Choosing quilting fabrics can be complicated if you do not have a personal preference or design in mind. And it gets tougher when you try mixing different fabrics and patterns.
Stick around as I share with you the best fabric for quilting and all of our recommendations. This guide will also help you determine the benefits and disadvantages of each material.
What Is Quilting Fabric?
A quilting fabric refers to any fabric you use for producing a quilt. It’s often synonymous with 100% medium-weight quilting cotton since it’s the most widely used fabric for quilting. But wool, linen, and other materials are also quilting fabrics.
A familiar quality among these fabrics is the use of plain weave. They utilize the regular over-under basketweave pattern with more density and strength.
Good-quality quilts have a high thread count for a softer texture. They should also include the following parts:
- Binding. This refers to the long, thin fabric strip outside of the quilt.
- Quilty Top. The visible part of the quilt includes small pieces sewn together.
- Batting. The batting is the middle layer that makes the quilt thick.
- Backing. This is the lowest part of the quilt.
Quilts are often heavy because of these layers and the high thread count. Quilter’s weight cotton in itself already weighs at least 4 oz per square yard.
Best Fabrics for Quilting
Cotton isn’t the only fabric you can use for quilting. Expand your options with these seven best fabric choices for quilting.
- 100% Cotton
100% cotton is the standard of quilting fabric. Many quilters think it’s the single fabric they can use for projects because it’s the most high-quality. Aside from washing well, the Quilter’s weight cotton cuts out quickly to make quilt block production more convenient.
However, Quilter’s weight cotton also has limitations, including shrinking. This quilting fabric is shrinkable, especially if the cotton is not 100% natural.
Cheaper cotton types tend to shrink and bleed when you wash them. Soak a deep-colored fabric in water, and it will mix with the other white fabrics. That is why you should choose pure cotton with a higher thread count of 68-78.
Launder your cotton fabric first to avoid further shrinkage and bleeding later on. Completely dry it to make cutting and sewing easier.
- Home Decor Weight Cotton
Home decor weight cotton is another cotton fabric heavier than Quilter’s weight cotton. The satin-like quilting cloth is also known as cotton decorating fabric because it’s often used for home decor.
You won’t see the decorative fabric draping anywhere in your home because of its weight. But you will see it in quilted pillows, quilted bags, and throw cushions giving your house a homey feeling.
It is available in 54 inches of width, which is much bigger than other fabric yardages. Home decor weight cotton is a lifesaver for big projects that need wide fabrics. When quilting with cotton decorating fabric, use light batting to balance the weight.
- Cotton Flannel
Cotton flannel is available in different prints, solids, and colors. You can use one fabric or mix and match to make beautiful quilts.
Although it appeals to all ages, flannel is ideal for making baby quilts. It’s soft, snuggly, and heartfelt. Go to the flannel aisle of your fabric store, and you’ll notice that most of them have baby prints.
Make sure to buy authentic cotton flannel for baby use. Read the product description or the end of the bolt to know if the cloth has a mix of polyester. Beware of the mess you might make when cutting 100% cotton flannel!
Linen is openly woven, cool, and absorbent, which is why hot sleepers love it. It comes from the flax plant to create a textured fabric that is breathable and hypoallergenic.
But the open weave structure of linen makes it less sturdy than other fabrics. Poorly constructed linen can get destroyed when you machine-wash it.
Quilter’s linen is an excellent option if you’re looking for durable linen for quilting. It’s all-cotton, unlike the Essex linen, which is 55% linen and 45% cotton. It also has the same appearance as the original linen without the issues.
Voile is a sheer and lightweight cotton fabric that you can find in blouses, scarves, skirts, and dresses. The slightly transparent quilting fabric is silky and smooth. Although it’s traditionally made of cotton, voile is now 100% polyester. Others have a polycotton blend.
Fabric designers often use voile in combination with quilting weight cotton. A voile backing is typical for a quilt top, with a quilting weight cotton as the finish. This blend makes the quilt feel softer and silkier.
The only disadvantage of voile is its slippery characteristic. But you can overcome this with a finer needle and silk pins.
Wool is the perfect quilting choice for insulation. The distinct crimped quality of wool fibers helps it hold in warm air. The all-natural quilting fabric is resistant to mold, mildew, and flame.
The durable wool does not fray when you cut it compared to cotton flannel. But it’s relatively expensive. Wool is also bulkier, making sewing, carrying, and cleaning more difficult. Another downside to wool is its limited prints and designs.
Cotton vs. Quilting Cotton
Both traditional and quilting cotton are made of 100% cotton thread. But quilting cotton, or Quilter’s weight cotton, is not the same as traditional and apparel cotton.
Cotton for quilting has a higher thread count of at least 69 for a denser, stiffer weave. In terms of weight, quilting cotton is also heavier and, therefore, more durable. It’s also cheaper than apparel cotton since it’s available in widths of 45 inches.
There’s nothing like creating a unique and lovely quilt. You can expand your techniques and creativity by trying different quilting fabrics, such as voile, wool, linen, and more.
Which fabric are you using for your next quilt? Are you using the best fabric for quilting? Please leave your comments below to let us know!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics. Along the way, you’ll learn the pros and cons of each material and its best applications. And for more great tips like this, have a look at our guide to reupholstery based on your zodiac sign!