An Experience with Greige Goods

In case you haven’t heard of Greige (pronounced “grey”) Goods before, it refers to the fabric before any of the dyes are added to it.
Often Griege Goods is talked about in terms of quality.  For instance, “The quality of the Greige Goods….” 
This summer I saw what a difference the quality of the greige goods made.  I wish I had a picture to show you.
A month or so ago a lady showed me her first quilt.  It was a beautiful lone star quilt.  It was amazing!  She was a seamstress before she was a quilter, and she took the time to make sure her piecing was precise.  I couldn’t believe it was her first quilt!  It had also been used and loved for a few years.  What was interesting to me was that I recognized many of the fabrics in the quilt.  In fact, I had purchased at one time or another many of those same fabrics before I learned about quilt shop fabric.
One fabric in the quilt was quilt shop quality fabric — which I also owned a piece of.  That fabric was the only piece of fabric that hadn’t faded. 
Why?  Because quilt shop fabric starts with a higher quality of greige goods, maybe better dyes too, I don’t know about that.  That’s why it is more expensive.  It is better quality.
I’m not saying that there’s not a place for non-quilt shop fabric.  Just consider your project before you use it.


  1. Jan
    August 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Great post. I’m like your friend, a seamstress for over 60 years, a quilter for 2. I could immediately tell the difference in fabrics, when I started quilting. I just knew they were better.

  2. luvtoquilt
    August 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for the tip. This is so important — I know so many quilters who just don’t want to pay quilt shop prices for fabric — big mistake for the heirloom quilts. After putting all the time and effort into a beautiful quilt, what a disappointment to have it fade! P.S. Are you still thinking about doing another one of your fabulous quilt alongs this fall?

  3. Deb
    August 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I can tell the different in fabrics right off the bat. It always makes me cringe when someone tells me they’re making a quilt out of fabrics from Joanne’s or similar places. I know that the quilt won’t hold up.

  4. Pauline
    August 18, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks for this info, I wondered why the difference in price, and figured it was ‘something’ to do with the quality. So, its the quality of the blank fabric.

    Also, to my unexeperienced eye (fingers?) here in Aus, the fabrics feel different, one thicker than the other.

    Congrats on being an anuty again!

  5. Kritta22
    August 19, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Congrats on being an aunt!!! So fun!
    That’s interesting about about fabrics. I’ve never not used quilt store fabrics cause my mom and grandma said it was the only stuff to use. I never questioned it…haha I’m a goodie goodie!
    Anyway thanks for sharing.

  6. Teresa
    August 19, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I had heard of Greige Goods, but had never seen it spelled out and honestly thought the fabric must be a grey tone. Thanks for the information on that.

  7. Betty Lou
    August 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Right on, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is so correct in fabric. Trust your quilt shop. My motto is “buy better and buy less.” I would rather have just enough of good quality fabric than a lot of inexpensive fabric.

  8. Jeanne
    August 22, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I learned my lesson on that a couple of years ago. Looking at the quilts I made then and the ones I made now, oh you can’t even compare. I know I blew a lot of money on poor quality “Greige Goods”

  9. The Rogue Quilter
    August 22, 2011 at 6:01 am

    I love this post. It us so true and not only is it better fabric if we don’t support our shops they don’t survive.

  10. monsoonsandmangoes
    August 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

    So THAT explains why the squares on my patchwork skirt cut from cheaper fabric have lost so much colour, yet the quilt shop or vintage fabrics are still quite vivid. Thanks for the heads-up! 🙂