Some Interesting Threads About Quilting Fabric

By: Trevor Kassulke

In answer to the question, what are quilting fabrics; we need to look back at the history of quilting fabrics.

During the American civil war the ladies in the South would raise funds for their soldiers by sewing and selling quilts. Well, the war went on a lot longer than anyone had anticipated and the ladies quilting changed from fundraising to bedding. In fact, it got so bad that there ended up being a shortage of quilting fabrics. Near the end of the war, people were tearing apart old mattresses and carpets in a desperate search for any kind of fiber that could be used as quilting fabric.

Back in Victorian times quilting was a pastime for the rich and pampered as they were the only ones who could afford the fancy materials being used in their quilts. One popular craze was something called crazy quilts. These quilts would sport many kinds of contrasting materials, colors and designs. So the Victorian quilters were always looking for eye-catching and outrageous quilting fabrics. It was not unusual to find velvet, silk and brocade doing duty as quilting fabrics. Years later the Victorian quilters also began introducing flannels, denims and other cottons into their crazy quilts' list of acceptable quilting fabrics.

Many of the Victorian crazy quilts are still around today and can be viewed in museums and other quilting displays. Many of them still look wonderful. The wild variety of quilting fabrics as eye catching today as they were centuries ago. Unfortunately, the one quilting fabric that did not age well was silk. If you see a crazy quilt that sports pieces of silk you will quickly notice that those pieces of quilting fabric have deteriorated quickly.

So now you know a little of the history of quilting fabrics, but what do you know about looking after your quilt.

- ever store them in plastic of any kind!
- store them in humid or hot climates. If you are comfortable then the quilt will be
- store quilts in attics or garages.
- put quilts in the dryer or hang them over a clothesline. They should lay flat between two sheets placed on the grass in the shade.

- store your quilt in a pillowcase or sheet, or roll it onto a muslin-covered tube.
- place a piece of fabric between the pillowcase or sheet and your quilt to protect it from the acids in the wood.
- twice a year, when the humidity is low and the air is blowing, air your quilt outside, out of direct sunlight.
- refold your quilt every 3-4 months so you won't make a permanent crease in it. Crumple up some acid-free tissue paper to help eliminate fold lines.
- keep your quilts away from direct light. The sun will make them fade and will age the fabric.
- repair any tears as soon as possible to help lengthen the life of your quilt.
- remove any marks immediately. Washable quilts can be cleaned with cold water. Delicate cross-stitching fabric and thread, would need to be dry cleaned by an expert.
- before you wash, test the fabric to see if the colors are going to run.
Follow those tips and enjoy your quilt a lot longer.

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