To me choosing the right fabrics is the first and most important part of making a quilt. The process of picking and removing fabrics and seeing the evolution of my color palette for a quilt is is the part of the quilting process that I find the most enjoyable. New fabric gets me excited to work on a project – it drives me to want to cut it up and create something beautiful.
|Kona Cotton Solids in 2 Color Stories|
I love playing with pattern, texture and color and when it comes to choosing fabrics I think there are four key things to consider:
- Pattern & Scale
Color is an amazing thing. It has the ability to convey information, evoke a response (both physical and emotional), and represent a symbol or idea. In quilting, color is one of the most important aspects because quilts are all about two things: sight and touch.
Color will give the overall feel of the quilt. For example bright colors will tend to make the quilt appear more playful and youthful, pinks and purples will make you think of a girl instead of a boy, and softer hues tend to be associated with babies. Clearly these are big generalizations and are not always the case by any means, but colors and hues can have certain associations for people.
|Bright Colors for a little boy. Built Colors around royal blue fabric|
When I am choosing fabrics I tend to find one print that I want to focus on and I build my palate around that. I usually stick to 2-3 colors but will use many different shades and intensities of those colors. I find that my taste is typically bright and intense colors with a neural color like black, brown, white or grey added in to the mix.
Another thing I consider when choosing fabrics is the scale of the prints. I will usually have one large-scale print and a few coordinating medium and small-scale prints. Occasionally I will leave out the large-scale all together and just stick to medium-scale and small-scale. For me this adds interest to the overall design. Too much of the same size pattern and the quilt can look too busy or just boring. (Again not always the case – just generalizing)
|High Contrast, different prints, different scales and multiple shades add interest to a simple 2 color palette.|
The final thing I like to consider is contrast. Contrast is a tricky thing. Too little of it and your design might appear washed out, too much and it might to too distracting. I am not saying that you shouldn’t do very little contrast – to me the low volume trend has been a great inspiration to make a subtle yet impactful design with little contrast – and I am not saying you shouldn’t use high contrast and be more bold in your design. I am just pointing out that for me contrast, like color, can really change the feel of a quilt.
|A full fabric collection line. Michael Miller Happy Tones.|
If all else fails, use a single fabric line instead of mixing lines. Fabric lines are usually made in multiple colorways and with different sized prints. Often if you want more color, the colorways will work well with each other so you don’t have to go and try to match other fabric with the line.
Linking up with Sewing with Certainty @ Quilty Habit
Thanks for taking the time to read a little more on my thought process
of choosing fabrics. Go check out some of the other blog hopper posts on the art of choosing fabrics.