Fabric Quality for Beginners

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What are your thoughts on fabric quality for beginners? I’ve heard it said that beginners may not want to use to use good-quality fabric in their early quilts because they may make mistakes and thus waste good fabric. But if you’re ripping pieces apart, the cheaper fabrics tend to really fray and stretch, and I wouldn’t want a new quilter to get disappointed. What do you think?

Submitted by Paula

Answer text

You make an excellent point. Quilting is becoming a scarce hobby, and we wouldn’t want any new quilters getting discouraged from continuing with a first project if they are using supplies that are difficult to work with. There is definitely a difference in quality between fabrics from Walmart and your local quilt shop, but also a difference in price.

If someone is a new quilter, I always suggest just purchasing the best you can afford. If on a tight budget, they can just buy for their current project and build a stash slowly over time from the leftovers. With that being said, if quilting is your therapy and money is tight, even a lesser-quality fabric will still do the trick there.

I always like to think of all those vintage quilts—back then, they would use clothing or any other fabric they had lying around. And yet we still have these treasures saved in our hope chests. Cared for properly, they too can last a lifetime.


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10 Responses to “Fabric Quality for Beginners”

  1. Sharon

    I am fairly new to quilting and Was given a quilting log cabin pattern book. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased pre-cut strips as I literally had a brand new machine to go with it. I hadn’t used a rotary cutter and wanted to eliminate cutting error in my first quilt. To practice binding and quilting using a Singer Patchwork machine. I purchased a panel to practice. I am proudly using both pieces!! My next projects are 1) a quilt kit (Batiks) in which the fabric is amazing!!! And 2) a pattern I purchased online and found fat quarters $35 investment for a king. 3) a quilt block of the month club which is teaching new techniques. I highly recommend quilting at a pace that builds confidence!

  2. Loretta Ogden

    I believe your first quilt will always be one more f your best loved and valued quilt you will ever make and keep. I also believe you should buy the best you can afford but love counts the most so let your heart lead you.

  3. Helena Celia Leach

    always buy the best you can afford

  4. Charlotte Arthur

    Use the best you can. Enjoy the process and the beauty of creativity.

  5. Dawn Jennings

    I would like to ask a question, but don't know how to submit it, so I hope this is ok. I am looking at buying a new bigger self healing cutting mat, but have found they are apparently rolled up for posting. Does this do any damage, as I believed they must always be stored flat?

  6. Marlene

    I am the same way. I do not like, nor will I make scrap quilts. PERIOD. I do save every inch of some fabrics, including batiks and from my original Rose & Hubble and Kona Bay fabrics (both companies no longer in business). As every other quilter, I have scraps from cutting. First option, orphan blocks and larger pieces are "pieced into" the back of the quilt and the binding. Small "leftovers" (ends of stripsets, stray geese and HST's) go into on-going dolly quilts, a mug rug or potholder is the next option. This all happens before I "clean up" the work area after piecing a top (and coordinating back/binding). The rest, in the trash. Scrap problem solved . . . for me . . . I have been quilting for nearly 30 years and, quite literally, have a quilt shop in my home to which I am constantly adding and subtracting. It is there . . . all of it . . . to USE. I buy only quilt shop quality fabric, on a Social Security budget, but I buy smart using knowledge I've gained over the years. My very first quilt project/class cost $75! At that time, it was HUGE as I was not working and it came out of my household expense money. I took the class in a local quilt shop, drawn in by the gorgeous fabric (I had been a sewer since I was 6 years old & in my 40's when I took the class . I purchased the class, the fabric/batting/thread, 3 rulers (pineapple, 1x6 and 3x18) that I still have and use, rotary mat and cutter (still have that one, too). I made 4 QAYG place mats (my mother immediately claimed them and gave them back before she died, I still have them), and made three more sets, and several pineapple quilts. I was hooked. I would say to new quilters, if at all possible buy your fabric and take a class at the LQS. There is a world of difference in sewing w/quality fabric and learning, hands on, from an experience and knowledgeable instructor. My first teacher is, to this day, a friend. She has a very successful quilt designing business and I both test sew for her and buy patterns from her. If you can't purchase your fabric at an LQS, at very least go in and "feel up" the fabric and, maybe, purchase a remnant or two so you get an idea what the difference is between most quality and most big box fabric. That way, when you go, coupons in hand during a good sale, to the big box store, you can find the few gems among the many, many choices. They are there!

  7. quiltz

    Another affordable, and sustainable, source for quality fabric is men's dress and sports shirts. Because the fronts and the back of of them is made on the straight of grain, they are easy to deconstruct, leaving the collar, yoke, plackets where buttons and button holes are to be discarded. Cuffs can be cut off, and sleeves cut just below the shoulder seam. Thrift shops sell them for very little, and the larger the shirt, the more fabric results. The fabric is very high quality, and the yield is approximately a yard or a little more. I have made 2 quilts with this method.

  8. Diana Jones

    I find it interesting that you use Walmart and your local quilt shop as where to buy or not to buy locations. If you feel the hand of different fabrics. You will find just as good quality fabric at Walmart as any other store that sells fabric. A class, in Houston, the instructor advised students to always feel the hand of fabric regardless of where you purchase. You can find good and bad fabric at most stores.

  9. Barbara Raley

    What is the best long arm quilting machine and frame for the best cheapest price?

  10. Ruth

    What is the best pattern to start wuth. O am doing the Log cabin but want to try something else just just to learn