Quilting Batik Fabric

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Buying Fabric for a Bargello Quilt?

I am going to buy batik fabric for a Queen size Bargello Quilt. I do not have a pattern as of yet but would like to collect pieces of fabric as I come upon them. How much fabric would I need for say a quilt with 12 colors?

Bargello strips are usually cut 3.5" and cotton fabric is usually 44" wide (less selvage) - allow 42" for the width.

Never use the selvage as it will pucker.

1 yd will provide 10, 3.5" strips x 12 colors = 120 strips @ 3.5" x 42".

Sewn: 3" x 10 x 12 = 160"/2 for length = 80" x 80" finished.

Choosing the best fabric for your next quilting project

Most quilters prefer 100% cotton made fabrics, because cotton is easy to handle, mark, press and sew by hand. Thanks to the advantage cotton has over other fabrics, specialized shops sell in majority pure cotton fabrics, which of course differ according to the color and size.

Those who have accumulated more experience with quilting may want to deal with different, more sophisticated material. An unusual fabric may be difficult to deal with, especially when it's the first time you handle it, therefore it is advisable to use a test block first. If you want to add layers of different materials, again make a test. Usually, bear in mind that medium dense fabrics cope well with even weaves. Fabrics which are negligently woven may distort themselves to easily while woolen or silken materials, generally those who are lightweight, are more difficult to handle with and prior experience is required.

Moreover, not only will the fabric influence your quilting project but also the color you choose. The tone could be used to give depth to the handicraft and add interest to an otherwise dull quilt. Thus, it is best to combine both color and tone for the desired look to take shape.

Chromatically speaking, you also need to ensure the color of the fabric will be well complemented by the others around it. Contrasting colors make nice effects and ensure your piece is original. Warm colors like yellows, oranges or reds combined with colder ones like greens, blues, or violets enliven the quilt block and make it more attractive to the eye and vividly portrayed.

Furthermore, you can combine fabrics which have different prints or styles because if the fabrics are correctly matched together, you will create a visually enticing quilting block. Visual effects can be created by using graduated colors. For instance, cotton materials come in different designs or style, like the homespun plaids, floral motives, batiks or tiny grained prints which realistically reproduce solid dots, soft flannels or reproduction prints. Solid-color fabrics, in their turn, offer a variegated choice of colors, sizes, prints and shades.

Another tip to consider would be to remember that quilt blocks can be made of layers of the same fabrics or shade, but it would be more interesting if you ensured they contrasted in texture. For instance fabrics combining velvet with sheen such as taffeta create wonderful effects to the eye.

After you have made your choice, you must use the fabric accordingly and prepare it for the quilting project. Cotton fabrics may shrink when washed or dried so if you don't wash the cotton fabric before using it for quilting, the first time you wash it though, it may ruin your quilting because the stitching lines might gather in small wrinkles and the fabric will shrink then.

Therefore, to make sure, your work will not be affected by the fabric's washing properties, you must pre-wash all the fabrics prior to starting your work in the machine, setting it on the short gentle washing cycle. It's best to use cool or lukewarm water yet never use hot water. A mild, not too powerful detergent could be used, but don't wash with detergent if the fabric is unsoiled. Another tip to consider would be to wash together fabrics with similar colors so that nothing happens if they are colorfast. After the washing, dry it and press the fabric for ironing. Only after this final stage, will the fabrics be ready for quilting. You would not want to work for hours on a quilt, only to have the fabric shrink after washing it.

About the Author

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