We hope you enjoy this article on fabric selection – if you’d like more of this type of content, including video tutorials and new projects every month, we’d like you to consider joining The Art of Home Club. In this fun community you can work on exclusive projects with fellow quilting “neighbors” every month, and learn new techniques to incorporate into your projects. Visit www.theartofhomeclub.com to find out more!
For 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:
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:
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 :)
Such a brilliant and helpful tutorial, thank you
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!
Yes, this is a big problem for me! I put together and take away so many times, then I give up :)
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!
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!
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!!
Also, LOVE the hexagon table runner. This is prob going to be the only hexie I ever make!
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!)
Your choices are wonderful and it is fun to see how they came about. The table runner is gorgeous!
Thanks Mary! I hope you will give this project a try and send me some photos!
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 !
Your fabric choices are great and the table runner is gorgeous!!!
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
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”.
Great tutorial Jacquelyn. Lone the white inserts in each hexie and the thick stitches around each one. Really sets them off nicely.
Lots of fun projects to make.