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Fabric Knowledge FAQ

Fabric terms can be a bit of a nightmare to understand. we get all sorts of questions being asked. Here, we’ll answer a few, and keep on adding to them…

What is a fat quarter?

Imagine half a metre of fabric which has been folded in half, parallel to the selvage edge. A fat quarter is half of that piece of fabric, slit along the fold. It is half, of half a metre of fabric. See image below.
You can also get fat ¼ yards, which are the same as above, but instead of a metre of fabric, it relates to a yard of fabric.

What is a Jelly Roll?

Jelly Roll’s consist of 2.5″ wide strips of fabric cut across the width of the fabric, selvage to selvage. They generally contain between 20 and 40 strips, co-ordinated to get you started on your next project.

Do I need to wash my fabric prior to using?

Many people like to wash their fabrics prior to using as it reduces shrinkage, and helps prevent colour runs when they eventually wash their quilts. However, shrinkage on fabrics generally is minimal, as they have been pre-shrunk and washed many times in the manufacturing process. You shuold not generally have dye runs for the same reason, however, when asked, we would tell you to pre-wash your fabrics if they are strong colours, such as red, black, navy, and pre-wash regardless if the fabrics are batiks. Wash on a standard 40 degree wash, with a colour run sheet.
Generally if you wash some of your fabrics being used for your project, then you should wash all of your fabrics. To get the “new, crispness” feel back, iron your fabrics after drying, with Best Press Spray.
Note that this is my (Vanessa) opinion only, and should not be taken as the rule!

Can I use patchwork fabrics for dressmaking, cushions or even curtains?

Yes, of course, patchwork fabrics are simply a cotton fabric. So, you can use a cotton fabric for a summer’s dress, skirt, cushions, practically anythgn that is to be a light to medium weight style.

What is the difference between a cotton fabric and a poly/cotton fabric?

A 100% cotton fabric tends to crease slightly more than a fabric which is made up of polyester (manmade) and cotton blend.