QOTD July 20th

vicky4x4July 20, 2011

Do you ever use anything other than 100% cotton fabric in your quilts?

I never really had, just recently I used broadcloth and it was AWFUL! I said to myself well this is why I always heard only 100% cotton.

I have Bonnie Hunter's book Scraps and shirttails and in there she says she uses mixed fabric scraps as long as it is over 60% fabric. It also looks in some of the pictures that she has used flannel shirts along with regular cotton.


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I do not like dealing with mixed fabrics in a quilt... even if it is to be scrappy. I think the feel, shrinkage and looks makes the quilt seem that you either had to get rid of your 'junk' -- or -- did not care about the person you are giving it to --or you could not afford to get something nice looking at a good price, so you used what ever you had. To me it is not worth the time and energy to make something and have it look badly because of the fabric choices you used. Then again, just my opinion on this. It will be interesting to hear what others have to say.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 7:52AM
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I agree with Babara completely. This applies to everything I sew. My time and effort far outweighs the costs of the materials, so why not use really nice fabric and the best tools you can afford?

Recently I received some fabric from Fabric.com & DH said "Ohhhh....this feels really nice - you should use this all the time. Why do you buy any fabric at Joanns?." Even he can see the difference!!!!!

Much of what we sew is meant for different purposes. And certainly, there are different levels of utility quilts, so in that respect, using odd assortments of fabric may be acceptable. But, for quilts to be used for us and gifts-it is 100% cotton with a nice drape and feel for me.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:33AM
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Typically I agree with the 100% cotton comments, and I buy as nice a fabric as i can find. But last year I did that retirement quilt using old shirt fabrics - some of it was oxford cloth and some was from old Hawaiian shirts. It turned out great and made a lovely quilt; I was very pleased with it.

And on baby quilt and comfort quilts lately I've been using Minky as the backing. It could not be softer and more cuddly even though it's a cotton/poly blend. I like it and will continue to use it on some quilts.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:45AM
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Broadcloth can be pure cotton. I've used it for things like kid's play clothes and always got 100% cotton broadcloth. Broadcloth can also be poly/cotton mix or even wool! I used 100% cotton broadcloth in a quilt I made and really wasn't thrilled in the outcome either, but I think it is because it has a different 'hand' to it than quilter's cotton and I didn't like the way the two came together. Had I used ALL broadcloth, I may have liked it.

I really would HATE to confine my quiltmaking to only 'quilters' cotton. I have some cuts of exquisite raw silk my mother brought back with us from Japan. It is earmarked for a special quilt. If you can even find it at your fabric stores, look at the price tag. I'm not 'getting rid of my junk, or where I can't afford to use something nice'. Ditto the yards of 100% wool I've also set back for a heavy quilt. Last I saw, it's running upwards of $26 a yard. I also am planning a quilt using courduroy, because I want one with textural interest.

I have my deceased father's flannel shirts I am saving for a quilted flannel throw. I shall feel like every time I put it over my shoulders......he is hugging me once again. I also have saved his neckties for a quilted silk wallhanging.

Yes, I've made jeans quilts too and my g'son loves his and it's never off his bed.

I actually understand what some of you are saying about a pure cotton quilt and the feel and look it has. I can appreciate it as well. But, I qualify that statement by saying I appreciate it for what it is and that speaks to it's a modern interpretation of what a quilt has to be by today's standards.

I have a quilt section with the date 1918 embroided in hanging on my sewing room wall. I absolutely promise you the materials range from gabardines, to silks, to shirtings, to wools and speaks volumes of an era frozen in time. To me that exempflifies a folk art.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:16AM
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My preference is 100% cotton.....


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:46AM
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I have some poly/cotton blends left over from making clothes and I use them occasionally in quilts, but I find more and more I just put those pieces in a bag to go to Goodwill.

I have used flannel (which is usually 100% cotton) and regular cotton together, mostly b/c I don't like sewing with flannel alone. The pieces stick together and I have a really hard time lining things up correctly.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:49AM
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I guess I'm a throw-back to an older generation of quilter - I use any fabric that is a nice fabric. I avoid ones that are too thin or that I just find 'ugly' - but even Rosa's recent posting of her 3-D pinwheels shows there is a place for thin fabrics! So I've used many mixed blends and fabrics other than cotton. I usually wash these first so I can see how they hold up and any shrinkage difference happens before construction. I love looking at what my relatives made during the Great Depression and how thrifty and creative they were to take simple, plain things and make them beautiful. If I have the chance, I get cotton, but I am simply not in a position to afford quilt shop prices and so I have to be more creative in my materials. I have not used knits or 100% polyesters, and cringe at a crazy quilt from the 30's-40's that a relative repaired with 70's polyester knit. I don't use any fabric without regard to color - instead I work really hard to try and figure out what 'dance partners' a homely fabric needs to make something beautiful. Sometimes I fail!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:38AM
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While I do prefer 100% cotton, I will use a piece of a blend is it works or if the project is really scrappy. I make sure that all "other" fabrics are cut up very small. I worry more about how it feels, but if the piece is really small, it won't matter too much.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:51AM
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I'm with Teresa, I don't eliminate a fabric because it isn't pure cotton. I have made some "texture" quilts that contained all kinds of fabrics. I do, however, try to use all of one type of fabric in a quilt when I can. I have used up lots of poly-cottons in quilts for pets and camping.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:44AM
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100% cotton is fine for a number of quilt projects but it's not the only kind of fabric I will use. I do try when using other types of fabric to stay in the same family of fabrics it just makes cleaning easier as well as construction.
I do like doing Victorian style crazy quilts which means mixing a variety of fabrics and textures.
I will use what's on hand if the color works and it fits my vision I have for the quilt.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:14PM
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I have, and I usually regretted it, LOL.

Of course, in crazy quilts, anything goes, but I don't (and never will) make those. Too much handwork for me.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:18PM
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I stick with cotton quilting fabrics but other fabrics have their places in clothing and bags.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:29PM
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My first quilt was a mix of poly/cotton and cotton woven fabric mainly because the selection was very limited and I wasn't informed but that quilt has held up very well over the 30 yrs of it's existance.
That said I do prefer 100% cotton woven but use others if the situation calls for it or it's a color that "works".
Fibers come in all types of weave and I feel that there may be comfusion on this point, as there is also a big variation on the wt. of the thread used in the weave, resulting in the differences in texture or hand of a fabric. Fibers can be cotton, polyster, nylon, silk, wool etc. , some work better in quilts then others but I try and keep an open mind but prefer to be consistant with which is used.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:08PM
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