6 Fabric Selection Tips

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Today I'm guest posting over at Martingale's blog and sharing a little video about fabric selection.  (And if you decide to head over and check it out, I MUST warn you that I am the most awkward person EVER when I get in front of a lens.  I think I try not to be too hyper and then I come across on the other end of the spectrum.  Oh, so embarrassing!  I know I could never be an actress!)

So, fabric selection, do you love it or hate it?  

I love it!  But from my many years of working in a fabric store, I've learned that many quilters are overwhelmed with that part of the quilt-making process.  If you fall into that category, use the following tips to give you more confidence at the start of your next project.

Tip #1:  Gather inspiration!

Find one article of clothing, a piece of artwork or a piece of fabric that speaks to you!  Use that as your starting off point.  As I tried to re-create my Growing Up quilt (from my new book, Vintage Vibe) in a different color-way, I used this vinyl wall decal that I purchased from Target as my inspiration piece.

Tip #2: Pull colors, style or graphics 
from your inspiration piece.   

Because I already had a quilt pattern to use, I didn't need to pull graphics for the design part of this project.  But I did want to use the wall decal as my color inspiration.  I decided to focus primarily on the black, white, pinks, and gold in the decal.  I felt that by sticking with those colors I was staying more true to my inspiration piece.  After some debating I chose to use grey for the stems on this quilt (as opposed to green) because I wanted to keep it classy and modern.  Using green would have completely changed the look of this quilt by the way.  Try to imagine it!  

Tip #3: Audition and eliminate fabrics.

Go through the possible fabric candidates and decide whether you love them or hate them.  Make sure they have the right "feel" (are you going for modern, traditional, etc.) and make sure you like the color.  Many people worry about whether or not a particular fabric is a "perfect" match.  My rule of thumb is that if you don't notice in the first few seconds of looking at it, then it's fine!  I think it adds depth and personality to have some variation!

Tip #4: Create balance.

It's okay to use different shades of one color as long as they are used repetitively throughout the quilt.  Having that color pop up here and there will create balance.

Tip #5: Give your eyes a place to rest.

I LOVE scrappy quilts!  I love using as many different fabrics that I can in a quilt!  The more the merrier, in my opinion.  But I never want my block pattern to get lost.  So, it's important to have one unifying piece of fabric in your quilt (whether it's your background fabric or using at least one solid).  It gives a quilt "order", freshness and really lets your blocks sing!  And, I love having contrast.  Contrast is always good.  

Tip #6: Love it?  Then use it!

Everyone of us has a different personality and I believe our quilts should reflect that.  Be unique, be you and don't be afraid to think outside the box!  If you love a particular fabric or color then use it!  It'll bring you happiness every time you see it and you can't beat that!  Also, do some research!  I love to go to my Pinterest boards to see what images I'm drawn to and then I study them to see exactly what it is about them that I love!  You'll learn a lot along the way too but trust your instincts!

If you follow these simple tips you're sure to put together something wonderful and I hope you now feel more confident to put together beautiful quilts inspired by things you love!

The Growing Up quilt pattern is available in my new book, Vintage Vibe.
Head on over to Martingale's blog today where you can enter to win your very own e-copy!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

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