It only looks like wool…

Cotton Works Wovens – a new collection from Polly Minick & Laurie Simpson – Minick & Simpson.


As accomplished artists, Polly and Laurie have established themselves through distinctive work that breaks all the conventional ideas of what quilts and hooked rugs should look like.  They love to experiment with colors and textures as part of their creative process so they jumped at the chance to work with this new “cotton laine” fabrication.

“Cotton laine?”  The names mixes the cotton content and wool appearance of the fabric – “laine” is the French word for “wool”.

The catalog describes the fabrics as… Reminiscent of classic woolens from famous mills, Cotton Works Wovens are pure-cotton fabrics woven to look and feel like their pure-wool counterparts.  These “cotton laines” have the thickness of wool but as cottons, they don’t require extra care or expense to maintain.  As woven plaids, stripes and textures – not printed – Cotton Works can be used for quilts, home-décor, stitchery and rug-hooking.  It makes a beautiful foundation for wool appliqué!

I describe it as YUM-MY!


This is Flower Day – it measures 16″ x 40″.  Laurie made this using raw-edge appliqué applied with fusible web.  The finished table-topper has the appearance of wool appliqué on a wool background.  While I haven’t seen it in person, I have been all over this fabric since it first arrived in the sample room.


The two sides of the fabric have a subtle difference – the right-side is a bit softer with a brushed-quality.  But unlike the Brushed Homespuns of the past, this new fabrication is woven with threads-yarns that are slightly thicker than those used for regular quilting-weight cottons.  It’s completely crazy but it really does look like wool… and it feels like it too.

Sewing with Cotton Works will require a few small adjustments, the sort we make for sewing with cotton lawn, double-gauze, rayon and knit.  It’s not difficult, it’s just different.


Grand Haven – it also measures 16″ x 40″ and mixes piecing with appliqué.

In making our projects, we found that a larger-than-usual seam allowance worked best – 3/8” to ½”. It did affect the size of our finished patchwork but the adjustments weren’t difficult.  For a 3/8” seam allowance, add 1/8” to the cut size of the pieces.  And for a ½” seam allowance, add 1/4” to the cutting sizes.

Before cutting, we also found that prepping the fabric with sizing or starch made a difference.  We “prep” by spraying the fabric generously on the wrong side and allowing it to air-dry.


This pillow was prepped, cut, pieced, machine-quilted and then machine-washed and dried.  Shrinkage was minimal – less than 3 percent – and the results are quite yummy.  The Cotton Works fabrics look and feel like wool – except much, much softer.

The bolts will include hangtags with the following information:

  • Do not pre-wash this fabric unless you’re making a garment.  This is especially important when using Layer Cakes or Fat Quarters.
  • Before cutting, we recommend prepping the fabric with sizing or starch.  Spray the fabric generously on the wrong side and allow it to air-dry.
  • A larger-than-usual seam allowance is also recommended – 3/8” to ½”. This will affect the size of your finished patchwork unless you adjust accordingly.
    • For 3/8” seam allowance, add 1/8” to the cut size of the pieces.  And for 1/2” seam allowance, add 1/4” to the cutting sizes.
  • Press the seams open to reduce bulk.
  • A single-fold binding is recommended. If a double-fold binding is desired, substitute a regular quilting cotton.


If you don’t dawdle, you’ll still have time to make something wonderful for the holidays or a lovely winter evening spent tucked under a quilt.

But stay away from this Fat Quarter bundle.  It’s mine.









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28 thoughts on “It only looks like wool…

  1. Awesome, I would love to try this . Wool is so difficult for me to work with , that this sounds like it would be fun to play with.

  2. I’m not understanding about the extra seam allowances. Wouldn’t you add 1/4″ instead of 1/2″ to the cutting sizes for a 1/2′ seam allowance, and 1/8″ for a 3/8″ seam allowance?

    1. Hi Linda – Thank you for catching the goof! We knew that… LOL

      It’s been corrected. Some days there are just too many different things going on. 🙂

      1. Actually, you still have the adjustments for seam allowances incorrect. As my friend, Mary states “By my math, – since there are two sides (a least) to each piece, increasing each seam allowance by a quarter inch would mean a total of 1/2 inch added for the cutting measurement”. To increase to 3/8″ seam allowances, you need to add 1/4″, which equals an additional 1/8″ per side.

  3. I love the look of this fabric and I think it will be perfect for an upcoming project that I will be working on – is it out in the shops? I do not live near any and will need to order it on line – do you know who will be carrying it?

  4. It sounds wonderful. I have never like the itchiness of wool. What a great winter quilt this would make. I wonder if it frays at the edges. Thank you!!

  5. love these sisters books and fabric. This is jjustwonderful. I work with wool ab andd quilts and rugs but having
    wool look in cotton is perfect.

  6. I have a future son-in-law who is allergic to all animal fibers. This is perfect for making him a quilt with the look of wool.

    1. The pillow is awesome. Where is the pattern? I can get the fabrics they look like fun to work ith.

    1. Yes, I think that’s a great and fair question to ask. Manufacturers want us to buy their products, and shop owners want to keep their doors open. It would be awesome if you (Moda) listed the retail shops that stock your fabrics and their locations on your website!!!

    2. I just discovered they do have a store locator on their website. However, when I checked my state, Oregon, only one store came up, so I think they could do a much better job at listing their retailers. How simple that would be and so helpful!

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