Some of my earliest memories are of playing under my mother’s quilting frame, where I began learning to quilt without even realizing it. Soon, though, I was making quilts on my own, and along with that learning process came the question of where to get fabric from. Here is what I found out through trial and error.
The 4 best places to buy quilting fabric are
- Local quilting stores.
- Chain stores like Walmart or fabric and craft stores like Michaels and Joann Fabrics.
- Online fabric stores like OnlineFabricStore.com.
- Thrift stores, yard sales, and white sales.
For most folks, going to a local mom-and-pop quilting store is your best option. If you want convenience, I recommend trying The Fat Quarter Shop (Click to see their selection), an online seller of quilting fabric.
Of course, you may not need to buy at all. Our own clothes and linen closets can be a source of needed materials.
1. Local Fabric Stores
Local fabric stores are one of the better sources for quilting fabric, and they are primarily run by people who sew and are quilters themselves which makes them a great source for all the information you need when working on your quilting projects. Local fabric stores also give you the opportunity to see the fabrics and actually touch and feel those fabrics that you are considering.
Here again, this is a great way for folks who are just beginning to quilt to discover the qualities of the different fabrics and the differences in the fabrics made by the various manufacturers.
In the past, local fabric stores were the only game in town, but even though there are many more sources for fabric today, they are still a great place to visit when planning a quilting project.
2. Chain Stores Like Wal-Mart
Most Walmart superstores have, until recently, had a fabric department with a wide variety of fabrics from which to choose. Unfortunately, during the past few years, many Walmart Superstores have eliminated their fabric departments, but they still carry some pre-cut fabrics and sewing notions in their craft department.
While the fabrics in these chain stores have a more reasonable price than in most fabric stores, the fabrics are not as high in quality. But, they still have some cotton broadcloth fabric that will work for your quilts, and their sewing notions are more reasonably priced than most local fabric stores because the chain stores are able to buy in bulk and can purchase at a better price and pass the savings on to their customers.
3. Chain Fabric And Craft Stores
Other excellent sources for quilting fabric are the chain fabric and craft stores like Joann and Michaels. Both of these stores offer the best selections that you will find for good quality quilting fabrics.
Joann and Michaels both have brick-and-mortar stores with the best selections of fabrics that you can see in person and feel the texture and weight of the fabric before you buy. And a big advantage for me is the ability to lay the bolts of fabric side by side to mix and match and compare and contrast so that you have exactly what you want for your quilting project.
The selection of quilting fabrics at both types of chain stores is usually much larger than either the local fabric stores or the chain stores like Wal-Mart. In addition, they have an extensive selection of good fabric that is 100% cotton broadcloth which, even though not made specifically for quilting, is an excellent quality fabric that can be used in quilting projects.
I primarily use 100% cotton broadcloth fabrics for making quilt tops, but I normally buy quilting fabrics that are from 105” to 120” inches wide for the backing so that there is no seam on the back of the quilt.
Pro Tip: Joann Fabric has an excellent coupon program that allows some money-saving purchases. Their coupons for 50 and 60% off the price are especially useful for buying multiple yards of the same fabric that is needed for the backing.
4. Online Fabric Stores
There are now many online fabric stores that make shopping from home and having your fabrics delivered right to your door an easy way to buy quilting fabric for your next project. But, by shopping online, you don’t get to look at the fabric or touch it before buying. This, for me, is a big disadvantage.
However, when you become familiar with certain fabric manufacturers and the type and quality of fabrics that they produce, you can then be relatively confident that the quality of the fabrics that you buy online will be as you expected.
Plus, when I find fabric online that I am interested in buying, I sometimes see if I can find it locally and look at it before ordering. This has been particularly helpful for making quilts for family members who live out of state. They simply search online for the fabrics they would like, and then I find it locally to ensure it is the correct weight for what we need before the fabric is ordered or purchased locally, depending on the price.
There are many online fabric shops. In fact, there are too many to mention here, but these are a few of the online fabric businesses that I am more familiar with.
The Fat Quarter Shop
The Fat Quarter Shop has anything you could possibly want or need for all your quilting projects. They have fabrics, supplies, sewing notions, all kinds of craft books, including how-to books and pattern books, precut fabrics, quilt kits, and the list goes on and on. Plus, they sell some of the best quilting fabrics available, including Moda and Riley Blake Designs.
Joann is not only a national chain of brick-and-mortar fabric stores, but they offer online purchasing. They have a full array of all types of fabrics and sewing notions, plus the following three offerings that might interest you:
- You can purchase a fabric swatch so that you can be sure you are getting just the fabric you are looking for.
- There is bulk pricing available.
- You can order online for in-store pickup, which will save you shipping charges.
Missouri Star Quilt Co.
Missouri Star Quilt Company is one of the most respected quilting companies around, having started as a longarm quilting service that sold a few quilting supplies to becoming a leader in the quilting industry with the biggest quilting channel on YouTube, a successful brick-and-mortar quilting store in Hamilton, Missouri, and an equally successful online business specializing in all things quilting.
OnlineFabricStore has a huge selection of quilting fabrics and supplies, reasonable prices, and excellent reviews. I’ve ordered fabrics several times from this source and was pleased with the quality of the fabrics and the entire purchase process.
Quilt In A Day
This list wouldn’t be complete without adding Quilt In A Day, the website of Eleanor Burns, one of the most respected names in quilting. Back in 1978, Eleanor wrote her first quilting book and has been teaching all of us to quilt ever since. On her website, she provides everything you need to make a quilt, including tutorials on how to do each step. Take a look, you’ll be glad you did.
Spoonflower offers a large number of patterns and designs, but their specialty is that you can upload your own design and order fabric, wallpaper, and home decor in your design. They also offer excellent coupon and discount programs.
Other Sources Of Fabric For Quilting
Some other sources for finding fabric for your quilting projects include:
Occasionally you can stumble across some great fabric deals when browsing thrift stores. Often the “stash” of fabric from former quilters will end up in thrift stores at a small percentage of what it is worth.
Here again, you can find some excellent deals on quilting fabric when quilters are relocating or moving into a smaller home, and they just do not have room to take all their fabric with them.
I like to watch the ads for sales on bedding at stores like Belks and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where I have gotten some great deals on flat sheets that have a very high thread count and make excellent backing for quilts.
Your Own Closets:
Ever so often, I like to check my linen closet for sheets that I can use for a quilt backing. Or, if there is a worn spot or rip in a sheet, the rest can be cut apart to use in a quilt top.
Also, clothing that you and your family can no longer wear for whatever reason, especially if it has a tear or spot, so that it is not good as a donation to a thrift store. The rest of the garment can be cut apart to use in a quilt top.
And a tablecloth that has just one spot on it that you haven’t been able to remove. At my house, the rest of the tablecloth will have a second life as part of a quilt top.
What Is The Best Source Of Quilting Fabric For New Quilters?
New quilters are better off getting their quilting fabric from local fabric stores, chain stores like Wal-Mart, and chain fabric stores like Joann Fabrics and Michaels for the primary reason that buying in local stores allows you to see the fabric in person and touch it so that you can tell exactly what kind of fabric you are buying. It is difficult to know the quality of the fabric you are buying when shopping online. Even though I’ve been quilting for many years, I still like to see the fabric before I buy it, although I have bought some beautiful fabric of excellent quality online.
But, What Are The Best Fabrics To Use For Quilting?
I have made quilts from discarded clothing, the cheapest cotton fabric, the most beautiful Batiks available, a lot of cotton broadcloth, many kinds of flannel, and from the best quilting fabric on the market, and based on my experience, this is my list of the 3 best fabrics for quilting.
- 100% Cotton Quilters Weight Fabric- Quilting fabric made of 100% cotton, which is made for quilting, is beyond a doubt the best fabric for quilting. This fabric is much easier to work with, will hold its shape, and will make a durable quilt that will last for many years.
- 100% Cotton Broadcloth- Broadcloth is a popular fabric originally made from either cotton or wool but is now available in many blends. It is primarily used in making clothing but can be used in quiltmaking. 100% cotton broadcloth is best for quilts and is popular in quiltmaking because it is more affordable than quilting fabrics.
- 100% Cotton Flannel- 100% cotton flannel is very popular in quiltmaking, especially for baby quilts and quilts to be used in areas where the winters are very cold. One of its drawbacks is that it frays, but that flaw can be remedied by cutting it with pinking shears.
Here are three quilts I made. Don’t mind the kitty.
How Can You Tell The Quality Of Quilting Fabric?
There are several ways you can tell the quality of the fabric you are considering for quilting. Good quilting fabric will have these qualities:
- The fabric should be 100% cotton.
- It will have a high thread count. If you hold it up to the light, you should not be able to see through it. You will be able to see the light through a fabric with a lower thread count.
- It will have a smooth and silky “hand” or feel to it.
- It will probably be a little more expensive than 100% cotton broadcloth.
Important Facts About Quilting Fabric
Here are a few very important facts to keep in mind when planning a quilting project:
- Use the same type and weight of fabric for the entire quilt. Quilts with fabrics of different weights will shrink or stretch at different rates when washed.
- Use fabrics that are colorfast and will not bleed into other fabrics in the quilt after washing.
- Fabrics that are light and thin, like voile, will not be as durable in a quilt as sturdier cotton fabrics.
- Avoid using knit fabrics in quilting because they stretch so easily. If, however, you are making a t-shirt quilt, be sure to use a good fabric stabilizer.
- It is better to use the same kind of thread as the fabrics you are using.
- Any fabric can be used in making quilts, but the natural fiber fabrics like 100% cotton will handle much better and will be much more durable.
Here are articles related to quilting that you may find useful:
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss The 3 Best Types of Quilting Fabric for Looks and Durability.
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