain red and some red gingham, a metre of each. I am using it for a braided border for my 'Quilt for Me' at the moment.

    What are people's views on using poly cotton for patchwork and quilting? I know it is not traditional really, but is it really frowned upon for a quilt that is not going to be shown or entered into a competition? Do you ever use it in your quilts? Will be interesting to see what you all think :D

  2. #2
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    It will be fine. The reason I know? Before I knew any better, which means back in the '80's, I used poly/cotton to make quilts and they have stood up nicely over time. Grant it I tied those quilts so I am not at all sure how they hand quilt.

    Hope your quilt turns out nicely! :D

  3. #3
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    It will be fine. I have some poly/cotton that looks almost exactly like cotton. The only thing is, if you mix the fabrics, make sure that you prewash, especially the cotton. The poly/cotton won't shrink and the cotton will.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    I'm so glad you asked, bc I have been strictly, an all-cotton-girl, for fear of quilts not lasting.
    Had read so often, that different weights of fabrics in a quilt, would cause it to eventually tear or wear, at seams.
    I know they can't last forever, but had a 'thing' about getting it right.
    I do 100% cotton threads on all quilts too, bc they say, the others, will 'cut' your cotton material, over time.
    So, basically I use poly-cottons, in grandbabies clothes. Can't find that many in my LQS...thanks for jogging my pea, about looking on here.
    Clothes look a bit crisper, and wear a bit longer on kids, if not all cotton.
    Good post! thanks! :D

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Poly cotton is fine to use in quilts. It does have a few drawbacks, which is why quilters traditionally have preferred all-cotton. Here are the ones I remember:

    Poly doesn't work as well for turned-under applique because it doesn't hold a crease the way cotton does. Poly is more slippery which makes it harder to cut and sew accurately. Poly frays more easily than cotton, which means seams can eventually pull apart easier.

    Also, poly doesn't fade over time the way cotton does. Old cotton quilts often have a soft look. The fabrics have faded together over time, and the fading makes all of the colors look as if they go together -- brash or garish colors tone down, etc. If you mix squares of poly with squares of cotton in a quilt, 20 years down the road it will not have the look of an antique quilt because the poly colors will stand out.

  6. #6
    k3n
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    I think one or two of the bargains I got at a fabric fair in Holland recently have some poly in them but I'm using them anyway! I've just put one in a lap quilt that I'm making for my neighbour, mixed with pure cotton and the blocks look OK - hope it wears well though!

    K x

  7. #7
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Like many others I now usually use only cotton fabrics for quilting. The first 20 years I used anything that struck my fancy. I will say that cotton has improved over the years or else it is just the cotton sold by Quilt stores. One advantage of blends is that they don't require as much ironing and do hold their color better.
    If I am making a quilt for a child or a person I know will not care one way or the other I can use a blend.
    If you were going to enter your quilt in a juried show for "traditional" quilted items it would have to be cotton. In my experience about half of the work at today's big quilt shows is anything goes. Art quilts in particular can be made of anything even none fabric items.
    I am going to the show in Lancaster PA tomorrow I will report back next week.

  8. #8
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    since some quilters use cottons and some quilters use wool i can't see why quilters can't use poly/cottons or anything else. i would just use the same fibre content for the whole quilt so it behaves the same.

  9. #9
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    If it works for you, then use it. I generally use cotton because that is what I have in my stash, but a bag of "goodies" revealed the perfect color blue (in a blend) so I used it. Most likely the blend would be a pain to hand quilt, but machine quilting or tying should not be a problem.

    As someone already stated, make sure to prewash if your fibercontent s mixed.

  10. #10
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I couldn't care less if the fabric that is prefect for the quilt I'm making is cotton or fake fur. Poly cotton, like the men's shirt blend is excellent for quilts. If you use poly blend then use a poly thread like the big cone thread for a serger. It's good quality and a great value.

  11. #11
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    I think it's a matter of preference, etc. But to be perfectly honest, I only use 100% cotton.. the reason for this is that in the early 70's my grandmother made me a wonderful Drunkards path in a beautiful blue and white.. all poly-cotton.. I cherish that quilt as my gramma is long since gone. Well, after about 20 years (I know, sounds like a long time) that fabric started to shatter.. and now most of the quilt is in tatters. I think it depends on how long you want it to last. Maybe it's improved in the meantime. I also have a couple of quilts she made and one my Great Grandmother helped make and they are awesome. No problem there at all... just my 2 cents worth.

  12. #12
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    i always laugh when i hear people refer to cotton as "traditional". the only reason cotton is "traditional" is that polyesters and blends didn't exist 100 years ago. trust me ... if our pioneer predecessors had the option of using poly at an exponentially lower cost, that's what they would have used. :lol:

    as some have already mentioned, polys can be slippery and some will fray easily. (look at the cut end of the bolt. you'll be able to tell easily enough how much it frays. feel it, rub the two layers together, and you'll know how slippery it would be to work with.) i've also found that machine needles go dull faster.

    i'm no fibre scientist so i can only share my own experience. the drawbacks usually apply to pure polyesters (and other man-made fibres). poly blends often look, feel, and "work" like all-cotton. they're more durable than cotton, more stain resistant, and (depending upon where you buy them) often less expensive than cotton. it's best to use poly or poly blend threads with them. (and guess what! those threads are also less expensive than all-cotton. :wink: )

    as you can tell, i'm voting with the others. use what works best for you and your budget. :mrgreen:

  13. #13
    Senior Member key4unc's Avatar
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    Just be sure to set your iron properly. I used a poly/cotton blend and forgot to turn my iron down. Poly will melt if the iron's too hot.

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