Beginner Quilting Series: Choosing Fabric for a Quilt

Welcome to the beginner quilting series that I am hosting to prepare you for the On-Point QAL!
Today in the beginner quilting series, we are talking about choosing fabric!

First, you can find the other posts in this series here-

   Available Cuts of Fabric


In the next two weeks I'll be sharing a few more 'Beginner Quilting Series' posts to get us ready for the On Point QAL, which starts March 1st!

You can read more about the On Point QAL-

     Solid Option Fabric Requirements and Schedule (plus lots of colored version for ideas)

     Print/Scrappy Option Fabric Requirements

So, let's get into choosing fabric!

I do not think choosing fabric is an exact science.  There are lots of different ways to do this...color theory, contrasting colors, balancing out the scales of the prints, etc...  Each person you ask has a different way of doing it and lots of people may even think there is a right way and a wrong way.  I am not one of those people.  So, if you'd like, you can read on to see how I choose fabric for quilts and but feel free to also read more about this on other websites.  It is mostly about finding what works for you :)

First off, I LOVE using precuts or yardage from the same line.  I enjoy working with fabric lines because I love how the designer thought about making the fabrics interact together and play off of each other.  I make tons of quilts using one line in each one and they sing because the fabrics were designed to go together.

Here is one I made using a line called Painted Garden by Crystal Manning for Moda Fabrics.  I'll be releasing this as a free pattern later this year and I'll be hosting a Quilt Along for it- follow me on Instagram @jessicadayon to make sure you know when its happening so you can join.

Second, I am inspired by a color palette in nature or elsewhere (not in the quilting world).  Sometimes I see colors together elsewhere and I love the way they look so much, that I decide to try to replicate the colors with fabric and create a quilt out of them.  This is easily done with solids.  You can buy color cards from your favorite solid manufacturer and you can go though all the solids and find the ones that match your palette and then get started with your quilt.  However, you can also do this with prints.  You can use the palette that you are looking to create and pull from your print stash (or buy fat quarters) to try to replicate the main colors of the palette.

If you need palette ideas, you can go to Design Seeds and browse all of their wonderful palettes!  Here is an example-

Image credit- Design Seeds { comfort tones } image via: @amermyla

Once you have a palette, you can either match the colors to fabrics yourself.  Or, you can use something like Palette Builder by Moda Fabrics.  Follow the directions on the screen there and you find Bella Solids that match to your palette in the image you upload.

Third, I love creating one or two color quilts. You can choose to create a one color quilt and use lots of shades of that color (prints or not, up to you).  These are really fun and every time I make one, I instantly what to do another.

I made this one for one of my daughters, whose favorite color is blue.  I love it!

Also, two color quilts are insanely popular for a reason!  They are really fun to make and turn out beautifully every time!  It can be as simple as using two solids (example red and white) or you can use one solid (like white) and lots of prints of another color (like reds).  I feel like any color you choose plus white will always be a winning combination.

Here is one I made in solid red and white.  It was a first go at a pattern that I'm still perfecting.  But even though it's not perfect, it is still so pretty.

Last, try not to get yourself too worked up about choosing fabric.  Seriously, sometimes you amaze yourself at the fabrics you chose and how they worked so beautifully together and sometimes the idea was better in your head.  But, I promise, every time you do it, you get a little bit better at finding what your style exactly is and you only improve with every fabric you choose and every quilt you make.  So, try to enjoy the process and have fun :)

Now a little bit about choosing fabric for the On Point QAL...

In my first post about the QAL, I showed you lots and lots of color versions.  Go here to read that again.  If you are thinking you want to use solids but are having a hard time deciding, I'd go through the options that I have provided and just choose a favorite color and go with that for this time.

If you are thinking you want to use prints, this quilt will be great because it is precut friendly!  For the prints, you can buy one Layer cake (which is 42- 10" squares) or you can buy 4 Charm packs (which would be four packs of 42- 5" squares).  Using precuts make it easy (liked I talked about above) because the fabrics in the line are specifically designed to work nicely with each other.  You'll also need to get background fabric and how much you'll need of that depending on the two types of print versions that you can make so go back to the post here to read more about the fabric requirements.

I hope this helped give you some confidence in choosing fabric for your quilts!  If you have any questions, let me know!

Talk soon,