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Using Alternative Fabrics for Patchwork & Quilting

Think you can only use Quilting Cotton for Patchwork and Quilting? Think again.

We have been very lucky that the highly experienced quilter Kim Porter of Worn and Washed Fabrics has been able to have a stroll around FG Headquarters and tell us about the alternative fabrics she would use in her next patchwork and quilting projects. Now, if you aren't aware of Kim's work (where have you been?), roughly 20 years ago she starter to use recycled fabrics to make bundles of co-ordinated fabrics cut and ready to make unique patchwork quilts.

The idea came about because Kim wanted to create soft and cosy quilts,  and thought cottons that had previous lives as clothing or bedding would be the bestway to create that soft and lived-in feeling.

 

So given all her experience with using alternative fabrics for Patchwork & Quilting, Kim is the perfect person to expand our horizons on what fabrics from our  dressmaking collection you can use for patchwork and quilting. 

 

Using Fabric Scraps for Quilting

Kim’s ethos on patchwork comes from the idea that it was originally a craft developed as a way of creating something useful from household linens and cotton scraps, so she really does use a whole host of old fabrics in her quilts; anything and everything is considered. 

Meaning if you are a Fabrics Galore regular for dressmaking and have plenty of off-cuts this is a great way to use them and start your patchwork and quilting journey.  

 

Dressmaking Fabrics You Can Use in Quilting

So, although some of these fabrics are from our dressmaking collection, any off-cuts from a dressmaking project can be used to form part of a truly unique quilt. Throw the rule book away and use textured fabric like needlecord, wool, cotton blends and lightweight denims or plaids to make up a cosy quilt. The only think Kim really sticks to is using natural fabrics: cotton, linen and wool are best as over time the washing will soften them and make a quilt even cosier.  

Blend Colours and Textures for Patchwork

Colour is key, and Kim thinks some weight issues can be fixed with a few good washes to soften the fabrics and by choosing the right colours to help blend the textures. 

Kim believes that if the colours work together then you can make a quilt from it and using a carefully selected colour palette is the key to successfully mixing a variety of medium and light-weight textures for your next quilting project. By using this technique, it opens up the variety of fabric you can use for patchwork to include wool and cotton blends and various washed linens. 

 

Hand Quilt when Blending Different Fabrics

The other key to mixing the different types of fabric according to Kim is to hand quilt where possible, as it seems to blend fabrics in a way machine quilting doesn't. 

Most of the fabrics we have looked at are 100% cotton like many of our usual patchwork and quilting fabrics and once washed are just as easy to work with. The other great advantage of using dressmaking cloths for quilting is they tend to be 150 cm wide making them far more useful as backing pieces. 

 

Can you use Brushed Cottons in Quilting?

Brushed cotton has the advantage of already being soft (for details on that have a look at our Best Fabrics for Winter blog), and being 100% cotton are easily slipped into any patchwork quilt design. And according to Kim, mixed together with plain denims or other slightly heavier fabrics, they create a home-spun look.  

Brushed cotton fabric quilt  

The plaids in particular are a great way to creating a more traditionally masculine quilt too, and could be mixed in with some cotton from pre-loved plaid shirts to make a very personal finish. 

 

Using Wool and Cotton Mixes in Patchwork

 

Now these are not traditional patchwork and quilting fabrics and are a slightly bigger step away from the usual cottons but again according to Kim - once washed a few times they could be mixed in with other cottons to create a shabby chic effect.  Now if you aren’t sure of what Kim means by shabby chic some examples of our own cotton and linen blend fabrics might help. 

Cotton and Linen Blend Fabric for Quilting     Soft pink cotton and linen mix fabric for quilting

As the lovely soft pink and blue hues are easily mixed in and a dream to hand quilt.  They would also work perfectly with some of the floral Swiss knots to make a very pretty but still soft and cosy patchwork quilt, a good example of how different textures can work together if the colour palette is similar. 

 

 

Is Double Gauze Good for Patchwork?

If the wool and cotton mixes were a step too far maybe the 100% cotton Double Gauze will win you over.

Again, they were a particular hit with Kim on her trip to FG headquarters. Especially as they are soft and now come in a variety of patterns. Some of the blue star print has even made it into Kim's next quilting project too. 

These double gauzes make a delightful addition, would work with lots of different quilting fabrics  like shirting, stripes, or checks, the starts in particular mixed in small pieces would be an eye-catching addition to any quilt. 

 

Double Gauze Patchwork Fabrics

 

Is NeedleCord Fabric Good for Patchwork?

Now bear with Kim on this one, a very fine needle cord could be the perfect way  to add some texture to your quilt. And again, works well with our brushed cottons and are already soft too. But before you think we have gone mad, we are only talking about fine needle cords.

Teaming the needle-cords with some brushed cotton plaids would really add to a  home-spun, log cabin feel and the added texture would make a snuggly cosy quilt.  So maybe if you have some scraps left over from a dressmaking project,  be daring and add it to your quilting project. 

 

Where to Get Inspiration for your next Patchwork Project

If this has got you inspired, and you are looking for more inspiration for using different fabrics in your patchwork and quilting project, check out our recent blog on the best UK patchwork influencers and follow Kim on Instagram @kimporterfabrics.

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