Fabric for miniature quilts / Miniature Quilts

Fabric Selection for Miniature Quilts

Let’s start talking about fabrics for making miniature quilts. What fabrics work best? Are then any I can’t use?

First, let’s talk about quality of fabric because there are many different fabrics on the market. High stitch-count (tightly woven), 100% cotton fabrics work best for all quilts, but it is especially true for miniature ones. Do not use the ultra-stiff fabrics that some big-box stores sell. It is ultra-stiff because the manufacturer has added a stiffening to make the fabric “feel” like a quality good. If it is stiff, I have found that once it is washed it becomes limp and weave is more open than what you would find when choosing, say a Kona solid from Robert Kaufman fabrics, or a Hoffman batik, as examples. The smaller pieces we cut from the fabric requires a tighter weave so there is more fabric in the 3/8″ finished square!

Second, any fabric can be used, you just need to understand that when we cut tiny pieces and strips from a large print you won’t see anything but the colors in that little segment. But, perhaps that is the fabric that contains the color you really want in your quilt! Use it by fussy cutting that colored segment from the large print. That works fine. However, if you are wanting to make the design a feature for the quilt, perhaps a medium-sized print will work in a border where we would usually use a larger print in a full-sized quilt. Proportion is essential when trying to make a miniature look like it’s normal-sized counterpart.

The last, but most important consideration when choosing your fabric is, do you really like it and want to include it in your tiny creation? If it truly sets the correct tone for your quilt, then find a design that will accentuate and make the most of that fabric. Again, if it is a larger print, perhaps choosing to make a small quilt and not a true miniature is what your true goal should be. And we will certainly be making some small quilts in our journey!

So, the most important things to consider when selecting fabrics for true miniature quilts will be: size and proportion of the print in the fabric with the cut sizes of the pieces in your quilt design; and, the quality of the fabrics you are using when cutting those tiny pieces – the tighter the weave the better so that you have plenty of fiber to stitch together and that will ravel less and make your sewing experience more enjoyable.

Photos showing this will be coming soon. I need to wait until a couple stores open so I can get the loosely-woven fabric for the comparison. Quilt photos will be coming, too! Please be patient!

Stay safe and Sew on!



April 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Where do you find fabric that is small enough scale for a 3/8” block or do you just use solids?

    April 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    You’d be surprised what can be found! I like reproductions, fabrics called “shirtings”, and batiks! Any fabric is usable as long as you don’t try to use prints that are just too large for a tiny square. Save the larger prints for solid non-pieced blocks where the design can show, use them in borders, just like you would a really large print in regular sized quilts! Compare and contrast rules remain the same no matter the over size of a quilt. If it looks awkward, leave it out!

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