I’m often asked, “Are Walmart fabrics worth it for quilters,” and I know I’m going to get flack however I respond. So, I’d like to begin this article by saying I want this to be a friendly conversation with you.
Readers ask — what types of fabric should I buy? Is it okay to spend less than $15 a yard on fabric? Is it okay to buy the cheap stuff? What if I find something on sale? — so, I want to know what you think, and if your opinion is different from mine.
If this is your first time here, my name is Christen. I love modern quilting and sharing my tips, tricks, and tutorials.
If you’d rather watch than read, I have a short video on this subject as well.
My Pioneer Woman/Walmart fabric purchase!
The first thing you need to know is I’m from Texas. I love being Southern and country, and I also really love the Pioneer Woman. I love her recipes, and now she has a whole new line of fabric at Walmart that I had to take a look at.
Since I have been making quilts with the intention of them being high quality and lasting longer than myself, I have always gone for the more expensive fabrics. When I buy cheaper materials, I typically use those on zipper pouches or smaller projects.
The image below is similar to what I bought from the Pioneer Woman’s fabric range.
These stacks of Southern fabrics, featuring pretty flowers and vibrant colors, are absolutely beautiful!
Let me do a quick calculation here. If you buy a collection of 30 fat quarters from this range, the price comes out at around $1.25 apiece. This is really inexpensive when you consider that quarters from a higher quality fabric shop run between $2-3 apiece.
Potential issues with lower-cost quilting fabrics
The first thing I must say is the quality of fabric and dyes have come a very long way. However, there is always the possibility of color bleed.
Of course, this could be prevented by pre-washing your fabrics. Although some people feel very strongly about this, I personally don’t pre-wash … ever. To be honest, I’m lucky to keep on top of the regular laundry without adding fabric pre-washing to my list of chores — it’s just not one of my priorities.
Instead, I rely heavily on the Shout Color Catcher Dye Trapping Sheets when I wash my quilts and try to make sure I use high-quality fabrics that aren’t going to bleed.
When I look at the range of fabrics in the Pioneer Women stacks, I notice there are some very strong colors alongside fabrics that are essentially white. There is potential for these strong dyes to leak into the washing machine water and get absorbed by the paler fabrics. The end result might not be exactly what you envisioned!
This is the exact reason Color Catchers are so important. If I had a quilt with a deep magenta fabric next to a light floral, I might use up to 10 Color Catcher sheets on the first wash.
Durability & longevity of quilts made from affordable fabrics
I have nothing against buying cheaper fabrics if that’s what allows you to enjoy quilting and do what you love. But you might notice cheaper material is less tightly woven and not as thick as more expensive cloth.
Will a quilt made from Walmart fabric last a long time? I don’t know. Time will tell.
When I’m creating a quilt from more affordable fabrics, I’m probably not going to create a quilt that’s the most amazing I’ve ever made. With cheaper material, the pattern I choose might not be super-complicated, and it might be the type of quilt we use outside for picnics or at the beach, guilt-free. The quilt is still handmade with a lot of love, but it’s designed to take more of a beating from the weather and the kids’ dog.
If I’m going to invest 600+ hours into making a quilt, I’m going to buy the best quality cloth I can afford to ensure the quilt will wash well and last a long time.
Perspectives on low vs. high-quality quilt fabrics
I would really love to know your thoughts on this subject.
· What is your budget per yard of fabric? Do you spend $10-12 or $3-4?
· Do you like a bargain or go for the highest quality available?
· Do you stick to your budget or do you fall in love with a color/design and think about price later?
· Is there really a difference between lesser and higher quality cloth?
· What do you think about the Pioneer Woman line?
Please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I know everyone’s opinion is different, but if we’re all nice, we can have a polite discussion about this interesting topic. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
If you’re looking for more quilting tips, tricks and tutorials to improve your work and increase your confidence, be sure to check out my Quilty Tutorials playlist on YouTube.And if you really want to get better in the quickest time possible, have a look at my foundation skills quilting course, Modern Quilting Made Easy designed especially for people just starting out.