Even though Homespun is made from 100% cotton, I'm going to refer to it as homespun and not cotton to distinguish between the two types of material I will be referring to. I've learned A LOT about what fabrics are best to use for rag quilts. I am the most happy and satisfied with my quilts when I use all homespun fabric. Keep in mind, there is high quality homespun and low quality homespun. The biggest difference (besides quality of course) between the two is price, so it all depends on how much you are willing to spend on your fabric. I've used both and of course I love the results and feel of the higher quality homespun fabric BUT I'm not always willing to spend the extra money on the higher quality fabric. Bottom line is I'm quite satisfied with my quilts even if I use a lower quality homespun. I would highly recommend using homespun fabric for the main part of your quilt. I've found that homespun fabric is the most soft and comfy and it "rags" up the best.
100% QUILTERS COTTON FABRICS
I have used a lot of this fabric for the images on my rag quilts. At first I thought I would like this fabric better because I could avoid the plaid look if that is not what I was after and it was easier to get this fabric in solid colors. I found that I was never quite satisfied with the results after my quilt was washed and dried. I found this material bunched around the stitching a little more than I cared for. I even tried pre-shrinking my cottons thinking that would solve my bunching problem. BIG MISTAKE!! It just made the bunching problem worse because the homespun was shrinking but the cotton wasn't shrinking at all! If you're going to use "quilters cotton" don't pre-shrink it.
Here are some pictures showing the final results after using different types of fabric
I was completely dissatisfied when using pre-shrunk 100% cotton. This is the result. :(
This next picture shows the result when using 100% NON pre-shrunk cotton. I can definitely live with this result even though the material does not lay flat. Some people actually prefer this look...which is great! Each to their own and it is more available and more colors to choose from. :) As you can see, the muslin used for the keyboard worked out great. The material used for the computer screen is a little bunchy. Really not a big deal, it just depends on what you can be satisfied with.
The result of using homespun brings me the most satisfaction.
I could have used some "quilters cotton" for this little guy and it would have worked out just fine because the pieces would have been small enough and the bunching would not have been that noticeable.
And, as you can see in this picture using smaller pieces of cotton work just fine. :)
I have only had a couple of instances where I purchased a bad piece of fabric. I'm not sure if it was dyed incorrectly or what the problem was but it bled like crazy. This taught me you can get a bad piece of fabric. I should have know there was a problem when the color was rubbing off onto my hands and sewing machine. I did have concern at the time but I continued to use this fabric anyway. Well, after I washed and dried the quilt it was evident the quilt was all but ruined. I was making this particular quilt for a friend who was paying me and there was just no way I could sell her this quilt. So, I quickly postponed my other projects and remade her quilt with better fabric. As you can see here in this picture the dye bled onto my white piece of muslin and even though you can't see it in this picture, the deep teal fabric bled onto the tan fabric as well. Needless to say I was very unhappy! So, I'm more careful now when selecting my material. I definitely steer clear of this piece when I see it at JoAnns. Surprisingly, I have not had any problem with the reds I have purchased. This deep teal was the worst.
WHERE I PURCHASE MY FABRIC
I have bought most of my homespun at JoAnns Fabric because, with their coupons, I can get my fabric fairly affordable. I know you can special order fabric through them if there is a certain piece of fabric you want. For the most part I've been happy with their fabric. I have also been able to purchase better quality fabric on line or at specialty quilting shops. I do pay more for it but love the higher quality. overs.com is one company I've used on line and have been happy with their service. Solid colored homespun is hard to find but I have found it at overs.com. :)
I like to use 80/20 batting. (80% cotton/20% Polyester). There are a few different brands. I like them all. I can get it fairly affordable at JoAnns with a coupon or when it's on sale. Batting is just a matter of preference. I've found that the 80/20 is a good weight for these comfy rag quilts.