1. Care and treatment for your P&B fabrics

It is the nature of cotton fabric that some changes may occur when it is washed and dried. Regional water quality, water temperature, detergent varieties and dryer temperature can all affect shrinkage, bleeding and fading.

At P&B Textiles, we pride ourselves on producing superior fabrics, which will retain their quality if properly treated. Please help to educate your customers about the proper care of cotton fabrics:

  • If you are making an art quilt or wall hanging that won't be washed, it is recommended that you do not pre-wash your fabric.
  • If the quilt is dusty, tumble it in a cool dryer for a few minutes, and shake it out.
  • If you pre-wash fabric, do not use hot water or a hot dryer. Once quilts are made, they should only be washed and dried in cold water and a cool dryer (or dried flat), and only if the fabric was pre-shrunk prior to construction of the quilt.
  • If you are making a quilt with light and dark fabrics, it is suggested that you pre-wash the dark fabrics to remove any potential bleeding. This can be done in cold water. A good test of bleeding is to add a light-colored or white piece of fabric to the dark wash, and see if any color bleeds onto it.
  • If so, repeat the washing process until the light-colored swatch comes out without any color change. Detergents can fade fabrics. It is recommended that you use a gentle detergent to wash quilts, and no detergent at all for pre-shrinking. Orvis is recommended.
  • If you have followed these guidelines, your fabric should not shrink more than 5% selvage to selvage, and most fabrics won't bleed or fade at all. top

2. How are fabrics grouped together?

Fabrics are produced in collections, which usually include anywhere from 15-35 pieces. These collections are usually based on a theme and include one or two main patterns, two or three secondary patterns, and several smaller patterns and textures. A collection often includes a stripe or plaid. These are all coordinated so that the patterns and the colors work together. Each collection has three or four colorways, which means that each pattern is produced in several colors, and the pieces within a colorway all work together. For instance, there may be a blue, a green and a red colorway, so that each pattern is printed in blue, red and green, or something that goes with those colors. Often the entire collection works together as well, so that fabrics can be intermingled between colorways. This helps quilters learn how to put fabrics together. P&B also produces groups of textures and basics, which may consist only of small simple patterns in a wide variety of colors. top

3. How can I find your fabrics that I see on your web site and in your ads?

P&B Textiles sells only to local, independent quilt shops, not to chain stores. Each quilt shop chooses the fabrics it wants to sell, and none can possibly choose everything that is offered. If you are looking for a particular P&B fabric, there are several ways to find it:

Look up the name and the code number on our web site, then ask your local independent quilt shop owner to buy it.

In the Collections section on our web site, we list the shops that purchase the entire collection. This does not include shops that purchase only part of a collection.

You can call or email us, and we will look in our database to find the shops closest to you that have purchased a particular fabric (please look up the name and code number before you contact us). This will include shops that purchased only part of a collection. top

4. Does P&B print the fabric itself?

No. P&B Textiles is a wholesale fabric converter, which means it chooses fabric patterns and colors, and has the fabrics printed at various print plants. The fabric is then sent to P&B's warehouse, which is located in Pawtucket, RI. From there it is shipped to the shops that have purchased it. We also sell it to international distributors in several other countries around the world. top

5. Where is the fabric printed?

P&B fabrics are printed in the United States, Japan, Korea and China. The reason that some of the fabrics are printed internationally is that the minimum yardage requirements at the U.S. print plants are often higher than what we want to print. For instance, a U.S. print plant may require 3,000 yards per pattern and color, while an overseas print plant may have minimums as low as 750 yards per pattern and color. Overseas plants also utilize dyes that are not commonly used in the U.S., which provide more depth of color. top

6. Where do the designs and ideas come from?

Design inspiration comes from several places:

Guest artists (often well-known quilters) bring their ideas and patterns to our design department for development.

The P&B design department develops ideas based on its own sources or outside ideas.

Artwork is purchased from artists.

Reproduction pieces are produced from private collections or museum collections.

Print suppliers provide artwork from local studios. top

7. How long does it take to produce a collection?

Generally speaking, once a collection is agreed upon and the patterns are chosen, it takes about 4-6 months to bring a collection to market. This includes perfecting the patterns, putting them into a repeat format for printing, choosing colors and colorways for each pattern, and sending them to the print plant. The print plants then make engravings of the patterns, and create what is called a strike off, or first try, of the print and the colors requested. These colors are then refined to add depth, contrast, proper saturation of color, and to make sure each piece is as beautiful as it can be. This may take several strike-offs before each piece is perfected. top

8. Why do some cotton fabrics feel different than others?

There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is the choice of the base fabric, or greige goods (pronounced "gray goods") that are chosen. Most fabrics are printed on bleached muslin, but this muslin can come in many different qualities, many different weaves (number of threads per inch in each direction) and even the weight of the threads can be different. Other factors that can affect the fabric are the type of dyes and prints used and the finishes that are added after the printing process. P&B Textiles has produced a special weave of greige goods that has a beautiful hand and works well for both piecers and applique quilters. The cloth is a very high quality that outshines the cloth used by most other quilt fabric companies. top