Fabric Roundup: Best Fabric for Quilting

Fabric manufacturers produce a wide array of fabrics in different weights and textures. When you’re just starting out, it can be confusing to know what’s the best fabric for quilting.

"Daydream" by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics

Daydream by Kate Spain Quilter’s Weight Cotton; photo via A Quilting Life

Here’s an overview of the common fabric choices available today.

Quilter’s weight cotton

Quilter’s weight cotton is high quality 100% cotton fabric perfectly suited for quilting. It’s typically accepted as the best fabric for quilting. While quilter’s weight cotton does have shrinkage, it typically shrinks less than cheaper cotton fabrics. Higher quality cotton fabrics are also less likely to bleed, although all fabrics should be tested for color fastness when using them in quilting.

Quilt shops have traditionally been the only source of the best quality cotton quilting fabrics, but recently, several national fabric chains have added a variety of quilting weight cotton fabrics to their inventory.

Quilter’s weight cotton is also used for clothing by quilters and sewists. Cotton used for clothing should always be prewashed and dried before beginning any cutting or sewing in order to avoid shrinkage and fit issues after the garment is completed.

Patterned Fabric with Sewing Theme

Home decor weight cotton

Home decor weight cotton is a heavier cotton that often has a sateen finish. It’s perfectly suited for quilted home decor. While this fabric doesn’t drape well because of its heavier weight, it is the perfect fabric for quilted bags, quilted pillows and throw cushions where just a little extra “body” is desired. This fabric often comes in widths of 54”, which also makes it economical to use for home decor projects that require wider yardages. It can also be used for quilting, but because of the heavier weight, an exceptionally light batting should be used.

Row of Brightly Patterned Fabric

Voile cotton prints by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit


Voile is soft, silky lightweight cotton that’s slightly transparent. Because of its lightweight characteristics, it’s often used for clothing, such as blouses, dresses, skirts and scarves, but this fabric has also recently become a popular choice for quilters. Several major fabric designers have included voile collections that mix and match with their quilting weight cottons. Quilts can be constructed using all voile fabrics, or the voile can be combined with quilting weight cottons. Using a voile backing for a quilt top made with quilting weight cottons gives the finished quilt a softer, silky finish.

Essex Linen

Essex Linen by Robert Kaufmann is a natural fiber fabric blend of 55% linen and 45% cotton. Many quilters like the texture Essex Linen brings to their quilting projects and routinely mix this natural fiber linen/cotton blend with quilting weight cottons. Essex Linen is a wonderful fabric choice for quilts and for sewing home decor.

Quilter’s Linen

Quilter’s Linen, also by Robert Kaufmann, is actually an all-cotton fabric with the look and texture of linen. Many quilters like to use this fabric along with their quilting weight cottons since they don’t have to worry about the issues that can arise from mixing different types of fabrics. Quilter’s Linen is also a good choice for quilting and sewing home decor.

What’s your favorite fabric to quilt with?

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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8 Responses to “Fabric Roundup: Best Fabric for Quilting”

  1. Shirley Ann Barham

    Can I mix 100 % with Linen for a quilt?</strong>

  2. BMNoyes72@aol.com

    I will be cancelling my membership. I am disgusted with this company now. They always had such good fabric

  3. Diane McKnight

    I soooo miss the fabrics. I don't need the classes. I am very,, very disappointed and will not do much, if any, business with Craftsy anymore.

  4. Crooked Seamer

    I loved the Blueprint fabric also. The thread was beautiful also. Since Craftsy no longer offers that option, I now use Jordan's fabrics, as the owner also uses the fabrics in making her quilts, and it's all free videos of how to do it on You Tube. Their fabric is mostly for quilting and the options are gorgeous. I also watch for Connecting Threads for quilt fabric and thread, etc. Excellent also. I mention these as options for Craftsy to team up with.

  5. Roger W Prescott

    I love V.I.P. Cranston not because of the quality but because of the prints and designs they do. Their fabrics are much more retro. Do better 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's style prints and colors than some of the fabrics recommended by my quilt shop professionals. All the quilts we've made with that fabric are holding up as well as ones made with Moda or some of the upscale fabrics. We used to LOVE Peter Pan fabrics as well and you can't find them anymore sadly.

  6. Kitty Mitchell

    You guys totally blew it doing away with fabrics and kits. I don't know how many people want classes, but that's the last thing I want. I strongly suspect I am not alone there. The original Craftsy had beautiful fabrics and kits, and weren't trying to shove classes down everyone's throats. Unless or until you bring back a large variety of beautiful, quality fabrics and kits, I won't be back.

  7. Di Kwasny

    cotton calico

  8. jbbj2204201551

    are you going to sell fabric or just have classes