Frequently Asked Questions
What is normal width fabric?
Patchwork fabric comes on 'bolts'. The fabric on these bolts is normally 44/45" wide doubled over, so it appears to be only 22" wide approximately. This means that when you order fabric from us, with the exception of fat quarters, your fabric will be, for example, 39½" x 44/45" (1 metre x 1.12 metres).
What is a fat quarter?
A fat quarter is one quarter of a metre of normal width fabric, cut to about 19¾" x 21" (50cm x 55cm) on the fold of the fabric; it is squarish in appearance.
What is a long quarter?
A long quarter measures 10" x 44/45" (25cm x 112 cm) approximately; it is rectangular in shape.
Can you explain how I order different quantities of fabric?
Quilters Quest fabric is sold online in multiples of quarter metres. Simply select the fabric cut required from the drop-down box, either 'Long Quarter' or 'Fat Quarter', then see the table below for different amounts of fabric:
For example, let's say you want to buy 2¾ metres of fabric, simply enter 11 in the Quantity box. Your fabric will be cut in one single piece, not 11 individual quarter metres.
I normally work with yards rather than metres, how many yards are in a metre?
The following table has approximate conversions for yards, inches, & metres:
What is selvedge?
The selvage (US English) or selvedge (British English) is the term for the self-finished edges of fabric. The selvedges keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying. The selvedges are a result of how the fabric is created. The selvedge should be cut off prior to the fabric being used.
What are notions?
In sewing, notions is the collective term for a variety of small objects or accessories. Notions can include items that are sewn or otherwise attached to a finished project, such as buttons, but the term also includes small tools used in sewing, such as thread, pins, marking pens, and seam rippers to name but a few. Notions are also known as haberdashery.
What is the minimum amount of fabric I can buy?
Our minimum cut online is 25 centimetres (approximately 10 inches). This can be cut as a long or fat quarter. Orders of more than one will be cut as one single piece.
I hear Yvonne always talking about the importance of a scant ¼" seam allowance. What is this?
A scant ¼” seam is one of the most fundamental elements of patchwork so get this right & you’re on your way to perfect blocks! To sew a scant ¼” seam allowance you need to sew a tiny fraction less than the full ¼”. The reason for this is that a small amount of fabric is taken up when pressing. To test your seam allowance sew three strips of fabric together that are 1½” wide, press the seams and then measure the centre strip – it should measure exactly 1” between the seam lines. On many machines it is possible to move the needle position to get your scant ¼” seam. Try it!
My husband complains about the amount of money & time that I spend on quilting. Do you have any tips on how to appease him?
A University of Glasgow team has found that quilting is 'uniquely' good for you. A study found that quilting improved well-being in ways that physical & outdoor activities could not, & offered a creativity that had been ‘stifled’ in the modern world. They interviewed quilters & found the activity helped their cognitive, creative & emotional well-being, particularly among older people. The use of bright colours was ‘uplifting’, the activity distracted from the stress of work, & quilting offered challenges such as maths & geometry. It also increased confidence & had an important social side. Professor Jacqueline Atkinson, co-author of the study & a quilter herself for five decades, said: ‘Doing something that engages you & that you enjoy is key. As adults, we don’t often do enough that includes fun & play'. He can hardly argue with that now can he???
How do I use your Shrink Fabric?
Layer the shrink fabric with a piece of wadding and your top fabric and do your quilting as you would normally. Do not iron the shrink fabric until it is quilted. Then hover a steam iron over the shrink fabric and see the magic happen. Do not touch the shrink fabric with the iron or it may melt. You can leave the wadding out if you prefer.
TOP TIPS FOR WORKING WITH SILK:
Can silk be washed?
Yes silk can be washed. It is a natural fibre that is washable. It will lose some of the sheen when washed but that can add a beautiful effect. If you plan to wash your finished item it is recommended to wash the fabric before starting the project. Serge or overcast the raw edges to prevent fraying & hand wash in a mild soap. Lay flat to dry & press or dry in a tumble-dryer for a vintage look. Try scrunching before drying & then just press lightly. The options for different looks are endless. Just remember that silk is a very durable fabric when it is dry. Once silk is washed it no longer water spots.
How to stop silk fraying?
Fuse an ultra light or feather light fusible interfacing to the fabric before cutting the pieces. Quilters Quest recommends Rowley Fusible Stabilizer – we’ve used it & can vouch for its suitability. This is fusible interfacing & NOT just fusible glue. It should be ultra light or feather light to prevent changing the feel of the fabric as much as possible.
What size needle to use with silk?
A slightly smaller needle is recommended such as a 70/10
Is there a special way to use pins with silk?
Pin pieces together in the seam allowance rather than across it. Use fine or extra fine pins.
What kind of thread to use with silk?
Silk thread can be used for the purist but cotton thread works just fine to reduce the cost of the project. Cotton thread adds a new dimension to embroidery.
What sort of cutting mat to use with silk?
Do not cut on a white mat. The fibres get caught in the mat & don’t come out. All other mats are fine.
Can I press silk?
Press as you would for any project using the high setting on your iron unless the fusible used recommends otherwise. Silk will hold a crease so press carefully. Make sure to keep the iron soleplate clean.
Any thread can be used to quilt the finished item. Cotton thread gives a good contrast with the silk. Remember that your quilting is really going to pop on the quilt so think about design, threads etc. as a true design option.
The information on working with silk has been provided by Debbie Maddy.