Tuesday, May 12, 2015


We are quilters. We play with fabric. We dream of fabric, We dream of quilts. We design quilts. 

and then....

We PANIC when we have to choose the fabrics for a quilt. 
What colors do we want/need our quilt to be? What pattern are we using? Where is the quilt going to be used? Will it match the room? Will the person using it like the colors? What print do we want the fabric to have? Will it be appropriate? 

ALL these things to think of. No wonder so many panic. And then once we pick out the color theme.... which tone of those colors? What other colors will match and not fight with the other fabrics?

What fabric do we use for the backing? The sashing? the binding?  Decisions! Decisions!  HELP! 

I hear these concerns often when I talk with my customers. (There is also the quilter who has the fabrics picked out, but has no idea which pattern to use --- that subject will be addressed later) 

So, how do you pick out the fabrics (colors/theme/print)? Take a deep breath and jump right in. 

        TIP:  take your pattern with you when you go shopping. If you can't take the pattern, at least take a list of what yardage you will need. (And ALWAYS buy a bit more for that 'just in case' need more factor).

FIRST: Know who the quilt is going to. If it is for yourself and your home - which room will it be used in? What are the colors of that room? What colors do you want? Is it a wall hanging? A lap quilt? A bed quilt? Table runner? 

If it is going to someone you know.... what is their favorite color(s), what are the colors in the room it will be used? What will it be used for? 

If it is going to someone you don't know.... i.e. charity.... what is the age of the recipient? A baby, toddler, older child, teen, adult. Male, or female? 

Once those are answered it gets a little easier. 

SECOND: pick out your 'Focus' fabric.  This fabric is usually a print that has many colors in it. 

 Your 'focus' fabric is also the one that is usually used the most in your quilt.

 THIRD: Choose the other colors out of that 'focus' fabric so they all match and make for a beautiful quilt.

       TIP:If you are unable to pick all your fabrics at the same time at the same location, cut a sample off the fabrics that you have purchased, especially your focus fabric, and carry with you at all times (You never know when you may see a quilt shop and just HAVE to stop and look at the fabric ;) 

I know it sounds easier than it feels when it comes time to pick out your fabrics. Don't be afraid to take your time, ask the associate for help, or take a friend with you to help pick it out. Two or more sets of eyes to see the colors that match or don't match is helpful. Nothing worse than spending a ton of money on fabric you 'think' will match the others you are using in a quilt only to go home, put them side by side, and be disappointed and have to go shopping again. 

       TIP:  An easy way to pick your fabrics as those pictured above, is to look for them all with the same 'family' name. The first ones pictured are all from the "Wise Old Owl" collection. There are also others that matched it but were actually from another collection, but had the same print as part of the 'focus' owl print.

The second set pictured above are all from the "Patchwork Kids' family. That makes it real easy. Pick all the ones with that family name and go with it. However, you will notice that the main 'focus' fabric has many other colors you could choose from as well. You can continue to find more that may be in the same collection, or choose solids that match the colors such as the blues, yellows, etc. 

Whenever possible take your time when looking for fabrics. Make it fun.  Let the fabrics 'talk' to you. Yes, they really do 'talk' to you. The quilt pattern 'talked to you, didn't it? Take a friend, go out to eat afterward.  Enjoy the experience.

I hope this has helped get over the panic feelings of buying fabrics.   There is more to it sometimes, but it can be as simple as what I suggested. 

Til next time..... 

Keep those needles stitching, 
The creativity flowing
And the fabrics busy becoming quilts. 


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