Thoughts on Solids

Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers, dads, step-dads and all the guys who act like dads and make a difference.

We are not talking about dads today, though, we are talking about fabric. Again. There is no doubt about it. I have fabric on the mind. First, I admonish you to use your good fabric. Now I am talking to you about solids. What is going on?

I guess I have fabric topics on the mind, one of which is solid fabrics

Solids have become popular again (No duh, right?). When I started making quilts, the Amish style was popular and we all bought solids. I was actually kind of scared of prints! My first quilt project was mostly solids, but I did throw some prints in as I became more confident. The Cotton Patch, in Lafayette, California, where I bought most of my beginning class fabrics, had a whole room of solids!! Brands and designers were not important or known then so I have no idea what kind of solids they were. Due to the longevity of  the Kona brand, some of them could very well have been Kona.

The brands I have thought about recently are:

  • American Made Brands
  • Art Gallery Solids
  • Bella Solids by Moda
  • Kona Cotton Solids by Robert Kaufman

Some thoughts on these brands — and don’t get me wrong, I know there are other brands by other makers such as Michael Miller Cotton Couture and the Timeless Treasures Soho Limited Edition solids brand. I just don’t find those in my local area very often. I haven’t used them. I’ll have more to say about the Timeless Treasures Soho after I make the Peacock One Block Wonder piece. I, also, could do an update someday after someone sends me some and I use them. 😉

American Made Brands: the thing I like most about these fabrics is that they are completely made in the US – from growing through processing (ginning?) to weaving. I am not a rampant protectionist, but I would rather pay a little more and know that someone in the US is contributing to their household because of fabric I buy.

There aren’t as many color choices in this line thought they do keep coming out with more. I do love their turquoise!

A color card is available at selected retailers.

The colors also glow. We saw an exhibit of quilts made from these fabrics at Houston and the color combinations were amazing, not because of the fabric choices, but because the colors glowed. It was amazing to see.

The fabric is a little thinner than some of the other brands.

Art Gallery Solids: the brand/collection is sometimes called Pure Elements. They are very tightly woven. They have a beautiful hand.

A color card is available at selected retailers.

While there are some very clear colors, many of the colors are shades of pure colors.

This brand does not fray. Hallelujah!!!!!!

Bella Solids by Moda: Moda is a powerhouse around fabric design. They have the best designers, the freshest colors and the most up to date designs. Their solids are no exception.

There about 400 different solids in the line, with many shades and tints in each hue’s range. There are several different colors of white, making it relatively easy to find the exact color for your project.

A color card is available at selected retailers.

My biggest problem with Moda fabrics, including the solids, is that they fray like crazy. I assume this ‘problem’ has to do with the quality of the greige goods. The fabrics feel good, and the designs are gorgeous (Zen Chic! Bonnie & Camille!). The fraying, however, makes me crazy and I find I hard to keep my work area tidy and to piece with precision. Yes, Fray Check keeps the fabric from fraying, but is messy.

Kona Cotton Solids by Robert Kaufman: these are probably the most popular solids available. Websites match Kona solids to patterns. Playcrafts creates color stories using Kona Solids. Robert Kaufman, via the Kona Solids, has good marketing when they play nicely with other websites, designers and patterns.

The collection currently has 303 different colors. A color card is available at selected retailers.

The fabrics feel thick to me and I like that substantial feel. However, they also fray and seem to be loosely woven in a different way than the Bella Solids. I still buy them, because they sell them at a store to which I can walk and I have the color card.

All of these have uses, especially in the color department. Sometimes you need the perfect color whether it frays or not. I have been experimenting with Soak Flatter and Mary Ellen’s Best Press to see if these products will help with fraying.