Premium Quilt Fabric vs. Chain Store Fabric: The Difference

Premium Quilt Fabric vs. Chain Store Fabric: The Difference

If you’re just getting into quilting and are starting to look for supplies, you may not know exactly where to start. Chain store fabric is more affordable, and the store often has various other supplies you may need for quilting or other creative projects. Designated quilting stores can be difficult to find, and their supplies are often more expensive. But buying the right quilting fabric and supplies is about more than price. Keep reading to learn the difference between premium quilt fabric and chain store fabric.

Thread Count

When shopping for premade items like sheets and pillowcases, many people look at thread count to determine the quality of the material. While the quality of the fibers matters more in those instances than the number of threads, thread count still matters for quilting. A thread count of 70 is ideal for quilting, as it’s easy to hand stitch but holds together well. As you sew different pieces of material together, you depend on the stability of the thread count to help your project remain stable and stay together after completion. A 60–70 thread count offers that necessary stability better than lower thread counts. Unfortunately, chain stores often use quilting fabrics with lower thread counts because they’re easier and quicker to mass-produce.

Thread Size

Even if they have the same thread count, many chain stores use thinner threads in their quilting fabric than the fabric acquired by quilt shops. The thickness of the threads is just as important as thread count for holding your project together, so you need to make sure that the fabric you’re buying has a high thread count with thick threads.

Dye vs. Paint

Most new quilters want to use colorful fabric to make a beautiful creation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, you should be cautious about where you get your colorful fabric. Many quilt shops prefer to fully dye their fabric, while chain stores often paint their colors on top of the fabric. This use of painting instead of dyeing can lead to print errors, hurting the overall appearance of your quilt.

Print Error

Even if chain stores fully dye their fabric, it’s more common to find print errors in the large orders they place and quickly put out than in the curated orders of quilt shops. Chain stores are often focused more on turning a profit than offering high-quality goods. Because of this, many inspectors miss or ignore small print errors in favor of getting the most fabric on the floor for sale as possible.

The main differences between premium quilt fabric and chain store fabric are the thread count, thread size, use of dye, and possibility of print errors. To avoid these problems in your fabric, buy premium quilt fabric from a dedicated quilt store. If you still want the convenience of online shopping, Lindley General Store has you covered. We sell quilting fabric online here in Canada but are a dedicated quilt shop, so you can trust that we’ll provide premium quilt fabric even with online convenience.