ArtQuilt Catalog and 10 Skeins of Floss
Congratulations Laura from Thomasville, NC ! You are the winner of my prize drawing and will be receiving a New copy of the catalog for ArtQuilt Elements 2010 along with a selection of embroidery floss. Hope you enjoy both and thank you to everyone for taking time to share their preferences and experiences relating to fabric.
The clear fabric favorite among respondents was TestFabrics 400m which is a Bleached desized mercerized cotton print cloth with a 78 x 78 construction. This is a well priced fabric which is 44" wide and currently sells for between $4.80 and $3.20 depending on the amount you purchase. This can be purchased directly from TestFabrics. You can go to their website and request a catalog with prices and they will send you a PDF file with this information. Go to: http://www.testfabrics.com/
I have used this fabric before and actually still have a small sample. I'll have to try it again. Three readers mentioned TestFabrics 419 which is a Bleached Mercerized Broadcloth so it is more tightly woven and I'm sure works beautifully with surface design. I have a full 60" wide roll of this fabric which I purchased from another fiber artists so I'll be testing that.
Here is the list of all fabrics mentioned:
TestFabrics: Many different fabrics from which to choose and it can be ordered directly from the manufacturer.
Sunshine Cotton - Available in Canada and likely manufactured in China. I googled this but didn't get any hits. If you are interested you may be able to purchase from http://www.supremelaces.com.
P&B Dyers Cloth - Much to my surprise only one person mentioned this fabric. I used it for several years. Takes dye nicely. EQuilter has this fabric along with many others for dying and surface design. You can also order this item from Big Horn Quilts: http://www.bighornquilts.com. I understand that Carol Soderlund uses this fabric in her dye classes so that's a great recommendation.
****New Information added March 19, 2012: Check out the prices of this fabric from this vendor: http://www.candiedfabrics.com/
******Please read the comment from Carol Soderlund at the end of this article. She no longer uses the P&B but she shares what she does use. Also, she has given a link to a blog which shows some great exploration of how a variety of fabrics take black dye. Thanks Carol for the update!
RocLons Natures Way - This is a fun meaty, soft fabric that be purchased around the country at fabric stores or directly from the company. I use the word fun because all dye colors don't seem to work well on this fabric. It can be very spotty but when it works it is lovely. Purchased in 50Yd. bolts, one reader says it costs about $1 a yard. Here is their link: http://www.roc-lon.com/products/muslins.html
Dharma Trading Company - One reader mentioned Essex which I am not familiar with. Check out their offerings at: http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1667492-AA.shtml
ProChemical: One reader mentioned their Style 100 cotton sheeting and their style 200 Broadcloth. Here is a link for those fabrics: http://www.prochemicalanddye.com/home.php?cat=325
Hoffman Lawn: This fabric is a light weight PFD fabric and can be purchased at various sites. I believe this fabric is much like batik fabrics. To read more about this fabric or contact one of their regional sales reps go to their site: http://www.hoffmanfabrics.com/
Robert Kaufman Fabrics: There were 10 mentions combined for the Kaufman line of fabrics. Kona 5, Patina 1, Kona Premium Muslin 1 and Kaufman Pimatex 3. I have used all of these fabrics and they are all high quality. I just purchased several bolts of Patina which is the fabric Kaufman uses for their batik line. If you want to read about their fabrics go to: http://www.robertkaufman.com/
Lisa Call sells Kaufman Fabrics and you can find this information at: http://lisacall.com/resources/pfd-fabric-for-sale/
Here is a link to Soft Expressions where you can order Patina online:http://softexpressions.com/software/fabrics/PDF.php
Other fabrics mentioned as favorites were old linens purchased at thrift stores, new linens and linen/cotton blends, cotton twills that were purchased from commercial fabric stores such as JoAnns and PFD silk twill, PFD Ramie and PFD Silk/cotton blends.
Penny Schine Gold has a nice article with pictures comparing the results of dying several different fabrics with the same color: http://penny-studionotes.blogspot.com/2011/09/dye-experiments-with-less-expensive.html
From the comments of my Canadian and German friends, we in the US are still not in the race for most expensive fabric. I don't doubt this but the prices have almost doubled in the last 2 years so it's more important than ever to make informed choices.
For anyone who is new to fabric, you will find all sorts of muslins or "under" identified fabrics at fabric stores. My advice is buy a couple of yards, take good notes so if you find something good you can repurchase. Buy PFD when you can. Connie Rose shared her experience that the Prepared for Dying designation hasn't been an issue for her so if you purchase fabrics that aren't PFD just scour really well. I do have experience with trying to dye fabric that is not mercerized. Some colors work well but dark shades look cloudy and I've never been able to get a truly deep shade with un-mercerized fabrics.
There are other manufacturers whose fabric I have tried over the years but either I found them lacking or the company has dropped the fabric from their line. I promise to share anything new I find along the way.
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