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Ooh La La!

Picking Fabric like a Pro!

I will probably do more than one post on this topic because there really is quite a lot to say about it! I wish I had a dime for every time someone (usually strangers) asked me for help selecting fabric while browsing in the fabric store. I am typically packing a pallet of scraps around looking for just the right shade to complete whatever I am working on, so this makes me an easy target for others doing the same thing. I love it! Seriously, if you see me in a store don’t hesitate to ask if this is your struggle.

There are a few easy questions I ask right up front to get a feel for where their project is going. Number one is: who is this for? If they say their son-in-law, I know to steer clear of anything girly looking. You can start with one fabric that seems to set the tone and work from there; this is usually considered the focus fabric. The last thing to really think about is the overall feel you want the quilt to have. Do you want a bold clear statement, soft romantic tone or earthy natural shade? This will determine the fabrics you ultimately put together.

Some fabrics have a gray undertone that sends the color in a whole different direction then you may want. One way to see if this is the case, is to take a picture of the fabrics all lined up, side by side. The photo has a way of flattening out the colors so you can get a better idea of the value that is underneath the color. I almost never use the little colored dots printed on the selvage edge; they are very misleading because they don’t represent the feel of the original fabric. It’s more like the numbers printed on a paint can label saying so many squirts of this and so many squirts of that went into making this color :)

So, here’s a sneak peak of my latest project. I started with an inspiration board something like this.

Champagne color palette

I love the super soft pale pink trending this spring. I am not a pink girl at all but something about this almost nude/white/pink is very refreshing. I took these pics to the fabric store with me and started the hunt for my focus fabric, the cherry blossom fabric. From there, I worked my way backward trying to get as close to white as possible with all the shades in between. What I have planned is a kind of ombre star on an eggshell white background… stay tuned!

Here is another example of this process on a Metro Rings quilt I did, last year. This one has thirty-five shades from white all the way to deep seafoam turquoise. Yes, thirty-five different colors! I planned it out ahead of time so I would know where the color breaks would be and then headed to the fabric store. I took several pictures to see the value flatten out and rearranged the bolts over and over again. The finished quilt is one of my favorites and totally worth the extra planning.

Last, but not least, is the new Entangled Sky quilt.

I really wanted to capture all the colors in a sunset and watch the “sky” change. Here is the collage of inspiration shots I collected before going to the fabric store…

You can see, I chose three shades in each of the three main “cloud” colors. I started with the darkest shade of each and worked my way backwards.

This helped keep things balanced, even though I was working with gold, orange, and purple. Their values are pretty suited for each other because their anchor fabric

(or darkest shade) is balanced with the others. I hope all that made sense! Haha!

Happy Sunday, everyone!


Follow all my quilty adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Visit my website for free tutorials and tips. If you like my patterns, you can buy them on Etsy, and here on the website.

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