Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Choosing Fabrics for a Quilt

I had a great comment yesterday asking about choosing fabrics.  It really got me thinking about why and how I put together yesterday's stack.  It all started because I wanted to start a quilt for a new baby due in February.  The Mama-to-be likes green and yellow.  I remembered the daisy print in my stash and thought it was perfect!  Its called Daisy Path from Meadowsweet 2 by Sandi Henderson.  It has the yellow and green and I love the addition of the aqua.  That was my starting point and my color scheme.  I headed to my stash.

These were from my stash.  I was looking for anything that I thought might go with the daisy print.

From there I went to an online quilt shop and started searching for coordinates in my chosen colors.  I use either the "shop by color category" or the search box depending on the website.  For these, I searched for aqua, lime, green, yellow, mustard, taupe, brown, dot, stripe, etc.  I open up a new window or tab for any fabric I have a gut reaction or interest in.  I usually have 20-30 open (it drives my Husband nuts!)  Then I start eliminating them by closing the window.  I'm looking for a variety of scale, shapes and tones.  If I have too many dots, I pick my favorite.  If it starts to look heavy, I look for one with a lighter background.

I wanted a lot of yellow in the quilt.  I looked for the deeper mustardy, orangey yellows.  I loved the bottom two immediately.  Then I looked for more leafy/organic shapes to compliment the original daisies.  Between these four I had a good mix of scale and value.

The bottom green was an easy choice, it's also part of the Meadowsweet 2 collection.  I knew it would coordinate nicely.  I wanted at least one more great green print to add variety to the quilt top.  I looked for something that was a looser pattern and overall much lighter.

The aqua in the daisy print was such a great grounding color for the yellow and greens, I wanted any fabric I chose to have a similar effect to the quilt top.  I purposefully eliminated any lighter aqua prints.  I looked for mid tone and small scale prints.  Online, the quilt shop showed me the bottom check when I picked out the same print in yellow.  Loved it!  Then I went looking for something  leafy and organic shaped.  I was so excited to find the top right one.  

I had the brown/taupe print on the bottom in my stash it's called Henna Garden and it's also from Meadowsweet 2.  I bought it at the same time as the daisy print.  I didn't want it to be the only brown print in the quilt, so I looked for something else to add.  This is not an easy color to find.  It's a warm brownish gray (which I really like btw!) I chose the top fabric because it was a similar color, it was smaller in scale than the Henna Garden, and it had a lighter background to bring some variety.

I rounded out the stack with some complimentary solids.

I don't alway buy this many fabrics for a single project.  But it's for family and it's all colors I love anyway so I know I will use them.  I splurged.  ; )

**This is exactly the kind of discussion I hope to have on the forum.  I'm adding a post over there with some general fabric buying questions.  Come on over and tell us how you buy fabric.  Online?  In person? What size? For a project?  For your stash?**


  1. Great post! Very interesting, thanks for sharing your process.

    I find it difficult to choose coordinating prints online. I almost always end up eliminating a few prints from the stack when I see them in person, because the colors don't quite look like they did onscreen, etc. Does that tend to happen to you? If not, what's your secret? : )

    Of course, the ones I eliminate just end up in my stash, which is okay too, I guess!

  2. I love combining fabrics from different lines. And you did a great job with these. :)

  3. Great post! I don't buy too many fabrics online....usually only the fabrics I have seen or love but have a difficult time finding.
    I usually go through a similiar process although I think it becomes very intuitive...I also try to pay attention to warm and cool colors. Having both adds so much interest to the quilt!

  4. I usually buy fabric because I love it...

    I love the fabrics you showed and that yellow makes the daisy's pop!

  5. Thank you so much for such an informative post! I loved seeing your process.

  6. What a great post! I love reading through your thought process for picking the colors, the values, and the scale. This is quite a methodical approach which is going to make for a fabulous quilt! Definitely the way to go when pulling together fabrics. I like to use those "search by color" features too, and I love hearing that you open 20+ tabs to narrow down your choices.

  7. It is always great to see how fabric is selected. I need to take a color theory class to help me more! Thanks for sharing.

    Angie - www.craftedAngles.com

  8. I love that daisy print. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  9. Thanks for the fabric selection discussion! I still struggle with color and value especially.



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