Modern Quilt Group
Free Tutorial - Testing Fabrics

Why do we recommend cotton fabrics?

Well, all sorts of reasons, starting with the most obvious - it's just so much easier to work with cotton.
Yes, those second-hand shirts are cheap, and granny's offcuts are deliciously free, and you hate to waste anything..

But, if you want nice precise patchwork, easy to make, to press, to wash, to sew, and to use, it really has to be cotton. If you go to your local quilt shop (you do support your local shop?) you will see a most delightful, various and irresistible selection of yummy fabrics, and you can be pretty sure they will all be of a similar weight, content, and quality...

On the other hand, miscellaneous scrap and pre-owned fabrics can be quite usable if you know what they contain.

So, gather a few scraps, a lighter or a match, and a bowl of water. Cut a sliver of your fabric and SET FIRE to it. (Now you know why the water) If you can, hold the bits in a pair of pliers to save your fingers. Work over the bowl of water...

Cotton burns quite slowly, smells like smoke, and smoulders gently when blown out. It leaves a soft grey ash which is powdery.

Like so...

Synthetics (probably polyester in anything you might consider using) burns fast with a bright sparkly flame, gives of stinky black smoke, and leaves a hard crunchy edge when extinguished

Now, this polycotton stuff is cheap, and can be pretty, and is everywhere. But, it presses badly (and can melt under the iron), is really hard to piece accurately, and is not hard-wearing (it makes little "pills" on the surface when used). Yes, I don't doubt that many of you can manage it, but nothing beats cotton for pleasure and long-lastingness..

And, a final thought - what if that poly quilt gets too close to the fire?