Choosing the best fabric for a quilt can be quite challenging when you consider all the options available. With so many colors and fabric types available, there’s a good chance you might simply go for a fabric that pleases your eye. Unfortunately, not all fabrics are good for quilting, which means you need to get your fabric choice right to avoid messing up your project. Having been through this process time and time again, I’ll be showing you how to spot a good fabric for quilting.
What Is The Best Fabric For Quilting?
Undoubtedly, the best fabric for quilts is the quilter’s weight cotton. This fabric type is 100 percent cotton and doesn’t shrink as much as the cheap cotton fabric options on the market. Compared with other options, the quilter’s weight fabric is less likely to bleed making it a top-quality choice for your quilting project.
There are several factors that come into play when choosing the right fabric for a quilt. These factors are guides to help you choose the correct fabric for your quilting project. Whether you’re a rookie quilter or you have some experience, you’ll find the information below quite useful.
Fabric Options That are Good for Quilting
While the quilter weight’s option is the best of the bunch, there are several other options you can get that’ll do just fine. They are:
Decorating cotton fabric is notorious for having a sateen finish and being significantly heavier than most cotton fabric. It is this heaviness that makes decorating cotton fabric a perfect choice for quilting accessories and decorations. The drawback, however, is that the weight makes this fabric a bad choice for draping. So, it would be wise to not use it for clothes. Decorating fabrics will be great for Totes, throw pillows, and bags. You may also use this fabric for straight-up quilting although you might need an incredible light batting since it’s heavy cotton fabric.
Voile is a silky and lightweight fabric that has popularly been used to make scarves, skirts, dresses, and blouses. These days, it has become a popular option for quilters too. Depending on your preferred option, you can quilt with just a voile fabric or you can combine it with a quilting weight cotton. Since this kind of fabric is transparent, it best fits a top quilt to a greater degree than a complete quilt. Voiles are also 100% cotton although you may find some voile fabric that is blended with polyester.
Essex linen is another fabric option that is perfect for quilting projects. It is made of 45 percent cotton and 55 percent linen in a natural blend. It can be used alone or combined with quilter’s weight cotton. It comes in a variety of colors designs and can be used in sewing various home decorations. This fabric was created by Robert Kaufman.
Fabrics Options That are Bad for Quilting
- Knits: Knit fabrics are not a good choice for quilting because they have too much stretch. Yet, there’s still a way to make them work if you’re a really good quilter. Some quilters have been able to pull off quilting on knits by incorporating a fausible backing. If you’re not an experienced quilter, it’s best to stay away from knot fabrics.
- Synthetics: This kind of fabric is especially prone to melting which makes them a poor choice for quilting. Even if you do find a way to use them with quilting, you’re likely to face a lot of issues along the way, so it’s best you don’t try at all.
- Burlap: Another kind of fabric that doesn’t fit well with quilting is burlap. This fabric is far too flimsy to handle a quilt. It loses it’s shape far too often and if you do get your way around it, the final result doesn’t look professional.
How to Choose an Ideal Fabric for a Quilt
Before choosing a fabric for a quilt, there are a few things to consider to ensure you’re choosing the right fabric. They are:
- Try a Pre-cut or Kit Collection: With a wide variety of fabrics to choose from, picking your ideal fabric choice can be a little overwhelming. One way to make this easier on yourself is by considering a collection of pre-cuts. They might not come cheap, but there’s no easier way to learn how best to curate a large collection of fabrics for a quilt. You’ll find that some of these collections feature an interesting variety of fabrics with matching colors and different print sizes. You’re likely to see the following
- Medium-scale print
- Large scale print
- Small scale print
- Striped or Geometric variation
- Random dots.
This is by no means a fixed rule, it is mostly a guideline for various collections. When you follow this guideline carefully, you should be able to choose your own fabric from a large collection. You’ll find that the same rule applies to a Kit. The fabrics have already been curated in the order of their scale, color, and size. What choosing a kit does is to help build your quilting confidence ahead of making your own fabric choices in the future.
- Colour Theory: There’s a lot to say on how color theory affects your choice of fabric for a quilt, but for the sake of this article, I’ll try to divulge as much information with fewer words. The basic level to start from is choosing a piece of fabric that you want to build a quilt around.
Bring out your color wheel and make a comparison between it and the color in the fabric. Your color wheel will help choose a contrasting or complementary color. A good way to help you get a grasp of color in quilting is to get hold of a colored pencil and draw the quilt. It’s not going to be perfect, but it surely will give you an idea of how the color will look like in the quilt.
Another way to get your colors right is to download a software program that allows you to download different fabric collections and experiment with different quilt designs and colors. An example of such software program is the EQ7 and it’s available on Mac books and Pcs.
- Scale: When you’re considering going for a printed fabric you may want to look out for the scale of the design that’s printed on the fabric. Some quilts are better suited to smaller prints which could read almost like a solid. These kinds of prints are a great option because they add some interest to the quilt. Quilt designs that feature larger blocks are a good way to highlight larger prints. One good way to determine the scale is by taking an accurate measurement of your pattern repeat.
- Low Volume Fabric: The first time I heard the term ”Low Volume Fabric” I wasn’t quite sure what my instructor meant. Low volume basically refers to a piece of fabric’s color value. These fabrics may appear light, but on a closer look, they feature a secondary design.
They are commonly used in modern quilts and you’re likely to see them being used as background fabrics. The basic rule to follow when using low volume fabrics in quilting is to ensure the featured fabric is bright, posses a saturated color, and has a higher contrast when compared with low volume fabrics.
If you choose a fabric with a similar color value, your design won’t be particularly unique. This is one mistake many rookie quilters make. I prefer using low volume fabrics when I’m dealing with half-square triangles. It retains its white background and still manages to add some interest to the quilt.
- Keep Practicing: As is with any form of action, the more you practice, the better you’ll become at choosing fabrics for quilts. One good way to start is to master the color wheel. When you understand it enough, try practicing with scraps. Once you’ve done enough to boost your quilting confidence, it’s time to take the bold step to visit your local quilt shop and choose a proper fabric for your quilting project.
If you’re going to deliver a professional quilting job, it is important to work with the right fabric. Choosing the right fabric for quilting is an act that took me quite some time to master. If you’re trying to learn, don’t be too frustrated when things don’t work out as quickly as you expected. I have outlined several baby steps that should guide you through the process.
All you have to do is follow them religiously and be sure to practice as often as you can. The pre-cut collections and EQ7 are particular great resources that can help take your ability to choose the perfect quilting fabric to the next level. Before you get your fabric choosing skills right, you may have to stick with the options on this article. No doubt, the quilter weight’s cotton is a great choice anytime as far as quilting is concerned.