Quilting Solids Roundup

Solids have gained (re-gained, maybe) a lot of respect as a quilting fabric in recent years. There’s no better proof of that than the abundance of choices on the market now. Manufacturers small and large are offering their own unique palettes. I thought a little overview of what’s available these days might be useful for color fanatics who are looking for just the right shade of this or that color. For this post, I am listing plain weave quilting weight cottons only — we’ll leave twills, voiles, sateens, lawns, flannels, etc. for another day. I’ve also included the number of colors in each collection, but keep in mind those are approximate. Companies are always adding to and subtracting from their stocks.

I’ve also indicated whether a color card is available for retail purchase. Why a color card? If you’re ordering fabric on the internet, screen colors are unreliable. They just can’t be made to look consistent from one screen to another. Plus, some shops photograph the fabric, which is great, but adds more chances for variation due to lighting and quality. Just take a look at this google image search for Kona Cotton Papaya … the variation is pretty significant!

These collections all come from companies that make consistently high-quality fabrics, so any would be great for quilting and crafting. If you’ve worked with these solids, please share your experience with finer points of body vs. drape, weight, and so on in the comments.

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{ Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements’ original 10 colors, photo courtesy Art Gallery Fabrics }

Company: Art Gallery Fabrics
Collection: Pure Elements
Colors: 23
Color Card: No

Company: Birch Fabrics
Collection: Mod Basics Organic Solids
Colors: 7
Color Card: No

Company: Clothworks
Collection: Everyday Organics Solids
Colors: 7
Color Card: No

Company: Cloud 9 Fabrics
Collection: Nursery Basics Organic Solids
Colors: 4
Color Card: No

{ Freespirit Designer Solids Color Card }

Company: Freespirit
Collection: Designer Solids
Colors: 100
Color Card: Yes

Company: Dear Stella
Collection: Stella Solids
Colors: 15
Color Card: No

Company: Michael Miller
Collection: Cotton Couture
Colors: 88
Color Card: Yes

Company: Moda
Collection: Bella Solids (pdf link)
Colors: 140
Color Card: Yes

Company: Riley Blake
Collection: Solids
Colors: 47
Color Card: No

Company: Connecting Threads
Collection: Quilter’s Candy Solids
Colors: 71
Color Card: No

Company: Marcus Fabrics
Collection: Centennial Solids
Colors: 34
Color Card: No

Company: Northcott
Collection: ColorWorks Premium Solid 9000
Colors: 103
Color Card: No

Company: P&B Textiles
Collection: Color Spectrum Solids
Colors: 58
Color Card: No

{ RJR Cotton Supreme Solids Color Card }

Company: RJR Fabrics
Collection: Cotton Supreme Solids
Colors: 135
Color Card: Yes

{ Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton is the mack daddy of solids collections! }

Company: Robert Kaufman
Collection: Kona Cotton
Colors: 216 / PURE Organic solid colors: 15
Color Card: Yes

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If you have any corrections or additions to this list, please let me know in the comments! Let’s also talk about sources for buying color cards.

19 Comments

  1. Liza says:

    Hey Kim
    Jumping up and down, raising my hand. What about our glorious Shot Cottons?
    Liza (and Kaffe)

    • Kim says:

      Liza! I consider shot cottons in a class of their own! Shots/chambrays/yarn-dyes. Do you think that’s wrong? Their usage is certainly the same as plain solids though.

      • Liza says:

        Hi Kim,
        I agree they are different but, as you said, the usage is the same. I am just finishing up the instructions for our next book. It is all Shots and Stripes. I really enjoyed doing the quilts with that kind of restraint.
        Liza

    • Kim says:

      (and they certainly are glorious!)

  2. Starla says:

    Oh yes I would love to know sources for color cards! I don’t know how many times I’ve ordered a fabric and the color was just not what I thought it was. Grrr!

  3. Liz says:

    I second Starla – where do we get the color cards!
    And thank you for another great post!

  4. Renee says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I had no idea there were so many companies with cotton solids. I too would love info on where to purchase the color cards, and any info as to pricing – such as suggested retail.
    And – shot cottons! Material for another post ( pun intended. )

  5. Weeks Ringle says:

    I’ve been sewing with solids since 1987 and have sewn with a lot of different brands. We use the color cards all the time. It’s always frustrating that Kona, which has the best variety of colors has, in my opinion, the worst greige goods. Compared with many of the other brands Kona ravels like crazy and is coarse. It has a stiff drape compared with the others. I’m not sure why they spin it the way they do but it’s very hard to work with when there are circles, thin strips or small pieces. Binding with Kona is awkward because of the bulk and pieced bindings with Kona are a particular hassle. Our company buys a lot of Kona (just got a shipment yesterday) because sometimes you just can’t get a color anywhere else. But I sure wish that they would switch greige goods or change the weight of the threads.

    I like the greige goods for RJR for consistency of weave and color a lot but the color choices are frustrating and the dye lots can vary tremendously. We had to rip apart a quilt top yesterday because of a dye lot issue. We have had in the past major problems with consistency of color and poor quality greige goods with P&B solids but they may have fixed that by now. I’d like to see a price per yard comparison as well because they are not all priced the same.

  6. Kathleen says:

    I have to say that I am in love with the Freespirit solids. They are so much softer than Kona and have a much better drape. They are almost sateen compared to Kona! I recently saw their color cards on the Hawthorne Threads website. Before I could find a color card I bought a charm pack of all 100 colors. It’s nice to have the larger swatches. If you opt to buy the charm pack, keep it in order and then check the Freespirit website. The charm pack is stacked in numerical order so you can put a sticker with the name and number on each swatch instead of having to guess which color is which.

  7. Jade says:

    Suggesting an Australian brand – A Day In The Country – they don’t have a huge colour range but they have beautiful saturated hues and incredibly soft fabrics that are lovely to sew with. I’m not sure that they’re available internationally but a few online Aussie stores sell them -

    http://www.quiltsmith.com.au/store/merchant.ihtml?id=971&step=2&product=yes
    http://quiltfabricdelights.com.au/store/WsDefault.asp?Cat=ADayintheCountry&Sub=263&isThumbs=Yes&Thumbs=150

  8. Colleen says:

    I love this post so informative I had to pin it! BTW I like what you said in your FQS interview. I collect vintage blocks and use them for inspiration. I hung some on the walls of my studio and some I have made into a quilt. http://www.flickr.com/photos/luckyduckdreams/4906312624/in/set-72157625148412660

  9. Holly says:

    Great post! I’ve got a growing stash of Konas myself and love my colour card. Here in Vancouver, Canada, one of our local stores just switched from Kona solids to Northcott’s ColorWorks solids. I’m not familiar with them and don’t see them on your list. I wonder if any of your readers have used them.

  10. Scarlett Jones says:

    I’ve been getting into solids more and more lately so I’m glad you posted this!

    So here’s the deal: I’ve used many of the solids mentioned above, and while it IS true that Kona has an extensive color card, the quality is really disappointing… and by disappointing, I mean, it sucks (sorry for being straight forward but it is what it is).

    I was lucky enough to find Art Gallery Fabrics’ pure elements, and that’s what they are: PURE! The hand is just unbelievably silky. Like, seriously, it feels like silk. I even doubted that it was 100% cotton. Unfortunately they’re quite new so they don’t have a huuuge array of colors, but I think they have new ones every season. I’m definitely waiting for more colors and definitely recommend them!

  11. Debbie says:

    I am so glad you are addressing this topic. I live way out in the country, far from any quilt shops and really need some color cards as you can’t tell anything about color on the computer.

  12. pieceLove says:

    I do a lot of curved piecing, and for that I LOVE RJR’s solids–it’s very forgiving, and I love the hand and the no-pill, more matte finish as well. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t like a lot of sheen–I like to see the color, but not necessarily the fabric.
    I see that Benartex has solids; I’ll bet they’d be fun to work with.

  13. Caitlin T. says:

    I worked for a while in a fabric store, and we did have a color card for P&B Textiles’ solids, though I’m not sure it’s available to the general public.

    I’ve seen the Kona color card available at the Purl Bee: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/6042-Robert-Kaufman-Kona-Cotton-Color-Card