What’s the Difference??? Quilt Shop vs. Chain Store Fabric – FREE Beginner Quilting Videos

When I started quilting I bought fabric from chain stores because I didn’t know quilt shops existed and I didn’t know the difference between the fabrics sold at the two types of businesses. And there are BIG differences that affect how long your quilt will last and how soft it will feel to the person using it.

I’ve had a little help with this video. QT Fabrics President Ken Gamache, flew to Rock Island, IL where my quilt shop is located to join me for this video and explain the differences between quilt shop and chain store fabric.

The short version is chain stores that sell fabric are driven by profit. That means they use a fabric weave and printing method that is less expensive so they can make more money. But the fabric quality is not as good or soft as the fabric you will find at a local quilt shop.

That’s not to say that local quilt shops don’t need to make a profit too. We certainly do because there are bills to pay and families to feed. But for the most part local quilt shops are focused on offering fabrics that are a better quality, softer and will last longer.

In this video we talk about the different types of fabric you might find in a quilt shop or a chain fabric store, which fabrics are best for quilting and what the difference is between the fabric you find at a chain vs. a local quilt shop (or local quilt shop with an online store like Quilt Addicts Anonymous).

Ken explains the differences really well in the video, so make sure you check it out. When I first started talking with QT Fabrics about this video series and I suggested having someone from QT Fabrics be a guest for this video, I never thought they’d fly out the president.

But Ken is very down to earth. He started his career at QT Fabrics as the guy who cleaned the print rollers when the fabric was still printed in the U.S. and has worked his way up, serving in multiple parts of the business. So Ken knows a thing or two about fabric.

And I absolutely cannot stress the importance of using fabric from a quilt shop when you get started. Obviously I am biased because I own a quilt shop.

But just yesterday I had someone who took a class from me  at my local quilt guild bring a block in to help diagnose where she went wrong.

She was using quilting cotton from a chain store to make triangles and the fabric was stretching out of place like crazy, making it impossible to create accurate points and seams. Nothing was turning out right and she was understandably frustrated.

This isn’t the first time I have seen new quilters struggle with fabric from a chain. I think the thought is that when you are getting started, you’ll just use something cheap just in case you don’t like it. But those issues just don’t happen with good quality fabric and make it so much easier to master a new quilting technique and have a good time doing it.

And since we know it can be expensive to start quilting, so we have a special coupon just for our Beginner Quilting students. With this one-time use coupon, you can save 20 percent on everything in the Beginner Quilting category on our website.

That includes all of your notions and in-stock fabric from QT Fabrics, our class sponsor! We also have creates a few quilt kits for the Split Nine Patch pattern and have made digital versions of the quilts so you’ll know you love it before you start sewing.

The coupon will be sent to you via email after you download your FREE pattern to go along with this course. Click here to download your free copy.

Other videos in the series:

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Comment (2)

  1. WOW… Didn’t know the difference in fabric shop and the chain store fabric’s. Great video. How ever the music made it a little hard (for me) to stay with the conversation.


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