Jacquelynne Steves

How to Choose Quilt Fabrics- Winter Blues

HexieTableRunner_JacquelynneStevesFor me, the funnest (is that a word??) part of making a project is choosing the palette and fabrics. I love playing with them to see how they work together, adding fabrics in, and taking them out, until I find just the right balance. Sometimes it comes together really quickly, and other times it takes a long time to find what works. However, I know a lot of people struggle with how to choose quilt fabrics. So today, I thought I’d show you my “fabric auditioning” process for my Winter Blues project, which you can get for free when you sign up for my free newsletter.

I knew I wanted this project to be blue and gray- I generally like pretty bright, clear colors, but I felt that in being “true” to the winter season, some gray was essential! So I started by pulling a bunch of blue and gray fabrics from my stash. I knew I wanted a total of 7 fabrics for the project:Blues1_JSteves

First I pulled out of the grays and gray blues:


Then I added in some dark blues. Even though these are dark blues, I chose ones with a bit of “brightness” to them- not too dark, as I needed to start lightening up that heavy, dull gray:Blues3_JSteves

Next, I tried a robin’s egg blue. Not quite turquoise or aqua, and not too bright- because it has to “play nicely” with that gray. Choosing a robin’s egg blue with just a touch of gray or “muddiness” to it ensures that it won’t clash with those grays:


OK- there’s a lot of gray there! Time to start weeding it out… I chose 2 gray tonal fabrics that I really like. I got rid of the one with pink flowers (pretty, but I didn’t want to add in that pink, I wanted to keep the palette straightforward) and I got rid of the one with the cream background for the same reason:


So now I have 6 fabrics, and I need just one more. In looking at the 6 I’ve chosen, I feel like it needs something to accompany that robin’s egg blue- I feel like it’s “sticking out” a bit. I audition some other lighter blues and aquas. The one below is too purple, and I don’t like the way the check is too similar to that gray houndstooth that I already choose:


This is a pretty blue, but not quite right, not “aqua” enough:


I really like the new fabric on the bottom left! But the color is very similar to the small dot that I’ve already chosen. Sometimes, even when you love an individual fabric, you need to throw it out if it doesn’t “play well” with the others (don’t worry- you can give it a good “home” in one of your future projects!!):


That very pale robin’s egg blue paisley is just right- it complements the other robin’s egg blue dot fabric, but it’s lighter in value. And the paisley is interesting and different from all of the other prints. This is it! My final fabric selection:


So that’s it! Fabric selection is a lot of trial and error, but it’s so much fun! And you can arrange and re-arrange your fabrics to your heart’s content :)


Have ACozyColorful Day-Snowflake_JacquelynneSteves


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    Posted January 17, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Such a brilliant and helpful tutorial, thank you

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted January 20, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Thanks Melody- glad you found it helpful! I happen to love fabric selection, but I know that a lot people find it intimidating- but it needn’t be!

  • Posted January 20, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this is a big problem for me! I put together and take away so many times, then I give up :)

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted January 21, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Don’t give up Christine! You can also ask for some help at your local quilt shop- you can always find someone there who loves choosing fabrics and would love to help!

  • Shelley
    Posted January 21, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I have looked all over the web for your “Kashmir” fabric line of fabric. I thought I saw where it was being produced by Henry Glass, but may be mistaken. Is there somewhere I can look for the Kashmir fabrics and especially the pattern of diamond shapes in a square quilt? The peacock panel is also a fav of mine. Thanks ever so much for any help. I so love you mag/newsletter/updates!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted January 21, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      HI Shelley- unfortunately that fabric line ended up not getting printed :( I hope you can find some other fabric that you like for your project!!

  • Shelley
    Posted January 21, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Also, LOVE the hexagon table runner. This is prob going to be the only hexie I ever make!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted January 21, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I felt the need to jump on the “hexie bandwagon” to see what all the fuss was around- and yes, they were a lot of fun to make :) I will probably do more hexie projects in the future (when I find the time!)

  • Posted January 21, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Your choices are wonderful and it is fun to see how they came about. The table runner is gorgeous!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted January 21, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks Mary! I hope you will give this project a try and send me some photos!

  • Fran Wiest
    Posted January 21, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Just want to say that I LOVE the new issue of The Art of Home EMagazine! I can’t wait to try all your recipes, and the Valentine Mug Rugs are just perfect! Thank you !

  • Posted January 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Your fabric choices are great and the table runner is gorgeous!!!

  • Jacquelynne
    Posted January 22, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you Fran and Marilyn! I hope you will send me photos of your finished projects! You can either email me or post them on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacquelynne-Steves/543549752352215?skip_nax_wizard=true

  • Sharon Spaulding
    Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the awesome website! This is my first intro. to it and I really appreciate all the great info. and the quote from Marybeth Chapman. It is so true, AND I will quote it too—“Love of God is pure when Joy and suffering inspire and equal degree of gratitude”.

  • Sarah Edwards
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Great tutorial Jacquelyn. Lone the white inserts in each hexie and the thick stitches around each one. Really sets them off nicely.

2 Trackbacks

  • By In the studio this week... - Jacquelynne Steves on February 3, 2015 at 11:30 am

    […] have no idea why I am so into the gray and blue lately??) I am anxious to see how this one will turn out, because the blocks I’ve designed […]

  • By On The Go Quilting » Friday Finds, February 13 on February 13, 2015 at 12:42 am

    […] some fabrics and chooses others.  Perhaps you’ll find this helpful.   You can see it HERE on her Art of Home blog.  Sign up and you can get a pattern for a lovely winter hexie table runner […]

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