Majority of quilts are made from cotton quilting fabrics, and I cannot stress the importance of learning the characteristics of fabric before you begin washing or cutting the fabric. We are going to take a look at the different threads and grains as well as other relevant information you should know about fabric. Many people don’t know the importance of how to check fabric before purchasing it.
Firstly you need to know about fabric grain which refers to the way threads are arranged. When cutting your fabric into patches in relation to the grain, you can produce quilting blocks that are flush and easy to assemble or you can cut patches that just won’t fit perfectly, due to not being cut on the grain.
There are several grain components when it comes to quilting fabrics such as warp threads which are also known as long threads that are stretched on a loom and secured. This is then considered as the fabrics lengthwise grain. These threads are continuous along the length of the meters that come off the roll. In addition there are other types of threads such as weft threads which are woven back and forth and these threads make up the fabrics crosswise grain. These weft threads are found perpendicular to the warp threads which are found along the entire length.
Then there is a straight grain as well as crosswise Quilting Fabric grain that are both referred to as straight grain. The bound edges that run along the outermost lengthwise grain are known as selvages. Salvages are formed when weft threads change direction during the weaving process. When fabrics are manufactured the fabric is tightly woven around a half inch from the selvages, which keep the edges stable while the fabric is on the roll.
Quilters normally cut their fabric along a straight grain which is termed as a bias cut. A fabric bias runs at a forty five degree angle to the straight grains. Any fabric that is bought for quilting should be pre washed. This is one way of not getting any surprises when you wash you completed quilt for the first time. In particular if you are using cotton fabrics such as vivid colours, reds, and purples as these colors have a tendency to bleed, meaning the dye runs.
If you have completed your quilt and then wash it for the first time, there is a chance that some of the fabrics may bleed which will run into the other colors and spoil your quilt. So before cutting your fabrics, pre wash them. This will prevent any nasty surprises. Whatever you do make sure your fabrics are stable before using them to quilt with.