Having been given a jelly roll and a quilting book for Christmas 2010, there is no excuse not to get on with quiltmaking.

Here's what happened next...


Friday, 7 January 2011

Material II

I nipped into Hobbycraft this evening - just to have a look, you know - & saw that some of the bundles of fat quarters, & some of the fabric rolls were half price.

I do like a bargain, so it's possibly a good job that I don't have a working credit card on me (except the work one, but I'm not sure that I could find a way to smuggle a fabric purchase past the accountant as a valid work expense).

Talking with colleague Rita this morning, she suggested keeping an eye out for pretty cotton print fabric blouses/dresses at charity shops for a ready source of material - & it wouldn't be a bad move to tootle over to the big Rag Market in Birmingham at some point too - there must be all sorts of 'roll ends' being sold off in bargain bins...


  1. Hate to rain on your parade but now's as good a time as any for you to find out that all fabric is not created equal.

    Different mftrs use different quality cotton, different thread counts. This can give you problems in construction as cheaper ones can stretch and slip around and be a bugger to piece, and possibly in a finished quilt, fabric of doubtful provenance might shrink, not wear evenly, colour might bruise onto an adjacent piece ....

    The Hobbycraft FQ's will be GREAT for learning on, but don't be surprised after you have washed an item if it suddenly goes all soft ... my recollection of H/C in Southampton (how I miss it .....such a tempting Alladin's Cave) was that their fabric bundles were of material with an awful lot of stiffener/finish in it to make it feel thicker than it really is. I have, however, bought loads of fabric off the bolt from them when there was an uber sale and it was absolutely fine.

    When in charity shops, make sure you get garments which are 100% cotton.

    Maybe we need to start a series of 'Guest Posts' from Rita, Flummery, QuiltSue, SewAli entitled "all the things you need to know which are rarely found in books!"

  2. My parade is dry, but only because you clever beggars are telling me this stuff now - so the umbrellas are up! Thank you!

    I can understand that if you are using different quality/treated fabric that the 'bits' of your quilt may react differently when sown together with potentially disastrous results for the finished article, so what I need is a bit of a 'rule of thumb' re:fabrics for quilting, if there is such a thing.

    So - if I say that:
    rule one is to only use 100% cotton,
    rule two is wash fabrics prior to quilting regardless of provinence

    Would I be heading the right way?

  3. Yes you're absolutely going in the right direction. The wash/no wash is a constant topic of discussion, I would say it's a matter of preference as long as you're using 100% cotton. Some (me) prefer the feel of the unwashed fabric when piecing, but others prefer it a bit softer. Back in the olden days, it was always advisable to was to get all the excess dye out, but these days, unless you're using say red or a bright colour, it's very unlikely the colours will run. Anyway, isn't that why colour-catchers were invented?

  4. A worthwhile "investment" (it's not expensive) is a can of spray starch from Sainsburys (or any other supermarket). You can give floppy fabrics a bit of body to help with piecing and it's also great for getting stubborn creases out of bits that won't iron flat. However, it's not recommended to starch anything you plan to just keep in the cupboard.

    I can tell you're a gardener at heart, my fabric is sewn together, yours is sown ;o).

  5. Right - thank you for this, girls.

    So what we're saying is that 'new' fabric (and I'm assuming that 'rule (a) 100% cotton' applies) is ok to work with straight off - and might even be easier if it's got a starch 'jacket'.

    Going to the nth degree, I would wash all fabrics (which would wash out over-starching) then a spray starch to make fabric evenly starched and less floppy & therefore easier to work with.

    Suspect that I will take the lazy way out and use all new fabric 'as is' but recycled (which will have been washed) could do with a spray starch, assuming that I can be arsed.

    Yeah, yeah, Ali, well spotted! ;)

  6. I don't pre-wash. Pure cotton shrinks by a small percentage but we lazy beggars (sorry, those who like a slightly stiffer fabric when piecing) tell ourselves that this gives rise to an antique effect so prized by quilt collectors - it says here!

    My big tip, as a scrap quilter - where the object is to get as many different fabrics into the quilt as possible, given the colour scheme - is that if you think you'll need half a metre of a fabric you like, buy a metre!

  7. Well for the time being, based on your views, I think that I may find myself on the 'no wash' side of that particular debate. I suspect that it's only ever an issue if you are using a mix of new (i.e. starched) and used (i.e. floppy) fabrics.

    Good point about fabric quanities - I haven't got as far as thinking so far ahead that I might run out of stuff for a particular quilt - although I do have my first project thought through. Probably will have a lot more thinking through yet, but it is coalesing in the ol' grey matter as we speak.


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