Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fabric Selection

One part of the quilting process that was the most difficult for me as a new quilter was fabric selection.  It was terrifying.  I am not very fashionable and have never been very artistic, so for a long time I sewed almost exclusively with collections of fabric.

Now that I have been quilting for a few years, this is my favorite part of the process. I didn't say it is the easiest - it can still be challenging - but it is oh so much fun.  There are so many people out there who put together amazing fabric combinations and there are so many different ways to go about it, but I thought I would show you what I do.

1.  Build a stash of basics (of course there is a lot involved in building a stash and it deserves its own post, maybe someday).  It is up to you how much fabric you want to have on hand, but I think it is helpful to have basics.  These are fabrics that are primarily one color and that aren't too busy.  Probably about 90% of fabrics that I buy are basics, 5% are fabrics that are kind of crazy but that I love (though they rarely get used), and another 5% are fabrics that are on sale (or that I really love) that I buy for quilt backs.

2.  Pick a color palette.  Type in "color inspiration" into Pinterest and you will have more options than you know what to do with.  One thing that I like to do is to use a fabric for color inspiration.  I'm going to use this pretty voile which will also be the backing for the quilt.
fabric selection
3.  Pick a bunch of fabrics (mostly basics) that coordinate with your color inspiration.  I usually leave them on the counter in my sewing room and add and subtract fabrics over a few days.  Sometimes I stick to my color inspiration and sometimes I go in a completely different direction.
fabric selection
4.  And this is the part that has made fabric selection much easier for me: I put the fabrics in rainbow order.  I don't know if this will be helpful for you, but for me it lets me see if I have too many of certain shades or if I have fabrics that clash with each other.  This quilt isn't rainbowy, but arranging the fabrics in rainbow order helps me to edit the fabrics.  
fabric selection

That's how I do it.  If you are feeling uneasy about selecting fabrics, I guarantee that if you practice you will become more confident and your skills will improve dramatically.  

11 comments :

  1. Thanks for posting your process for fabric selection. This is still my downfall, but doing it this way makes it easier for me.

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  2. Love this. I always use pre-madeup bundles! :0) xx

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  3. I see a quilt design out of that first fabric...fun to emulate it as a quilt!

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  4. Fabric selection is always the most difficult for me and you're right - it just takes practice to get comfortable with it.

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  5. Mmm a delicious rainbow.Love them all. For me,choose fabrics for a new project is a challenge.Have fun playing with them!!

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  6. Very helpful thank you! I love your choices.

    I would love a posting on building a stash. Its a tough one for new quilters such as myself. There is so much to love out there today. I would buy everything I loved if I could.

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  7. Thanks for these tips! I've been quilting for years but fabric picking is my weakness. This helped! I'm making lap quilts for my church I started selecting fabric and just wasn't feeling it but this technic totally helped! I can't believe I never thought of it this way!

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  8. This is a nice, approachable explanation. Pretty fabrics!

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  9. That's a deceptively simple but very helpful tip - about arranging the fabrics in rainbow order to see if you have too much of an emphasis on one color, if things don't really match, etc. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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