Have you ever wondered why 100% cotton fabric is the fabric of choice by most quilters? There are three main reasons why this is so.
*1 - Cotton is easily washed
*2 - Cotton withstands repeated washing
*3 - Cotton doesn't pill
In the 1970s quilting became fashionable again. Finding 100% cotton woven fabric suitable for quilt making was unfortunately difficult because there was not a very good range on the market. I remember my eldest sister became interested in making quilt wall hangings at this time. Like most quilters my sister had to use some cotton blended fabrics, the most common one being polyester cotton.
In quilted wall hangings this was not a big problem. But in bed and lap quilts this certainly over time proved to be problematic. There were benefits to polyester cotton blends being used in quilt making but as you can see below the problems were quite significant to a quilters end result.
Benefits to Using Polyester Cotton
* Usually cheaper to buy
* Wide color & print selection
* Wrinkle resistant
* No ironing needed after prewashing
Drawbacks to Using Polyester Cotton
* Often permanent press finished so tended to lift
* Unable to iron flat
* Lower thread count meant fabrics were a bit sheer
* Sheer fabrics allowed seam allowances to show through
* Fabrics pill
* Some battings pushed their fibers through and these showed
As quilting became more popular, and well known quilters began working with manufacturers designers, the range of 100% cotton quilting fabric available on the market grew.
This unfortunately doesn't mean that all 100% cotton quilting fabric is of the same quality.