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Choosing the Right Fabric

Posted by Quilting Bee on

Choosing the fabric materials is one of the most critical decisions in quilt-making. This is because there are so many things to consider – the colors, textures, patterns, styles, characteristics, etc. – all of which are important in quilting.

Here are some random tips.

Quality

First, be sure your quilting materials are colorfast, whether these are old scraps you had been saving to use on your quilt or new fabrics you have bought specifically for your project. Wash a piece to check if the colors don’t run.

Is the fabric strong enough? Too tightly-woven fabrics are difficult to quilt. Fabrics that are woven loose, on the other hand, are good candidates for rips, tearing, and damage.

Pure cotton had been proven to be the best materials yet for quilts. Man-made fibers (synthetics) and some cotton-combination fabrics are difficult to handle. They have a tendency to curl at the most inopportune places.

The good point, however, is that these fabrics have more options in terms of colors and designs than plain old cottons. The colors are more brilliant and designers have done more work (and experiments) on them.

If you are an experienced sewer, you may be able to surmount these handling difficulties. These same difficulties are also present in knitted, stretch and crepe fabrics.

Color and fabric design

Expert quilters always remind beginners to choose colors and combinations well. This may sound easy but once you have your finished quilt, it is not easy to undo things.

People declare the best judgment call is to trust your instincts. It might also be good to add some time-tested formulas from the arts and from general consensus.

It is said that blue-based colors are “cold” and that red and yellow-based colors are “warmer”. Black will dim any color next to it, and white brightens any color placed side by side with it.

Generally, people are said to be energized and active with warm colors. With cool colors – like green and blue – people tend to become calmer and relaxed.

This is an important consideration if you are intending to give away your quilt to someone important to you (a friend, a loved one, or your boss perhaps). It is worthwhile noting their prospective responses to your present.

If it is for your personal use, you may also have to consider your own feelings of your finished work.

Backing materials and quantity

Always try to have your backing materials similar to your top quilt material in weight and color. The rationale for this is ease of sewing. It is difficult to sew through uneven levels of materials or materials of unlike textures, thickness or weave.

Buy a little more than what you need for your quilt. This is to preclude any eventuality of your running out of materials. The extra fabric you bought will always have some use for you in the future, especially now that you are into quilting.

Your choice

In the end, your fabric choice will depend on your design, the colors you want, and the quality of your work. Of course, once you become a confident quilter, you can always choose any fabric that catches your fancy and imagination.

Quilting is such an exciting art and there is no limit to what you want to create.

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