Saturday, July 11, 2015

Considering Fabrics: Cotton and Linen

I've been quite busy sewing with 100% quilting cotton these days which brings  me to a bit of chit chat about fabrics. I often run across comments here and there that all quilting cottons are stiff and therefore make for poor clothing, and thus, poor anything. Actually, anyone who finds stiff quilting fabrics should ban them from the sewing stash completely! They are not good quality at all. Sadly the poor quality cottons are most often (but not always) found at JoAnn's and Hancocks and WalMart. Quilting stores (most often) carry the best and most luscious quilting fabrics available. That is one reason why they cost a bit more. Also these happen to be small businesses but this also means I am getting professional help and friendly help too. (I'm getting really tired of the big companies pushing for  employees to rush us through the check out line. Also the big fabric companies tend not to hire seamstresses because they are over qualified. Yes, I've met a seamstress who was denied a job because of her great talent by one of the big fabric stores. And sadly, no one in my local big fabric stores seems to know anything about sewing anymore.) Sometimes these stores do have great fabric. I haven't shared yet, but I have bought some of Gertie's lovely line of vintage fabrics at JoAnn's so I do applaud JoAnn's for that, however I did have to drive for miles out of my way to get it because my local JoAnn's does not carry it.  Hancock used to carry so many luscious fabrics that I stocked up every season like I did with JoAnn. Thankfully I did that because those fabrics now fill my fabric closet for me to pull from to sew modern clothing for me and my daughter. The one length of fabric that I loved was from Hancock a few years ago where the gal cutting the fabric sort of criticized me by asking, "Do you *really* want 5 yards of fabric?" Yes! And it has since been all used up!  I am so glad I have that fabric stash because there is so little to find in the local big fabric stores today. In the end, not all fabrics are created equally so do be aware that there are good quality cottons out there, that are lovely and soft and drapey!

Quilters actually look for soft drapey cottons for their quilts. Yesterday I was working with stunning quilting fabric from the Jinny Beyer line. (Many other lines have stunning quilting fabrics as well, but this is an example and the ones I've most recently worked with.) I first "met" her years ago on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson back when she was living in Australia. With this summer's quilting Row by Row shop hop, I stumbled upon her store in my backyard. I had no idea she now lived in Virginia! Jinny's work is so fabulous that she was entered into the Quilting Hall of Fame! Her shop is wonderful! Her fabrics are a delight to work with! Her row was fun to make! You can take a sneak peak of all my work with fun quilting cottons on my facebook page that is linked in the right side bar.

Linen is another wonderful fabric that I use a lot in both modern sewing and especially in my historic sewing. I recently ran across this fun youtube video from the Clark County Historical Society showing early 19th century reenactors working with linen, from plant to fabric. Enjoy!  

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