Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tip Tuesday! - Fabric Selection

Welcome to
"Tip Tuesday!"

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give credit where credit is due whenever possible.
These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired! 

Fabric Selection

Even though I said there would be no real order to these posts, I decided to start with the question I am most asked by students. "How do I chose fabric for quilts?"

I used to stress about picking fabrics for my quilts and quite honestly, I sometimes still struggle with this; but I've come up with a couple of different ways to look at choosing fabrics and maybe one will work for you. Trust me, once you quit worrying about it, fondling picking fabric is fun! (This post might be a bit long. Sorry, but I think the information is very valuable!)

Choosing fabric really is no different then getting dressed in the morning.
We decide on a main article of clothing (focus fabric) and then start adding accessories (coordinating/supporting fabrics).

Maybe a pair of pants is where we begin and them we chose a blouse or sweater. That's pretty easy. In terms of quilting, you've just picked your focus fabric and main coordinating/supporting fabric.

Ok, now do we want to add a scarf? What about your jewelry? Maybe earrings for that touch of sparkle, or a necklace to help blend or tie all the pieces together. These are all coordinating/supporting fabrics also, but there is just less of them. They are important and can take your quilt from just ok to spectacular!

Now, for the finale. What about your shoes ? How do we wrap up this outfit to have a great, yet stunning ending? Your shoes do the same thing for your outfit that binding can do for your quilts. Pick something stunning and daring!

Easy Peasy!!

Ok, if the outfit thing doesn't work for you, how about an analogy to food? Food is always good, right? Especially if chocolate is involved!

So, let's make choosing great fabrics like fixing a great meal. You need ingredients for a meal and your fabrics are the ingredients for your quilts.

Main Dish or Entree' = Focus Fabric
Choose a print or fabric that you love! Consider the scale of the print when making these chooses. Quilts look great when there is a mixture of small, medium and large scale prints. Large scale prints look great as borders, but they can be cut up and pieced into blocks as well. What is that the Life Cereal commercial used to say? "Try it Mikey! You'll like it!"

Side Dishes =  Coordinating/Supporting Fabrics
Remember that when you're fixing a meal, you should try to have a good mixture of color and texture on your plate for a more healthy and balanced meal. (That healthy option often includes those surprisingly tasty green and yellow veggies. Who would have thought they would be so good?) Just like adding side dishes to compliment your main dish, use your focus fabric to help pick the coordinating/supporting fabrics. Remember, you get to choose how many, what colors, what prints, etc. Don't be afraid! Pick a couple of color families and start pulling fabrics from them to use. For a more scrappy look, vary the color values within each family (pale lavender to deep purple, for example), or mix and match the prints and textures of your selections.  

Condiments = "Touch of Spice" Fabrics
Sometimes you just need to add a touch of salt, pepper, vinegar, etc. to flavor your food. Well, adding just a dash of an unexpected color or print can do wonders to your quilt. Think about adding a narrow plaid border, or a red piping. What about those dreaded stripes? They just might be the answer to the question of how to "fix" a boring quilt. Just try it! Audition the fabrics. Be sure to remember that just like salt, less is actually more. You may decide that although you love that orange print, a little goes a long way - just like spinach.

Dessert = Backing/Binding/Quilting
There isn't much better than capping off a great meal with a fabulous dessert. Think of your backing, binding and quilting in the same way. Piecing your backing can add a whimsical or dramatic touch to your quilt. It may even look like you have a reversible quilt - two quilts in one!

Variegated or metallic thread can really add a wow factor to a project. While you're at it, why not choose an unusual quilt design. Although stitch in the ditch is really cool, quilting meandering stars would really make your red, white and blue quilt light up the sky like the fourth of July! 

Explore how prairie points or cording might look to finish off your quilt. Why not choose that plaid fabric and cut it on the bias to bind the quilt? You know it'll look fabulous and trust me, it really isn't that hard to do!

See? I told you picking fabric can be fun.
What's the worst thing that could happen?
The fabric you chose isn't exactly what you wanted. 
Look at it this way, you've just had a Stash Enhancing eXperience (quilters' sex)! 


Annie said...

Thanks for the analogies. I will dress myself, have a four course meal, choose my fabric and quilt, quilt, quilt!

Annie said...

Thanks for the analogies. I will dress myself, have a four course meal, choose my fabric and quilt, quilt, quilt!