Fabric Store Field Trip (First Quilt, Step 3)

I can’t bring myself to actually buy fabric for my first-ever quilt. Putting down hard cold cash is such a commitment. And entering a fabric store as the guileless, eye-batting quilt virgin that I am, I may end up with a real schmuck (yards of polyester? cordoroy?). So, I’m settling for a noncommital trip to the fabric store–a lunch with the fabric store, not dinner.

One thing I learned: fat quarters don’t have anything to do with Mardi Gras (I imagined Fat Tuesday plus French Quarter). They are quarter-yards of fabric, usually 18″ x 22.”

Some things I still don’t get: Brigit and other quilters out there, what do you use for backing? And where do you buy it? My pattern recommends unbleached cotton muslin, but I’m not sure that makes sense for my quilt. What do you suggest?

Batting–where do you buy cotton batting? Is poly just too grody? (And is that how you spell grody?)

5 thoughts on “Fabric Store Field Trip (First Quilt, Step 3)

  1. You can get cotton batting, but I would recommend the poly. It’s great to be all natural, but you have to do a very tight quilting pattern with cotton batting to not have it bunch up and get clumpy when you go to wash the quilt, negating all your hard work.

  2. Love the fabric! Backing is really just the same as a quilt top but simpler. You can use all solid, but a lot of quilters use some scraps or a piece of one of the prints in the back. So, you trim the selvage off the edge and then just stitch together to get the size. Your backing should be at least 3 inches larger all around than your top. (This allows you to align your sandwich neatly. When the sandwich is all done, you trim off the extra.)
    As to batting I have to disagree with Jess. I have only ever used cotton, so maybe I don’t know what I am missing, but I haven’t found that my quilts get bunchy. My quilts lines are at least an inch apart–I don’t really like tight quilting. I use the batting sold at purl (dream request) and I recommend the lightest weight. It makes for a very nice weight quilt and it is easier to sew as a first quilt. Maybe it depends on the quality of the cotton batting? I have had excellent results with that brand. I hope that is the fabric you are going to use!

  3. I have to tell you I enjoyed reading your blog this morning. You have quite a few wonderful ideas.
    Answering your question on backing and batting.. Backing can be anything pieced together or kept whole to end up a bit larger than your quilt. I prefer all cotton as most quilters do but have used fleece, poly, silk, and a mixture. I have even used a clean old cotton sheet. My favorite way (the least amount of work), is to buy it at the quilt store…. extra wide fabric… comes 118″ wide if needed. You just buy the width you need (the 118″ is usually plenty for the length).
    For the batting I agree with Brigit. I love cotton, love the feel of a quilt as it ages with an all cotton batt. Since I quilt my own quilts on my Pfaff, I like the thinnest cotton I can get (this way I can squeeze the quilt under the sewing arm). If you don’t want to quilt it close and just want to tie your quilt, then having a poly or cotton/poly batt will be better. Poly is fluffier. It all comes down to the look you want. I like the old fashioned wrinkles that the quilts before the 60’s had.
    Good luck with you quilting.. I’ll be following to see how it comes along.
    PS. I’m doing an 8-pointed star quilt also. How’s yours coming?

    • Hi Deb,

      This is Brigit. Thanks for this great information. It’s so interesting to learn how other people do things. I love that there is no one right way to make a quilt. There is a post on the blog with my finished eight-point star quilt. It was the most ambitious quilt I’ve made so far. I usually quilt in a diamond pattern, but for this one I stitched in the ditch. I really enjoyed not drawing all those quilting lines, but I had a little trouble with puckering. What kind of fabrics are you using?

      Thanks for following along!

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