Have you ever picked up a quilt pattern and wondered “how am I going to get my quilt to look like the sample”? Well, it’s easier than you think!
First, I’ll share a secret with you … maybe it’s not such a secret … but when you see fabric in a quilt, whether it’s an individual pattern or in a magazine, most likely that sample was made 6 months to a year ago! Unless a fabric company has a sample made with new fabric not in stores yet and plans to have the fabric and the pattern debut at the same time, you might not find the exact fabric shown in the pattern. Often fabric companies print limited quantities of a line and when it’s gone, it’s gone! So what’s a quilter to do?
Search for fabric by color family and print size so it reads like the original fabric!
See this red fabric?
If you can’t find this exact piece of fabric, then you look for something in the same color family and shade. So here’s a piece of fabric that is close to the same shade of red and also has a print about the same scale.
What if you pick up a pattern that says to choose 15 color print fat quarters; 5 light, 5 medium and 5 dark? Stumped? Don’t be! This is where the fun starts! Light, medium and dark is all relative. Here is a blue from my stash:
This may be considered a dark blue if it is paired with a lighter blue fabric. But look what happens when I choose the next blue fabric:
That first blue is lighter so you can use it as the “light”, if you are only using 2 blues in the project. Or it can be a medium blue if you are using 3 blues in the project.
Look at this next picture. I have 3 stacks of fabrics next to each other. Lights, mediums and darks. Some of these fabrics are the same color (there are 3 blues and 3 greens for example), but with the variation of shade and print it looks like you have 15 different colors. That’s the fun of scrap quilting!
So head to the fabric store and start stacking up the bolts!
Once you get that fabric home, make sure it’s prepared and ready for when you want to start your next project. If you are a pre-washer, get the fabrics washed, ironed and folded.
If you like scrap quilting, cut your larger pieces of fabric into fat quarters, fat eights and strips. Then you are ready to pull out smaller cuts when needed or pile up a rainbow of strips for that log cabin quilt!
Store your fabrics by size and color in labeled stack-able tubs. This makes finding the fabrics you want easier so you can get to the cutting and sewing. Here are some of my tubs that I’ve shown you before on my blog:
Organization keeps the fun happening!
So, leave me a comment on how you approach color when planning a quilting project. Do you follow the pattern choices to the letter or do you go off on your own in the quilt shop and experiment? I will pick a winner from the comments and you will receive a copy of my two newest patterns! I’ll pick the winner on Thursday, April 5th. **Congrats! We have a winner: Judy U.****
Thank you for the awesome tips, It was very helpful.
Gail N says
Your fabrics and patterns are awesome!
Gail N says
When I look at a pattern, I first think of the fabrics that are my stash favorites that would fit the design. If I favor the ones on the pattern, I’ll try to find some of those and work around them with what I have.
That’s the key!
charlene spurlock says
I love how you have it sorted by color & size in the bins. Great idea.
Thanks! Organization is the only way I can find what I need.
Sometimes I will follow the fabrics in the photo, but most of the time I will choose fabrics based on the value of those in the design. That for me is the fun part of quilting, choosing fabrics I like.
Nan V. says
I guess I’m kind of a rebel. If I use someone else’s pattern, I use different fabrics. I have to make the quilt mine somehow, and using the same pattern and same fabric makes a beautiful copy, but without any of my personality in it. I start with whatever color moves me that day, and head off from there.
That’s great! And when you make a quilt in completely different fabrics and colors, it looks completely different.
It depends on the complexity of the project on whether or not I follow the same colors or not.
That makes sense. If there are a lot of pieces it probably helps to follow the pattern closely.
Maggi Kimberling says
i think picking out the colors is the best part.
It is fun!
Judy U says
Love the colors of your fabric pick.
Cathy B says
I often ti.es go off the pattern as I like to pull smaller pieces from my scraps. Your quilts always have a nice array of colors. <3
Love digging in the scrap bag!
Robin McGuire says
I love scrappy quilts so I usually pull fabric from my stash, with maybe a new fat quarter or two purchased. Love your patterns and would love to win!
Deb Roberts says
I usually try to choose my first fabrics for a quilt from my stash. Then I may add a piece or two of a new fabric. Sometimes I think the colors in a quilt is what attracts me to that particular pattern & I may try to use the same colors.
True. Sometimes the quilts do make the pattern successful.
Mary Bailey says
As a relatively new quilter, this is the hardest part for me. I tend to buy a kit or fabric from a line, or ask my favorite quilt shop owner for help!
Definitely a great idea if you are new to picking out fabric.
I am very good at “planned” scrappy, but I am still working on true scrappy. Your post is very helpful! I usually do my own thing with patterns and make them in my favorite colors.
I do a lot of “planned” scrappy myself.
Suz Kuhns says
excellent tips! choosing colors is my worst nightmare – I have a stash because when I get home I look at the fabric and wonder what I was thinking. Over the years I’ve purchased kits, used fabrics from a collection and now have started making scrappy quilts. I’m just recently starting to cut fabric down to different sizes.
Having smaller cuts of fabric is a great way to grow a stash for scrap quilting!
I love patterns. Have more patterns than stash.
Julie Holahan says
Thanks for these tips. I always have problems picking out fabrics on my own.
Hope they help!
Great tips! Choosing fabrics is always the hardest part for me! I used to have to match the fabrics to the pattern, but have gotten away from that. Thanks for sharing! HUGS… and stitches
Glad to help!
Shannon Thomason says
Great tips! I’m one of those quilters that my Scrappy projects have to match. This will make it much easier for me to find fabrics that “match” AND do Scrappy!!
Joy Meetis says
I usually like to stay with the colors that the pattern uses. That is one reason I choose certain patterns. Now what my stash has in it is another story!
I love helping others choose fabrics; but for some reason when I choose my own I am less positive about my choices. So often I go from the sample and change it only a little to suit myself; sometimes I get brave and choose my own colors.
Linda Jarnecke says
Unless I want a quilt in a certain color grouping (greens, blues, or reds) I tend to follow the colors on the pattern photo….that way I can’t go wrong. I also purchase no more than 1 1/2 yards of any print except for backing fabric, this way I have a wide variety of prints and colors to pick from. Civil War prints are my favorite’s unless I’m making a baby quilt, then I go bright.
Angelia Ulrich says
I’m learning to go w/changing things from a sample or pattern.
Rose Weber says
I’m still a bit nervous, but trying to learn the best methods.