Hey guys, if you are reading this blog post you are probably doing my free online beginner’s quilt course. I wrote this post to help everyone that is new to purchasing fabric.
When making a quilt you always want to buy 100% cotton quilting fabric, for the quilt top and the binding. There are other fancy designer fabrics that will work, but let’s just stick to basics here.
I also recommend using 100% cotton quilting fabric for the backing in our quilting course, especially if this is your first quilt. You can use other fabrics for the backing, however, when starting out with quilting, 100% cotton quilting fabric is much easier to sew and manage.
Fabrics often come in collections, these collections include various different fabrics that are designed to go perfectly together. The theme, designs, and colors all work and match perfectly together. Buying fabric by a collection takes a lot of the guesswork out of picking your fabrics because all the hard work is done for you.
A lot of collections are created by designers for fabric brands and manufacturers. On the selvage (the edge) of the fabric, you can find all the details of that particular fabric.
An example of this is in the picture above. The collection is called Happyland and it is designed by Jennifer Paganelli. The brand is Free Spirit and the manufacturer is Westminister Fibers. Right at the end, you can see the name “Eloise”, which is the name of this exact fabric.
HOW TO BUY FABRIC
When quilting we use the imperial system, which is inches and yards, for all measurements regardless of where you are in the world.
In the USA you will purchase fabric by asking for inches and yards.
In other parts of the world like Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain you will buy your fabric using the metric system. When purchasing your fabric all rulers have both measurements so they will easily be able to help you convert the measurements.
OFF THE BOLT
Off the bolt fabric, also known as yardage, are the big rolls of fabric you see in stores. Off the bolt is a very convenient way to buy your fabric, because it gives you the freedom to buy as little or as much as you want.
Off the bolt fabric is sold by the yard, and a yard is 36” long. All shops have different minimum cuts, but you can usually start with as little as 5-10”.
Most quilting fabric is about 44” in width. Some are much wider and these are used for the backing of your quilt.
Pre-cut fabrics are fabrics that have been cut to specific sizes. They usually come in bundles with various fabrics from the same collection, and they always work perfectly together. So if you are nervous about picking fabrics they may be a perfect option for you.
You can find quilt patterns that require you to specifically use pre-cuts.
In a bundle, you may get at least one piece of every fabric from the collection, some doubles, or you may get an assortment. Check what is included in your bundle before buying.
It is not recommended to wash pre-cut fabric. Washing will cause shrinkage and the edges to fray.
TYPES OF PRE-CUT FABRIC
- Fat Quarter (FQ) – 18” x 21” – also available individually
- Fat Eighth (F8) – 9” x 21”
- Layer Cake – 10” x 10”
- Mini Charm Pack – 2.5” x 2.5”
- Charm Pack – 5” x 5”
- Jelly rolls – 2.5” x 44”
- Honey buns – 1.5” x 44”
- Half Yard – 18” x 44”
HOW TO FIND DETAILS OF THE FABRIC
Details of the fabric are found on the spine of the bolt or on the packaging of pre-cut fabric. This is where you can check it is 100% cotton, the width and sometimes the name of the collection.
WHERE TO BUY FABRIC
Buying fabric from chain craft stores is convenient and affordable. The selection and quality of fabric is good. I have made many quilts with chain craft store fabric.
Buying fabric from a local independently owned quilt shops has its advantages, the main one being they will have a much larger range of fabrics for you to pick from. The fabric will be mostly designer fabric, which is premium quality, but they do cost more. You will also find that staff members are more able to answer your questions and assist you in choosing your fabrics.
Buying fabric online is also an option from either chain craft stores or independently owned quilt shops. I buy most of my designer fabrics online, this is mainly because I don’t have a local independently owned quilt shop that is convenient to me. The downside of buying online is sometimes the colors are not quite as you expected. Also, the minimum cut is usually 1/2 yard.
CHAIN CRAFT STORES
Hobby Lobby – USA
Joann – USA
Spotlight – AUS/NZ
Hobbycraft – UK
SOME OF MY FAVORITE ONLINE STORES
I hope this post has helped you understand fabric a little better and that you are feeling confident to hit the shops.
Now you know about fabric, read my next blog post that explains how I pick my fabric here.
If you think I have forgotten something, please let me know by leaving a comment.
MORE QUILTING INFORMATION
This post is part of a free online course to learn quilt making, to find out more click here.
To find out what tools you need click here.
Frequently Asked Questions click here.
Thanks for popping by my blog!