There are many different types of fabric that may be used in patchwork, quilting and appliqué. The following information will help you identify and choose the best fabric for your projects.
Calico is a strong, plain weave fabric. It is available in a variety of weights and is usually white or natural with darker flecks.
Corduroy or fine-wale corduroy is a plain-weave fabric with vertical pile-effect ribbing. It frays easily but is suitable for appliqué and large-scale patch pieces.
Cotton is the choice of most quilters. It is hard-wearing and easy to work with. Cotton comes in a wide range of plain and patterned print colors. It is the best choice for patchwork quilt fabric.
Felt is made from wool. It is non-woven fabric. Instead, the fibers are compressed with moisture and heat. Felt shrinks making it unsuitable for most articles that need frequent washing. It is ideal for appliqué
Gingham is a cotton or cotton blend fabric. Alternating stripes of colored and white threads in the warp and weft produces a checkered pattern.
Lawn is a fine crisp cotton, or cotton blend fabric. It is available in prints and plain.
Linen is fabric that is woven from fiber produced by the flax plant. Linen frays and creases easily but is suitable as a ground fabric.
Muslin is a white or natural open-weave cotton or cotton blend. This fabric is suitable for backing quilts and is also used in shadow quilting and appliqué.
Organdy is a fine cotton fabric that is starched. It is used for shadow work.
Organza is a gauzy fabric woven from silk or synthetic fibers. It may also be woven from silk and a synthetic blend. Organza is available in plain colors and with metallic and iridescent effects making it suitable for appliqué and shadow work. It is also sometimes used for delicate patchwork.
PVC is a plastic, cotton-backed cloth. It is difficult to work with because of its lack of flexibility. It is used for patchwork and appliqué.
Sateen is a soft fabric that has a surface sheen. It is a popular quilt fabric.
Satin is a shiny fabric that can be woven from cotton, silk, or synthetics. It is used in appliqué.
Silk is fabric that is woven from natural fibers produced by silk worms. It works well for almost any project and is available in a variety of textures, colors, patterns and weights.
Shantung fabric is woven from yarns of irregular thickness giving it an uneven surface. It is used for quilting and patchwork.
Taffeta is a plain-weave fabric with a two-tone effect. It is suitable for appliqué and small patchwork.
Velvet has a closely woven backing and a dense cut-pile surface. It is used in patchwork, especially crazy patchwork, but the nap should lie in the same direction as the patchwork.
Voile is a fine woven fabric that is used for shadow work
Wool is made from woven fleece. Wool does not launder well and should only be used for inlaid appliqué, unless it is lightweight. Light weight wool may be used in patchwork.