Choosing The Right Fabric 100% Cotton Quilting Tips

cotton

Choosing The Right Fabric 100% Cotton

Quilting tips you can use Quilts can be made from a variety of fabrics, the most usual being cotton. They can be made with silk, wool, cotton blends, cotton jersey, velvet, and any other fabric, but 100% cotton has been the traditional choice for quiltmakers for several reasons. Cotton is breathable, holds a crease well and it’s easy to sew. There is a wide array of medium weight cotton fabrics for quilts in a great variety of colors and patterns.

Cotton-polyester blends feel slippery and often times will scorch when pressed with an iron hot enough to shape a quilt block. Silks, velvets and wool are delicate and require dry cleaning. All of these are considerations make 100% cotton the best choice for making quilts. Of course, you are investing considerable time and effort in making a quilt, so buy the best cotton fabric you can afford. Check for sales and discontinued fabric lines to find first quality cotton at affordable prices.

Start Somewhere

When choosing fabric for your quilt, let your taste be your first guide. You can start by selecting one fabric you love and coordinate the rest of the fabrics with the colors of the one you picked.

A quilt needs a variety of fabrics, different in scale and color to make it interesting; a mix of light and dark colors, large, medium and small prints and solids make a quilt visually appealing.

The main fabric of a quilt is called “focus fabric”. It can be a large scale print, or a strong color. When you settle on a fabric that will work as the focus, then it is easy to choose other fabrics that match or contrast the focus fabric and the background. Backgrounds are traditionally small prints or solid light colors. A background helps unify the other prints used in the quilt and gives the eye a place to rest. Black has become a favorite background for bright, saturated vivid colored cottons like batiks.

Find Outside Help

A safe way to choose fabric for your quilt is to buy fabrics from the same collection. The manufacturers of quilting cotton coordinate the fabrics within a line, so if you are unsure, it might be a feasible option until you feel more confident. Ask for advice when buying fabric at the quilt shop. The salespeople often times are quilters themselves and they’ll be glad to offer assistance and point out choices that will work for your quilt. Browse online, read quilting books and magazines for inspiration.

Color is Key

Consider the feel you want to give your quilt. If you are sewing a quilt for a child, bright, contrasting colors will make it appealing to a child’s taste. Think of the room where the quilt will be displayed and coordinate the fabrics you purchase with the colors of the furnishings. Become familiar with the color wheel and with color theory. Complimentary colors are exciting and add vibrancy and energy. A monochromatic color combination is safe and soft, but can be boring if not enough contrast between dark and light exists. Triadic color combinations are versatile.

Aim for Contrast

One of the pitfalls many quilters fall into when choosing fabric for their quilts is to buy within the “safe zone” of medium hues. They are necessary as bridges between darks and lights, but on their own they don’t offer enough contrast and make quilts feel bland. When you’ve chosen the bolts of fabric, pile them up on the shop counter and step away and take a good look. Is there enough contrast in color and print size? Are some of the light fabrics you chose reading more as medium shades than light? This is the right moment to make changes. It is best to take a little extra time to choose the right fabric than it is to realize that one of the fabrics you brought home isn’t quite what you wanted once you’ve started sewing your quilt.

Keep Fabric On Hand

Don’t buy fabric for the sake of buying fabric unless you love it. And if you do buy fabric without a project in mind, purchase at least a yard or even more. It is very frustrating to pull a fabric out of the stash just to realize it isn’t enough for the project you were considering using it for. Fabric collections don’t last long in quilting stores, so don’t count on being able to find more a year after you bought it. However, just like a painter needs to have paint to create a masterpiece, a quiltmaker needs to have fabric. If you are starting out, build a small stash. When you are ready to sew a quilt, choose a fabric from your stash and start planning the rest according to your taste. Consider joining a fabric club to add variety to your stash. Some of the fabrics might be out of your comfort zone, but they can always be cut into charms and used for trading with other quilters or for scrap projects.

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