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Good Uses for Lesser Quality Fabrics

Summary

Quilting Contessa discusses some of the things you can do with lower quality quilting fabric. Yes, there are good places you can use poor quality quilting fabric.

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Good Uses for Lesser Quality Fabrics

Most of us have a quilting budget that we must try to work within, but when choosing our fabrics for certain projects it is even more important what the quality of the fabric is than for others. If the quilted project you will be making will receive lots of use, like a bed quilt, or snuggle quilt for a child that they will use for many years, you don’t want your fabric to let you down, so you must try to get the best quality possible. But there are good uses for those "lesser quality" big box store fabrics. Here are a few:

Good Uses for Lesser Quality Fabrics

 

Practice!

As quilters, we find that there are many techniques to learn both by hand and machine. Why not use some of that "bargain" fabric to try out a new technique? You can practice your free-motion quilting, try out a new block to see if you like making it, try a new form of applique, etc. You really don’t have to spend a lot to be able to try out a new technique, you may be able to just use some scraps, some inexpensive fabric from the big box store, or even something off of the "free table" from your Guild meeting. That way if you decide that you really don’t like a technique you haven’t wasted your "good fabric" on it, and if you do like the technique, you can feel comfortable making the investment in the best quality fabric you can afford to make your special quilt.

 

Make A Stitch Book

It is a great idea to use some of that lesser quality fabric as a record of how to make fancy stitches. If you are learning new hand stitches, you will need to practice them just as you practiced writing the alphabet when you were small so that you can perfect your techniques. By making a stitch guide that shows each step of the stitch, you will have a record of the steps involved with the stitch and you can even write directly on the cloth beside the stitch the name of the stitch and draw guides showing the steps that will help to remind you. Similarly, you can use some of your bargain fabric to test out the fancy stitches on your sewing machine and make notes as to the settings on the machine so that you will have a handy guide to use when you are ready for that special project. This can prove very useful if your sewing machine book is found online as many modern machines are and you are not in an area where you have a great internet connection to look it up, or your computer is in a different part of the house.

 

Teaching

Have you ever had a cute little person want to try what you are doing? If you have a small stash of bargain fabric available, this is the perfect time to help them learn a technique like how to make a Christmas ornament, a yo-yo, some doll clothes, etc. This will encourage their interest in your hobby without breaking the bank and as their skills grow, you may advance their fabric selection to a more quality product that they can use long-term.

 

For Show Only

Another perfect time to use that "less that quilt shop quality" fabric is when the project you will be making will be used temporarily for "show only". An example of this would be a small door decoration that will be in direct sunlight that will only be fused down and possibly just get a small dose of machine quilting to hold it together for a season. Or for a birthday or graduation banner that will be used only for a day or so and won’t receive much handling.

 

Final Thoughts

Remember, if you are making something that is going to receive lots of love, be washed frequently, or that you want to become an heirloom piece, this is not the time to skimp on quality, but to get the best fabric that you can use. However, if what you are making is just for practice or a very short-term use, that bargain fabric can be just what you need.

 

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Glossary

Applique
Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué


See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
Machine Quilting
Creating quilting stitches on a quilt using a sewing machine instead of sewing them by hand.
Stash
A quilter's personal collection of fabrics. Buying more fabric is adding to your stash.
Author
Quilting Contessa
Quilting Contessa is a collection of various authors around the world that have submitted articles for the QuiltingHub 'How To' quilt wiki.  These are authors that do not write enough to have their own authorship, yet provide valuable content for the site.  If you wish to submit an article, contact us on QuiltingHub.
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