What is the difference between material at your local fabric shop, Joanne’s, Hancock’s, Walmart, Hobby Lobby and the Quilting shop fabric? I began a monthly quilting class this week and I heard a term I had never heard before or it didn't register when I did hear it, but the word was Greige goods (Greige is pronounced "gray"). Greige goods are the raw fabric before it is dyed and printed. Quilting fabric is usually 100% cotton with the ending of the Civil War the cost of Cotton began to increase and is still increasing. According to an article written by Josh Sager in April 2013 "it requires approximately 400 gallons of water to make a simple T-Shirt" that’s a lot of water, a standard bathtub only holds about 90 gallons of water. Now this may be an accurate quote or it may not but what it does show is that growing cotton is expensive. This is a picture of cotton before it is harvested. For some reason this looks so nice and clean but you know with wind blowing, rain, smog and all the other things we have introduced to the air this just seems super clean to me and I just don't think it comes that way.
So the fabric at Walmart is made with a different thread type then what is made at Joanne's and a much different thread type is used within quilting shop fabric. The patterns, the colors, all play a part but it is the thread that is most important when we look at the difference in fabric. No matter what cotton fabric all begins the same way on a cotton plant. Once it is taken from the cotton field it is then processed the same way but then it gets sorted by quality and the better quality thread that is put into your high end fabric and the lower ends get divided into categories.