There is a large range of quilt fabric on the market today. The best fabric for quilting is 100% cotton fabric. It can be bought on-line, from specialty quilt shops, discount retailers, market days and even school fairs.
For the quilter it is important to know the quality of the fabric you are buying and why. One of the signs of a quality fabric is its thread count. When making a quilt that will last through many years and hopefully a generation, it is very important to buy the best quality fabric. Whereas, when buying fabric to make young children's clothes, using a lesser quality fabric is fine, as it only needs to last a season.
There are tests you can do to gain valuable information about your fabric and how it will behave under differing circumstances, such as washing, sunlight etc. Often we have been told to prewash our fabrics to check for colorfastness and fabric shrinkage. What we aren't aware of is the different causes that make fabrics shrink, bleed, fade or migrate to other fabrics.
In recent years there has been a lot of information circulating about the amounts of chemicals used in the manufacturing process of fabric, especially formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals. My daughter pre washes all her daughter's new clothing before she allows her to wear it, as most of the residual chemicals left in the fabrics from the manufacturing process, will be washed out in the first wash. This certainly wasn't what I or my friends did 30 years ago.
But how does one know which fabrics have had excessive amounts of chemicals used in their manufacture or exactly how does one determine the quality of the fabric they are about to buy? Both are excellent questions that need to be answered.
There are a range of different types of 100% cotton fabrics on the market that quilters can choose from. Batik quilts are made from batik fabrics that are exquisite in their colors and designs. They are one of my favorite fabrics to use especially when doing applique. Also the other favorite 100% cotton fabric of mine is flannel, that makes up into soft, warm and cuddly flannel quilts.