Fabric Quality – Is There REALLY a Difference?

You may have heard that buying fabric for quilting from a big box store is a bad idea. It is said that the quality of fabric is much poorer than what you can purchase at your LQS (Local Quilt Shop). Is that really true? Why?

DSC01984First, let me say that I generally purchase the bulk of my fabric either from my LQS or from a large online store. I know their quality to always be high, their service marvelous, and prices fair. With that being said, quite often I will purchase fabrics for quilt backings that are on sale or at a good price at my local Hobby Lobby. Here’s why.

From my own experience, I have found big box store cottons to be thinner than the same fabric purchased at my LQS. They are often of a smaller thread count, but higher in starch/finishing products. I don’t like the treatment that is put on fabrics to make them appear to be of higher quality. It bothers my allergies, and after washing the fabric is considerably more flimsy than before. However, I have also had very good luck purchasing Bali Cottons at Hobby Lobby. I have found them much less expensive and of the same quality as I can purchase locally. I have used them on the front and back of my quilts and been very happy with them.

There is a large discussion on this topic at http://www.fabrics.net/cotqual.asp. Here’s the question that was posted:

“My question has to do with fabric quality. I am looking for resources on how to determine differences between fabrics and is there really any difference. Why is fabric so much higher priced at quilt stores but less so at the chain fabric stores. Is there really any difference. Sometimes the prints are exactly the same and the manufacturer on the end of the bolt is the same. Can you help me with this question or suggest resources? thank you so much.”

Please visit the website to read all the great comments that have been left. What has been your experience? Please do share your thoughts!

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