When I was a little girl, I had the softest quilt that my grandma made me. It was soft and fluffy patchworkI I loved it so! Now when I go to Joannes and feel the fabrics, they are just not soft to me. Is it bc they havent been washed yet? I want to make my kids full size quilts for their beds. What would be the softest fabric I could use? I also want to make the quilt a bit fluffy, would that just be fluffy batting inside or what else would I use? Also, are there any good books on it? I have a regular sewing machine but would also like to learn to hand quilt....Do I need a teacher to really learn?
Softest Fabric for Quilting?
For hand quilting, you might start with some online tutorials, and see if you need more help.
What might make a nice, soft quilt is some good flannel. Pre-wash before you start, and it will get softer with each wash. But regular quilting fabrics do soften up over time, with washing. You could also try doing the quilt top with regular fabric, and instead of doing batting+backing, use a super soft and fluffy plush material--I have seen that on a lot of baby quilts on etsy lately. Solid quilting makes it hard to have a thick, fluffy blanket. What you might do instead if you want it that way is to tie it off, with larger spaces between the ties.
I am a 'beginner' quilter, but I notice there are different types of flannel.
I have some from a quilt shop that is so soft. I also have wool that I purchased from a quilt shop – it is really soft once washed.
I recently purchased flannel at Joanne’s...their quilting flannel is softer, thicker, and more expensive than their regular flannel.
The icky feeling you're getting is one of two things - either the finishing spray they put on the fabric, which may contain nice things like formaldehyde, or it's cheap fabric.
Cheap fabric feels icky because it's poorly woven with irregular threads. You're feeling the gaps between the threads, the lumps in the thread, and the overall poor quality.
Fabrics are sprayed after manufacture, most especially foreign-made fabrics, in order to keep down insect munching and to basically minimize 6 or 8 legged hitch-hikers on transport over here. They also put a finish on them to make them feel nice(r). This spray is basically a chemical cocktail you want to wash off the fabric as soon as you get it home so that it doesn't irritate your respiratory system, your skin, or your children. Wash the fabric - the way you would after you make it into something - when you bring it home, before you sew with it.
For cottons and stable knits, use either warm or hot water with detergent. Don't use fabric softener right away because that just puts more chemicals on the fabric and you're trying to get rid of the ones already on there. Dry at medium to high heat. Repeat.
For diaper fabrics including bamboo viscose, wash on HOT and dry on HIGH with detergent. Repeat at least one time, preferably twice. Bamboo doesn't reach full absorbency for 5-6 washings, so you're actually saving yourself time.
For other fabrics - nylons, washable wool, polyester, etc., follow the manufacturer's directions.
Wash as directed, and do it twice, so that the fabric will be not only thoroughly clean, but also will do any shrinking that is going to happen before you make the clothing or project instead of after you make it into something special. Shrinking after making it up can be downright inconvenient and irritating, especially if you use different fabrics from different manufacturers that shrink at different rates.
There are fabrics made in the USA, but they require some seeking out. Most of what you find today in the fabric stores and online is made out of the USA, even the fabrics made by major designers like Kaufmann, Michael Miller, Red Rooster, and so on. Don't assume that because it's an American designer that the fabric is made here.
Connecting Threads has cotton fabrics made in the USA. They have decent prices and their inventory is steadily increasing. Here's a list of some fabrics made in the US - don't be surprised at the small number. Making it out of the country is a lot cheaper because foreign labor doesn't demand a living wage - or what they consider a living wage is far, far less than what we consider as being enough to live on. They have much lower standards of living and their housing/food/clothing isn't regulated to death like ours is.
For quilting, the best fabric is 100% cotton. Get the good stuff, not the dollar a yard. If you can afford the quality stuff like you get at quilt shops, $6 a yard and higher, you'll do better than if you get the cheap fabric. It will be softer and last a lot longer as well as being easier to sew on. Here are some places that have lower prices on good quality fabric:
I hope this helps.
Trisha in MO
There are lots of online resources for quilting. Google "beginner quilting" and see what you find.
Quilter's Cache has hundreds of block patterns and detailed instructions on how to put them together. http://www.quilterscache.com/
Start with a four patch or nine patch quilt, something easy you can do and feel a sense of accomplishment. Move on from there.
Tying a quilt is much easier than hand quilting. Hand quilting takes a lot of time and concentration. I've hand quilted two larger quilts so far and am working on another. They seem to take forever sometimes. Of course it depends on the size.
Here are instructions for tying a quilt: http://www.connectingthreads.com/tutorials/How_to_Tie_a_Quilt_Tutorial__D7.html
Batting comes in low loft and high loft. If you want things really fluffy, you'll be better off tying the quilts because machine quilting will be tough with a thicker quilt.
I hope this helps.
Trisha in MO