Monday, October 26, 2009
The Fabric Process
There are so many different theories and ways to prep your fabric for use in your latest project. The different techniques and ways of doing things differ from person to person. For me, in my quilting project setup I have a routine that is the same every time.
The first step, and one of my most favorite steps, is the selection of the fabric. Sometimes this step can be the most time consuming and overwhelming but it is definitely fun. Before stepping foot in a fabric store or quilt shop it is best to know a general idea of what you are looking for. For instance, know the person or group that the quilt is for. If it is for a specific room know the color scheme you want to employ or if it is for someone else know a general roundabout of what colors they may like. This makes it easier to narrow the large amount of selection in stores. Another good thing to know is your budget. Fabric can be expensive and if you are on a tight budget that is good to know so you can stick to a certain section. This is a key point for me because if I just walk in and start looking my eyes will automatically be drawn to the expensive ones and it will be hard to get myself to buy the "cheaper" ones. Also you will need to know the amount of each piece of fabric for your project. QuiltYardageCalculators are great tools to use when trying to figure out the exact yardage.
The next step after buying your new fabric is to bring it home and put it through a normal wash and dry cycle. By doing this you are making sure the dyes in the fabric are set and won't bleed when your quilt is washed by its new owner and also drying it ensures it will not shrink once completed. After washing and drying the fabric the next thing that I do which is by far my least favorite is to iron it. Fabric will stretch and that is why when piecing we do not recommend rubbing the fabric when ironing and instead press the fabric. So in ironing prior to cutting the fabric you will stretch it now and it will not harm anything.
Once all of these steps have been completed I begin to cut my fabric and prepare it for piecing. The prep stages are not what makes quilting fun to me but it is necessary for a finished project and definitely makes all the difference in the end.