Quality fabrics usually don’t pill. If you’ve spent a month making a quilt or sewing an article of clothing, fabric that pills after the first wash will leave you deflated. Also, the dying techniques in low quality fabrics are different than the dying processes in fine fabrics. Color bleeding and fading are prominent in cheap fabrics. Never fun!
Try to shop at quilt studios you trust. You’ll become familiar with several fabric brand names that consistently produce excellent results: Robert Kaufman, Moda, Maywood Studios, Figo, Benartex, Susybee, and Northcott are just a few.
We do extensive research to ensure our fabrics are high quality, but we go even further. It’s important to us that our fabrics are not manufactured with harsh chemicals or formaldehyde. We buy from United States based manufacturers and countries abroad that produce the highest quality fabrics.
So how can you tell the difference in fabrics? If shopping in a brick and mortar fabric shop, hold the fabric toward a light. If you can see through the fabric, most likely, the weave is loose and not quilters’ quality. You’ll also notice the way in a fabric feels–smooth and soft. High quality fabrics have a tighter weave, which usually results in a softer drape.
Most quality fabrics (prints) range from $11-$14 a yard. These fabrics are standard width (42″-44″). Quality solids range from $9-$11 a yard. There’s nothing like sewing with nice quality fabrics that hold up, keep their colors and drape like a champ. Once you see and feel the difference, you’re likely to become a discriminating connoisseur of nice fabrics.