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Between chain store fabrics and quilt shop fabrics which one fades the quickest when exposed to constant sunlight?

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Comment by Terry F on January 22, 2012 at 5:21pm

I've wondered that too.  I have a muslin and "homespun" plaids quilt that receives almost daily use as a throw.  One block in particular has faded so much that it looks like just muslin (drives me crazy!), and the others have held up well.  They were all the same price and seemed to be the same quality when I bought them.

Comment by Lou Ann Brach/MD on January 20, 2012 at 7:21am

Bonnie, any fabric will fade, but the ones that fade the most are the ones dearest to you. Of course that was said tongue in cheek, but I took a quilt to a store in another town that had requested to show it "as it would let people see another technique". Within a week I had another request, to teach a class. I agreed, sent the list of fabrics needed (suggesting that they guide people to purchase it there), and drove down on the day of the class. I was shocked, as they had it hanging in their window so that people would come in to see and feel. Of course it was faded, showed signs of dirty hands, and I vowed to not teach any more classes there.

Carol Ann's comment about bolts of fabric with a line on them is a good one to remember too. If you see it, you know it will fade. Most fabrics will fade in bright sunlight and especially the dark ones. I usually set mine with white vinegar and non-iodized salt when washing them before stitching. That is a very old remedy, and I don't know if it does any good or not, but it does help to keep them from fading when washed. Something I learned the hard way is don't dry clean them. After we found the 3rd thing belonging to my daughter (after a tornado), her dad took it to the cleaners. I made her a new one, and used that one as an example of not dry cleaning. Not all of the fabrics faded, but a beautiful apricot became barely flesh.

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on January 19, 2012 at 9:41am

I find the dyes are less stable in the "cheaper" fabrics, and always use a dye catcher.  No matter the quality of the fabric though, it shouldn't be displayed in direct light for very long. I keep all of my fabrics in closed cabinets, and rotate wall hangings frequently.  I have seen bolts of fabric that have been sitting on open shelves (in a quilt shop) for some time usually have a bleached streak where the fabric folds around the bolt.

Comment by Trudy/WI on January 19, 2012 at 9:39am

That is a good question. I don't know if you can really be sure. I have a couple of quilts with lots of scraps, some quilt shop fabrics and some chain store fabrics all within the same quilt. Some of the quilt shop ones faded just as quickly as the chain store ones did, I was so disappointed!  But I agree with Pam and Billie, you need to rotate your quilts (and fabrics if they are exposed to direct sunlight where you store them) regularly, drawing shades when necessary. 

Comment by Pam/NY on January 19, 2012 at 9:12am

I rotate and refold all my quilts and afghans frequently...I've had both fade, cheaper and designer fabrics. I've also had fabric fade under special glass to prevent fading. I keep my shades in the bedroom at half mast to prevent direct sunlight...

Comment by Billie Blakeney on January 19, 2012 at 4:43am

Good question. I rotate my quilts on and off the beds every month. I did, at one time, have a quilt that did fade and nearly disintegrate from constant use. But it was much loved. Personally from that experience, I'd go for the quality of fabric by feel and by the weave. I'm not sure what others would do.

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