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How are Joann’s fabrics for quilting?

bartleby | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all,
I am beginning quilter wondering about the quality of Joann’s cotton solids.  Do they wash well/last long?  I am curious about why they are so much less expensive than the fabrics I find at quilt stores.  Do you pay for what you get here– or are Joann’s cotton fabrics just a great buy?  Thanks for the info– B


  1. Alexandra | | #1

    I know that WalMart has quilting cotton in the same patterns as quilt shops but the fabric has a lower thread count and therefore they can sell for less.  Obviously it won't stand up to wear as well.  That may be the same case with Joannes.  This is one of the reasons I stopped doing exchanges and round robins.  Why do all the labour with cheap fabric, some people just don't get it.

  2. Elisabeth | | #2

    I don't quilt but I have made lots of scrub tops for my daughter, many of them from bargain Joann's quilting fabric. We can't resist a $3 scrub top and the prints are cute. The quality of the fabric is, well, ok. Not great, but ok. It washes fine, the colors haven't faded, and we haven't seen any pilling or other wimpy fabric type wear.

    You could use the Joann's stuff as an inexpensive way to experiment and practice. It handles ok and the finished piece will be satisfactory and pretty. And use the good stuff that is sold in quilting stores maybe for something small at first to get a feel for it and then later for serious pieces that you want to last forever. Working with a really good cotton is a dream, it does elegantly what you ask it to do and the colors are superb. Good cotton has a silky feel and even sounds different when you run your hand over it. The prints tend to be more regular and not skewed on the grain, skewing can make it hard to cut and match right. Good cotton presses better too.

    A less expensive cotton with lower thread count often will have sizing on it to give it some body. That will wash out when you prep your fabric so occasionally you might be surprised at how different something acts after a good wash and dry. It also may shrink quite a bit. The good stuff is more predictable.

    Have fun with your quilting adventures. I am in awe of people who can piece colors and patterns making a design that dances to the eyes.

  3. DixieQ | | #3

    My theory is to buy the best you can afford.  Yes LQS have high quality fabrics but how many can afford $10+/yd.  I do buy JoAnn fabrics..........just depends on the item.  I also buy LQS fabrics.  You might find this article interesting http://www.rosiescalicocupboard.com/ChainStore.html

    There is another quilting forum at http://forums.about.com/ab-quilting/start/  which you might helpful.

  4. louise | | #4

    Hi Bartleby

    I am not a quilter, but my mom is. I have two beautiful quilts from her, my son has three.  This is what I have learned that a beginning  quilter needs to know about fabric from a users standpoint.

    Quilt shops have beautiful fabrics, often with lovely deep colours.  If you use 100% cotton goods, dark blues are particularly prone to fading.  If you are planning to wash your quilt even a couple of times a year, go with polyester/cotton it is much more durable.  The bargain yardages from shops like Fabricland or other big box fabric stores work well and stand up to hard use.

    My sampler quilt was made in 1984 and is 100% hand stitched.   It is still going strong.  I flip it every time I change the bed, alternating the shadow quilted bottom with the appliqued top.  I wash it about every 18 months because little ones, big ones and pets are not allowed on the quilt, it gets folded down for other than sleeping use.  If you have more than one quilt, sew a complimentary bolster pillow that snaps or buttons to close and store your quilt on your bed as an accessory while not in use.  The storage breathes and is ready to hand, it also keeps out light, another big enemy of fibre arts.

    Just to high-light the other side of the use discussion.  Mom made my nieces beautiful 100% cotton quilts for their 8th birthdays (they are now 10 & 14).  My sister-in-law washes them monthly, and the girls play and sit on the quilts.  They were 100% cotton fabric and they are in shreds, so consider fabric strength as well as quality and the end user.  You are right- a hand made quilt is a lot of work, in addition to fabric quality, use will play a big part in how long it lasts.  My son's quilts by-the-by are in good shape, a few squares have torn, but they were sentimental fabric choices which were really too fragile for a quilt but they were from dresses I wore the year he was born etc etc.

    Good Luck!  I envy quilters, they make magic

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