Connecting Threads: Initial Thoughts on Quilting Cotton & Flannel
I’m very late to the party, but finally placed an order with Connecting Threads – an online fabric and notions company that offers exclusive lines designed in-house.
While I’ve perused the website countless times, it took me forever to give it a try.
Connecting Threads carries a large selection of its own line of quilting cotton, flannel, batiks, 104″ wide backing fabric, thread – as well as notions, books, and fabric from other popular manufacturers. Solid quilting cotton starts out at $4.96 a yard!
Out of the exclusive prints, many are appealing to the modern quilter and would serve well as blenders with fabric you already own. One of my favorites is Luminescence Fabrics designed by Virginia Odien – prints for $5.96 a yard in blues, greens, and purples.
I’d love to try out the Quilter’s Candy Bright Solids Samplers, but this line is currently on backorder. The fat quarter bundle is priced great – at just over $20. For a future quilt, I want to design something modern in all solids.
A few of the flannels were on sale and some of the quilting cotton, so I chose two one-yard cuts of darker blue flannel prints for $6.36 a yard (no longer available) and a two-yard cut of a print called Cartouche from the Symphony in Blues collection on sale for $3.56 a yard.
What I wanted to do was test the performance of the fabrics. I prewashed all of them together in one load, threw in two Shout Color Catchers, and zigzagged the raw edges to prevent fraying. Normally, I wash all clothing and bedding on a cold cycle and tumble dry on the lowest setting above no-heat.
I hadn’t sewn with flannel before, but the Connecting Threads version is soft and not too scratchy. The material is rather plush and doesn’t feel flimsy like some of the flannels I have felt at big box retailers. It did not pill up after being laundered, and there did not seem to be any color loss or fading. It looked and felt the same before and after washing and drying.
So I really did not have any project in mind for the two one-yard cuts of flannel, but decided to whip up a quick baby blanket:
- Place the fabrics right sides together, so the wrong sides are exposed
- Cut them down to the same size, mine ended up about 32 inches by 38 inches
- Take a round object like a glass, bottle, or jar – and mark out rounded corners. You can do this faster by folding the fabrics into a quadrant (fold in half lengthwise, then across the width)
- Using a walking foot, sew around the perimeter with a 1/2 inch seam allowance – be sure to leave about 6 inches for turning
- Turn the blanket right sides out
- Press the seams flat at the edges
- Top switch around the perimeter with about 1/4 inch seam, which will close the opening
No idea what I will do with this flannel baby blanket, but the next time I need to gift something for a little boy – this will be perfect!
Now onto the quilting cotton…
Connecting Threads claims each fabric type is “created according to our exacting standards and finished with our own top-secret formula to give it a flawless and amazingly soft finish.”
It’s great that this company is dedicated to providing such an amazing selection, and is so passionate to make quilting more affordable. Here’s my opinion:
The quality and hand of the quilting cottons feel and appear similar to Robert Kaufman, Michael Miller, or Moda. Connecting Threads seems to be a couple steps up from lines you might find at one of the major craft store chains. Some of the prints do mimic the “designer fabrics” quite well, but others can be easily picked out as being the in-house brand.
Out of all the quilting fabric I have tried, my favorite quality-wise is definitely Art Gallery Fabrics. AGF’s motto is “feel the difference” and that is definitely true to advertising. However, other fabric makers often have prints I can’t resist – so I am not loyal to only one manufacturer.
What I plan to do is use the CT quilting cotton to make a household item like placemats, coasters, or napkins and really put it up to the test of time. Unlike the flannel, the dyes in the Cartouche print did bleed slightly while being laundered. No pilling so far, and the material emerged soft and not overly wrinkled.
For the price, Connecting Threads is a wonderful value – especially for low-volume prints, solids, blenders, and neutrals. If you don’t have your heart set on one particular print for a project (ie: you’re just looking for green fabric), there’s a good chance you can find something suitable from Connecting Threads.
There were also three books I’ve had my eye on – all were significantly discounted from the list prices. I am so excited to delve into these quilting titles and try some of the projects in each of these!
See you next time!
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