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Maybe you never really thought about using 100% cotton fabric for your quilts. The reason I am writing today is to explain my experience using a blended cotton fabric and why I choose only 100% Organic cotton for my quilts.

Cotton

Image by Ashley Bilbrey

Cotton is one the strongest most durable fiber’s used in many industries today including the quilting industry. The length of cotton fibers determines the type of fabric you will find in different fabrics. Shorter cotton fibers consist of flannels and denim which help give the fabric that soft subtle feel, while the longer fiber cotton provides a more luxurious feel. Longer cotton fiber in fabric means more durable and less exposed shorter fibers which can ultimately lead to piling.

Other Fabrics

I have to admit that I will be the first to admit clothing i wear has blends of rayon, polyester, microfiber, and more. Especially, I enjoy linen because I love the texture of linen. While these fabrics make amazing garment choice fabrics, they do not provide the best medium for quilts; especially pieced quilts.

Piecing

When you want to make sure your pieced blocks come together accurately and precise, cotton fabric is the only choice! Polyester blends will cause your fabric pieces to stretch out of shape making a more difficult time getting the accuracy in your pieced blocks. You can avoid the stretch in these fabrics by applying stabilizer to the back of your pieces.

Piling

It’s true. I made a flying geese lap quilt not too long ago, and I used expensive fabric. However, I threw it in the wash only to discover the fabric piled! With a mix of cotton and polyester, my lap quilt looked a mess. I was able to save the day by throwing my lap quilt back in the wash using only cold water. But, the real truth of the matter is that whenever we use a combination of thread types in our fabrics, one will pull against the other making some of the longer threads rub against things causing piling.

Check Labels

I made the mistake of thinking that the fabric I bought at a quilt shop would be 100% cotton. Not so! There are a variety of mixed textiles in fabric you will find in a quilt shop. Sometimes, you can ask the attendant if the fabric you are buying is 100% cotton, but you might want to make sure by checking the label on the end of the bolt – just to make sure!

Choose Organic Cotton

Unfortunately, many fibers we use in the textile industry contain harmful toxins that wash out into the environment and are not healthy. GMO cottons may use pesticides that contain Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup linked to many illnesses even cancer and depression not to mention these chemicals get passed along into the environment when we wash garments containing formaldehyde (easy care no wrinkle fabric and garments) and pesticides. Some countries were found to have forced child labor in the cotton industry lacking necessary protection gear or even water to drink. It takes a lot of water for growing cotton, actually causing the draining of the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Using organic cotton, we avoid all these issues.

You May Not Know About Cotton

  • Although cotton is not a food, cottonseed oil is produced for human consumption
  • Cottonseed oil is used to produce Vitamin E
  • Cottonseed oil is the primary ingredient in Crisco
  • Cottonseed meal is fed to animals for dairy and meat production
  • Leftover cotton cellulose fibers that are too short to be spun into textiles are used as food additives
  • Cellulose from cotton fibers is added to a wide range of foods to thicken and stabilize the products
  • Cellulose is used as a filler to extend serving sizes without increasing calories. Humans can’t break down or digest cellulose, so it’s being used to meet the demand for low-calorie, high-fiber foods
  • Cellulose, which is basically a plastic, has migrated into numerous foods including cheese, cream, milk powder, flavored milks, ice cream, sherbet, whey products, processed fruits, cooked vegetables, canned beans, pre-cooked pastas, pre-cooked rice products, vinegars, mustard, soups, cider, salads, yeast, seasonings, sweeteners, soybean products, bakery items, breakfast cereals, including rolled oats, sports drinks and dietetic foods as a non-caloric filler
  • Some brands of pizza cheese consist of cellulose coated cheese granules combined with silicon to aid in melting

Also, using Organic Cotton prevents the chemical contamination in these products into the body and environment.

100% Organic Cotton is the perfect medium for long-lasting, long-wearing quilts that are the kind that make heirlooms for many generations to come. They hold up to wear and tear and stay fresh and crisp without the dangers of contaminating the environment!

 

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