Fabric and thread are fundamental components of your sewing adventure. For me, choosing fabric and thread are one of the best parts of the process! You are choosing fabrics you (hopefully) love to be made into a design you love to create something you love. (Okay, that was a lot of love! HA!) But really, the color options are endless.
Types of fabric: Quilters sew almost exclusively with 100% cotton. Velveteen, flannel and voiles are occasionally used but good quality cotton prints are standard. Home decor or canvas fabrics are often used in bags or projects where you want something more substantial. Garment sewing introduces pretty much the rest of the fabric world. The type of fabric used for a garment depends on the garment being made and how it will be worn. I will cover this topic more in detail during the garment segment of the challenge.
How much to buy: When I first started sewing, I never knew how much fabric to buy. Since I was mostly quilting in the beginning, I bought cotton prints that I loved in random quantities. After sewing and quilting for awhile, I have developed more of a system. When I am buying a fabric I like but not necessarily for a project (also known as buying for your “stash”), I buy half yard cuts. Otherwise, I buy enough for my specific project.
Fabric organization: I use clear totes I purchased at Costco for cuts larger than a fat quarter. They are organized by color or fabric collection. I jokingly own a box I call my “Heathers box” since it contains all of my Heather Ross and Heather Bailey! (There might be a “Lizzy box” and “Carolyn box” too…) I put them in IKEA bookcases with no more than two totes stacked at a time. If you stack too many, it is harder to access the totes. For scraps, I use clear shoe boxes also organized by color. Here are a couple articles on fabric stash organization here and here.
Where to buy: You can buy fabric from chain stores, online retailers or independent fabric shops. While some chain stores have started carrying better quality quilting cottons, there can be a difference in the quality of quilting cottons found at a chain store versus an online retailer or independent fabric store. Online retailers and independent fabric stores might also have a better selection of modern prints as that can be their specialty.
What to buy: Initially, I was so attracted to very large, graphic prints. I bought those up in spades!! But when I went to work on my projects, I struggled to find complementary fabrics. The large scale prints are lost when you are piecing two inch half square triangles! 🙂 I learned to buy more blenders and small scale prints to complement my large scale print loves. If you look at entire fabric collections, you begin to see why there are small, medium and large scale prints.
Thread comes in different types, colors and sizes.
Types: There is all purpose, cotton, polyester, embroidery, vintage and more. I have heard you should use the same type of thread as your fabric (for example, cotton thread with cotton fabric, polyester with polyester, etc) I use almost exclusively cotton for quilting but I have friends who use polyester with no problem.
Colors: There is a virtual rainbow of thread colors. Some companies sell color cards such as this one from Aurifil Thread.
Sizes or Weights: The smaller number fabric “weight” means a thicker thread. If you are using a fine fabric, you will want a thinner thread. I personally sew with cotton 50 weight when I’m creating quilts. Each sewing machine can also be finicky. While one thread might work really well on one machine, it could not work as well on another. Pat Sloan prepared an excellent discussion about thread weights here. Craftsy also has a great article here.
Here is my thread collection.
It is not big (like my fabric stash!) but there is a lot of purple!
***Edited to add a great article by Sew Mama Sew about choosing thread, that you can find here.***
For this week’s challenge, we have TWO prizes so you can have TWO chances to win.
First, post a picture of your fabric stash and storage system, tell me what works (or doesn’t work) for you and tag it #LMSMbasics. A randomly chosen post will win three mini charm packs of Kona Cotton solids.
Secondly, post a picture of your thread stash, tell me your favorite go to thread color and tag your post #LMSMbasics. A randomly chosen post will win a thread pack of Aurifil. Aurifil generously donated a pack of grey thread in a variety of weights. I can not wait to try their floss! I have played with wool and stitched with the other weights.
And the winner of last week’s giveaway is…..
CONGRATULATIONS! You have won the $50 gift certificate to Connecting Threads and can buy a bunch of notions and even Tula Pink’s Moonshine fabric line!