Building Your Stash - Low Volume Prints

Cotton + Steel Scrappy Modern Postage Stamp Quilt

One aspect of my stash that I rely on very heavily is my stash of low volume prints. A fabric is low volume if it has a subtle design or texture that isn't distracting and is predominately a white/cream/light tan color although it may have accents of other colors. There are lots of really fun low volume prints out there and they are a great way to add a little interest to your quilt.


I'm going to walk you through the purpose of having low volume prints in your stash, how they can be used in your quilts effectively, and then at the bottom I will suggest some low volume prints that would be worth having in your stash.


building your fabric stash - kitchen table quilting

The Purpose of Having Low Volume Prints in Your Stash

I use low volume prints in two different ways:
  • Mix them in with a bundle of fabric to calm things down a little bit - if you are using a bunch of bright fabrics, try mixing in a low volume print or two. For example, I used a variety of low volume scraps in this version of my Cleo Quilt pattern - they help provide contrast and lighten things up. 
  • In place of a solid as a "background" fabric in a quilt. Most quilt patterns involve a background fabric and generally people will use a solid white, cream, or gray. Those are all wonderful options, but I love using a low volume print instead because it adds a little bit of visual interest and (let's be honest) with 3 kids in the house, it helps hide any spills that might show up on your quilt. 
If you are using a low volume print for your background fabric, you can either use a single print like the quilt below. 

The Maggie Quilt Pattern - Kitchen Table Quilting

Or you can use a variety of low volume prints. One really nice thing about using a variety is that you do not need a large cut of fabric for your background fabric, you just need a bunch of small cuts or even scraps.

The Carol Quilt

I maintain a large stash of low volume prints - both smaller cuts (fat quarters and half yards usually) and larger cuts (2-3 yard pieces). 

How to use low volume prints effectively

Here are some things to think about when picking low volume prints:
  • Your background fabric should have a lot of contrast with the other fabrics in your quilt so everything doesn't blend together. Using a low volume print will work more often when your other fabrics are darker valued - if you are using a lot of pastels, it is a little trickier.
  • Make sure there isn't a ton of contrast within your low volume print - if I have a white fabric with large black polka dots, it probably won't work as a low volume print.

Stashing Low Volume Prints - Kitchen Table Quilting

These are some of the larger cuts that I have in my stash - lately I have been really drawn to neon or very bright colors in low volume prints like these bottom 3 prints - I love those hot pink tiny dots. 

I have REALLY enjoyed using fun low volume prints when I make my Modern Postage Stamp pattern - check out these three different versions. The pattern is fairly simple but the fun "background" fabrics add a lot of interest (it is kind of hard to see in the third photo but the fabric has tiny, neon orange plus shapes). 

Zuma Modern Postage Stamp Quilt - Kitchen Table QuiltingRainbow Modern Postage Stamp Quilt - Kitchen Table QuiltingCotton + Steel Scrappy Modern Postage Stamp Quilt

One thing to remember is that not all low volume prints will work in every project. Check out the photo below - I would use these 3 fabrics differently.
  • If the fabric has a prominent, regular geometric pattern like the fabric on the left, I wouldn't want to use it in a project where I was going to cut it up in tiny pieces and then sew it back together because the pattern would get lost and look disjointed. 
  • The fabric in the middle has some dark-ish blue semi-circle shapes - these would be distracting in a lot of projects so unless my other fabrics were pretty dark and not very busy, this one might be overwhelming. 
  • The fabric on the right pretty much just reads as a solid and could be used in almost any project. This Add it Up print is a great one to have in your stash.

Stashing Low Volume Prints - Kitchen Table Quilting

Low Volume Recommendations

Here are some prints that are currently available that would be useful to have on hand. I am going to give you one list of prints that would be versatile and one list that would be fun to have on hand for a more adventurous project.

Versatile Low Volume Prints

Fun Low Volume Prints (these work particularly well for scrap quilts)

I hope you found this information helpful - if you are joining in with the Violet QAL later this month, the low volume prints in the first list above would be great choices for your quilt. 

4 comments

  1. Love this post!! You gave great information on low volume fabrics, which I certainly don’t think enough about,nor have many in my stash. Your article has been so inspiring!! My granddaughter is graduating from high school and wants a quilt of grays and creams. We have decided on a great pattern of star blocks with a background fabric. Because of your article, I will be looking for a low volume fabric. Thank you so much!!

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a beautiful quilt for your granddaughter! I think low volume prints would make a great addition.

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