When diving into the wonderful world of quilting, one of the most exciting aspects and steps to creating quilts is the fabric.
The fabric itself can tell a story and completely change the look and feel of the project depending on what material you choose.
Today, we’ll go over all the different types of quilt fabric and hopefully help answer the question, “What is the best quilting fabric?
By the end of this article, you’ll have clarity on the perfect fabric for your next project.
What Kind of Fabric Is Best for Quilting?
Quilts have been around for centuries, as early as the 14th century, and those made that long ago were luxurious and only for the wealthy.
They were made from expensive silks, cotton, and wool with intricate stitching and beading.
In the United States, quilting became popular out of necessity in the mid-1750s. Quilters used whatever fabrics were available to make quilts to keep their families warm.
Most quilts made between the 1750s to the late 1800s were crafted from old clothes, sheets, flour sacks, and other types of fabrics that were unusable for anything else.
Today, fabric selection is entirely up to the quilt designer and their “vision” for their quilt project. With the variety of fabrics available that are inexpensive and easily accessible, a quilt is more a work of art than a ragtag compilation of available scraps.
Fabric choice also depends on the use of the quilted item. For example, If you make a quilted coat, you’ll probably want to use a heavyweight fabric. But if you make a newborn’s first quilt, you may want to use something more lightweight and soft.
What Weight of Fabric Should I Use For a Quilt?
When choosing fabric for a quilt, you should keep in mind the weight of those you will use. Fabric weight is measured in GSM (grams per square meter), and the ideal fabric weight for quilts ranges between 150-320 GSM.
Quilting weight cotton measures 150-220 GSM. If you choose to use fabric heavier than 220 GSM, I strongly recommend using quilting cotton fabric along with the heavier fabrics. If you use only heavyweight materials, your quilt may be too heavy and stiff to enjoy.
Best Fabric for Quilting: 5 Excellent Fabric Choices
I will show you five excellent fabrics options that you can use to craft different types of quilted projects.
Keep in mind, every quilt project will be different, and if you have a fabric you want to incorporate into a project, go for it! Just be sure it will withstand multiple washes and wear well.
1. Quilting Cotton
It’s no secret that most quilts nowadays are made using quilting cotton. Quilting cotton is durable, soft, and the best option for most quilting applications. You can use quilting cotton for making applique pieces, quilt blocks, bags, kitchen accessories, home decor, and many other quilt projects.
Here is our Modern Lone Star Quilt made from quilting cotton.
Flannel is another popular choice because of its soft texture. It is a woven fabric that is much softer to the touch than quilting cotton. Flannel comes in many colors and patterns and is an especially great choice for rag quilts.
This image shows a rag quilt I made a couple of years ago entirely from flannel.
When thinking of gauze, most of us think of a medical dressing. But did you know it is also sold as a fabric to make clothing and other sewn items? Gauze is an open-weave cotton fabric, and you may think it’s a strange choice for a quilt, but double-layered gauze makes a beautiful, airy, lightweight quilt perfect for summer or warmer areas.
Image from Etsy shop: BullMountainBlankets
Minky is a popular type of fleece used for many applications. One of the most common uses in the quilting realm is as a quilt backing fabric. It is incredibly soft, cuddly, and warm — everything you want a quilt to be! I have used it for several baby quilts, as babies and children love the squishy, cozy texture of Minky.
Image from: WeAllSew.com
Image from Etsy Shop: SugarDoodleBoutique
5. Cotton Canvas
Cotton canvas is another woven fabric usually made of 100% cotton or mixed with some synthetic fibers. It is heavy-duty and usually water-resistant or even waterproof, which is why it’s in the “outdoor fabrics” section at your local craft store.
It’s is an excellent option if you make quilted pillows, seat covers, placemats, or other home decor items since it is sturdy and wears well. You can also make handbags and other items that may need a bit more strength than regular quilting cotton can offer.
This picture shows a bag I recently made from cotton canvas.
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Fabric is such a crucial part of the planning and execution of any quilting project, and the selection should be a fun experience.
I want to challenge you, my fellow quilters, to think outside of the box and try one of these other types of fabrics in your next quilting project. Express your creativity a little differently, and don’t forget to have fun. Happy stitching!