Cooking Up a Quilt: Tips for Selecting Fabrics

Every great quilt, like every great meal, requires quality ingredients combined with skill. Let’s head for the market, a.k.a. your local quilt shop, and select everything we need to make a super-yummy quilt:

rotated cooking up a quilt Cooking Up a Quilt: Tips for Selecting FabricsEntrée – (n) the main dish of a meal. For quilters, the focal fabric of the project. A large print like the leaf print on the left in the photo collage above is a great place to start your fabric selections. Fabric combinations benefit from the inclusion of small, medium, and large print motifs, and a wide border is a great place to feature a large print.

Side dishes – (n) foods served as accompaniments to the main course. In quilting, the supporting fabrics can draw inspiration from the focal fabric. We selected 4 color families featured in the border print for our “side dishes”, the small squares of fabric shown above. Choose a number of fabrics in each color family if you want a scrappy look to your quilt. Varying color value (light to dark), scale (size of the print), and texture adds depth to your design. All florals may be nice, but a few stripes and checks, a couple of geometric prints, maybe even an animal or other novelty print in one or more of your color families can add a lot of interest and provide a feeling of structure. Select your proportion of dark and light prints based on how bright an effect you want to achieve in your quilt.

Condiments – (n) substances such as relish, vinegar, or spice, used to flavor or complement food. Like food, quilts benefit from just a dash of the unexpected! A plaid inner border, or one with an unusual print or an unexpected but complementary color, could be the perfect touch to bring your quilt extra life. Check out the fabric strips in the center of the photo above for some examples. Just remember, a little bit of spice is perfect. In this case, less is generally more.

Dessert (!) – (n) a sweet served at the end of a meal. Like great dinners, quilts are more memorable when they finish with a special treat like those shown on the right side of the photo collage. There are any number of fabulous finales you might choose for your project. Consider a great binding fabric or edge treatment, such as prairie points or cording. Unusual quilting, perhaps with metallic or variegated thread, always draws the eye. Even the quilt back can provide that little something extra…consider a wonderful backing fabric or a unique quilt label. A touch of something sweetly special will finish your quilt in style.

Now that you’re thinking about selecting fabrics for a quilt as you would planning a menu, let your own taste be your guide. You’re sure to end up with a delicious, satisfying creation you can display with pride.

You might also enjoy:
America Makes FAST QUILTS 2009
Surprise Yourself! DVD
Out of the Box: Unleash Your Creativity Through Quilts

This entry was posted in Color Inspirations, Kathy Patterson, Quilting Community, Quilting Inspiration, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cooking Up a Quilt: Tips for Selecting Fabrics

  1. Jean Blackmer says:

    Thanks so much for this tip. I love this fabric. Where can I purchase some of it to make my own quilt?

  2. Bella Winslet says:

    Hey Kathy,
    I have bookmarked your blog and will follow all your upcoming posts in future. It’s a fantastic blog post about how to select fabrics for quilts. The way you have written this post and compared quilting to cooking a delicious recipe has made me a big fan of your writing. Choosing fabric for quilting is very important and also it’s very important to choose the colors of the fabric. I love to play with colors so I always search for a better fabric with great color. Yesterday I found another good blog about quilting; you can visit the blog here http://www.warpandweft.ca/blog/ .

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