Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quilting 101: Fabric

Is this time of year just super chaotic for anyone else? I barely have time to keep up with things here at the homestead let alone on my blog! This post has been on my mind though and I want to get it out there. I have a feeling this is gonna be a long one folks, because when you get a quilter talking about fabric, she can talk, and talk, and talk and talk. Seriously. If you don't make it all the way through this post, I won't blame you.

I love fabric. I mean I love fabric. Especially Moda fabric. As in, I could have our house chalked full of fabric and still not believe that I have enough. It's an addiction, I'll admit it. And really, addictions are not healthy. I won't try to pass it off as o.k. but it's the gosh honest truth. There's just something about the look and feel of good fabric; it invigorates the soul!

Where you buy your fabric doesn't matter as much as the actual quality of it. Quilt shops (whether brick and mortar or online) usually carry good quality fabrics all the time. Stores like JoAnn's, Crafters Warehouse, Hobby Lobby, etc have both good and not so good fabrics. You certainly have to be more picky. Then there's your big box store (no names mentioned) where you should only buy fabric for projects that you A. Don't want to last B. Think you may mess up a lot on so it's really more of a tester than a my skirt.
I can hear many of you saying right now, "But the good fabric is sooooooo expensive!!" and you're right, it can be. I mean $9/yard? Yikes! It's going to cost you close to $100 just in materials to make that quilt for your bed. So here's my advice for buying fabric:

1. Only buy sale fabric. Websites like have a bunch of quality fabric for way less than other places. The Fat Quarter Shop has sales on their fabrics routinely too. Search the sales section for fabrics that will work and you can end up getting great fabrics for $5/yard. I like to find the fabric that I need and then google it. I can usually always find it for a great price if I spend a little time searching. (If you have an online shop that you love, I'd appreciate you sharing a link in the comments section.)

2. Join a fabric co-op. There is one available to Etsy sellers. You can buy fabrics from retailers like Moda, Free Spirit, Kauffman, Widham, etc. at wholesale. You usually have to buy in somewhat of bulk but if we're talking about making a quilt (or two or three...) then 5 yards of fabric isn't that much.

3. Check out your local quilt shop for special sales, end of bolt deals and frequent buyer benefits.

There's nothing like getting into bed at night and pulling up, over yourself, the quilt that you made. Or, tucking your sweet children in at night with a quilt that your hands made. The thing is, if you're going to invest all the time in making a quilt then you'd better invest in good fabric. It would be a shame to have all of your hard work and time go to waste in 2 years when that quilt falls apart.

Whew, did you make it through? Tomorrow I'm going to try and cover another aspect of fabric. I think you'll like the includes a giveaway too, and that's always good!


Tami said...

I made it through! :-) This is probably one of my favorite posts that you have done. Most likely it's because I am one of those that know about the difference in quality between Jo-Ann's and say Moda but have a hard time justifying $9 a yard for it. Even harder of a time justifying it to my husband. I can't wait to spend some time looking for sales.

Crafty Maine Mom said...

I spend a lot of time online looking and price shopping. I have bought from and and most recently I bought from connecting threads. The fabric from connecting threads was not quite as good as a Kona but I bought a brights bundle and it was in the $4.5 a yard price range.

I L O V E fabric also.

Anonymous said...

LOL...I am glad fabric is not only an addiction for me! =) I have truly tried to be better about buying...and am buying with plans, not just to have. =)

I did however just find some very nice fabrics on the sale rack at Joanns...50% off the markdown. I paid $1.50 and $2 for a yard of $8-9 fabric. You can definitely feel the difference. I usually go for the premium quilting fabrics.

I also buy on etsy and there's a nice shop downtown that sometimes has sales. =)

Leslie said...

i am so addicted to fabric...fortunately for my husband money guilt has allowed me to curb my shopping of it.

Laura Lane said...

Unfortunately, I learned about buying quality fabrics the hard way. I made a scrap quilt with just anything I thought was pretty. I'd buy 5 inches here and there to make blocks with. After a year of use, I had worn out patches here and there. I really liked the quilt. It ended up in the garbage.

Christa said...

This was a great post and I agree with all you said about fabric. I specially agree about buying quality fabric since I put so much time into my projects (mostly quilts) and they're made to pass down to the next generation (Oh dear, hopefully they do not end up in an antique shop some day).
I'm looking forward to your next post on quilting.

Warm Country Blessings...Christa

Texan said...

I agree a person needs to know quality from non quality if shopping some places :O)... I too love, love, love fabric LOL.. I just did a post on my blog about homesteading type life, why we do it, etc. at the end I put its not about living with nothing and never spending a dime LOL, that I like to go to the fabric store with the best of them LOL... though latey I have not had five minutes to sew. I have been canning up a storm!!

Kim said...

Great post and oh so true! I have a pile of cheap fabric from before I knew better and a pile of the expensive stuff that I'm too afraid to cut into! :)

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Okay...this post was nowhere near as long as I thought it would be..:) :) :)..but I love yoru blog, so you can write as much as your little heart desires..and FABRIC...there is never too much!!! When I do buy fabric I usually shop at Joanns...but I'm picky about what I buy...and I'll save/buy quality fabric because I want it to last a long time. There's a quilt shop somewhere in Jacksonville, Oregon that's supposed to have really top-quality fabrics. I haven't been there yet..but it's a local I should pay a visit. Thanks for all the fabric shopping tips!!! I"m really excited about this quilting post!!! So cool!!! Have a lovely weekend. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

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