Tips for Working with Homespuns
Because homespun fabrics have a looser weave than traditional quilting cottons, extra care is needed when sewing with them. Here are some things to know when using these beautiful fabrics in your projects.
Homespun fabrics that you buy in stores today are made to mimic the fabric that women made by their own weaving and dyeing process centuries ago. They are traditionally plaids, stripes, or ikats. Because they're yarn-dyed, they have rich color on both sides of the fabric, and the looser weave gives it a homemade look.
1. Starch your fabrics. Starch helps the fabric keep its shape when cutting and sewing.
2. Use a slightly larger seam allowance to protect against unraveling. We recommend a 3/8" seam allowance. To create your own custom seam guide, see here.
3. Use a leader strip when sewing pieces together, which helps the fabric move smoothly through the machine without being pulled under the presser foot. To do this, start sewing on a scrap of fabric, then sew right onto the homespun fabrics.
4. Use lots of pins. Homespun fabrics can stretch easily, so pins will help pieces line up.
5. When you wash your quilt, use Color Catchers to catch excess dye. Homespun fabrics have colors of dye that commonly run.
6. Prepare for your quilt to shrink when washed. This creates a cozy and handmade look to your project, but if you need your project to be an exact size to fit a bed, plan for the quilt to end up smaller when it comes out of the dryer.