When you’re new to quilting, you’re tempted to want to buy ALLLL the fabric – I know because I was like that, and at times I still am. And it makes sense, there are zillions of colors, patterns, textures and weight out there. And when you start touching them and they are so soft. Who could resist? Every line of fabric, every maker – you want them all.
But the truth is, not every fabric is ideal for quilting. Instead of endless trial and error, focus on the kinds of quilting fabrics that will go the distance.
The high-quality, 100-percent-cotton fabric is perfect for quilts. It shrinks less than cheaper cotton fabrics (although you should expect a little bit of shrinkage). It’s also less likely to bleed — but make sure by testing your fabric for color fastness before you use it on your quilt.
Quilter’s weight cotton also works for clothes, but you’ll need to prewash and dry the fabric before you start in on the cutting or sewing. That way you won’t run into shrinkage and fit issues down the line.
Flannel is available in a broad range of solids and prints and it makes a great fabric for quilting alone or mixed with other fabrics. Many people use flannels for baby quilts because it is soft and cuddly, but it is also a good fabric for quilts that will appeal to all ages. I also find that it works great as a backing.
Cotton Decorating Fabric
Cotton decorating fabrics are heavier and they often have a sateen finish. While these fabrics lack the drapability of lighter weight fabrics, they are ideal for making quilted decorations for the home and some accessories. Placemats, tote bags, and throw pillows are some examples where a sturdier, heavier fabric is just right. To get the best results, use a lighter weight batting.