All About Hoffman Fabrics

For the quilting enthusiast, one of the most important considerations is the choice of fabric. Let’s face it; a quilt’s beauty is totally dependent on what fabric the quilter chooses. If a quilt is unattractive and doesn’t beg you to reach out and touch it, it probably has a lot to do with the fabric chosen to create it. Quilters in the know solve such potential problems by choosing fabrics from companies that they trust. Based in California, Hoffman Fabrics is a company who has proven their value to quilters over many years, since 1924, in fact.

Visit any quilting website that sells fabric and the name Hoffman will pop up. They specialize in high-quality screen-printed cottons and blends. Hoffman also produces hand-painted and dyed fabrics. Every year the company introduces two new lines of fabric, which they call “colorful prints and luscious Balis.” They call their fabrics “inspiring” and that is not marketing hype. One look at the abundant richness of the color and designs of Hoffman Fabrics and you will see why they have been adopted by quilters as a must-have cloth. In return, Hoffman has shown incredible support to quilters. This is evident in the Hoffman Challenge, a contest which started in 1987.

Every year, the talents at Hoffman Fabrics choose one of their upcoming fabric designs to feature in the Challenge. Quilt-makers, clothing and accessory designers and doll-makers are then challenged to use the fabric to design an original item. The winning entries are then featured in a traveling show which stops at galleries, museums, shops, and quilting guilds. The first year of the Hoffman Challenge, 94 quilters entered. Since then, up to 700 entries a year have been received. The traveling show itself is so popular that 12 collections now travel nationwide, with some stops in Canada as well.

Besides the Challenge, Hoffman actively promotes the art of quilting in other ways. The company has paired with designer McKenna Ryan of Pine Needles Designs to create patterns based on Hoffman fabrics. Ryan says she likes to use Hoffman batik fabric for appliqué work because it has a high thread count that prevents fraying. The designer, like so many other quilters, is also appreciative of the depth of color and texture in Hoffman fabrics. Using these fabrics, she can design incredibly lush and intricate quilts based on nature.

Perhaps one of the secret’s to the company’s success is the family nature of the business. Three generations of Hoffmans are currently involved in the daily operations of the firm. It may interest contemporary quilters to know that much of the company’s design philosophy stems from the fifties, when Philip and Walter Hoffman, sons of the original founder, joined the company. They brought with them their love of surfing and translated it to original designs of the ocean, beaches, and surfing life. Combining their passions with a knack for seeking out unusual printing processes for fabrics, the Hoffman sons helped to create a company that is beloved of quilters everywhere.


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