The Making of a Quilt (ballerina) – Fabric

by Kate on March 21, 2011

Thanks for popping back for the second installment in ‘The Making of a Quilt’ series. If you missed the first installment, you can find it here.

Putting fabrics together for a quilt is by far my favourite part of the entire process but I have to admit that selecting fabrics for this quilt kind of stumped me.

I was gifted a stunning piece of vintage barkcloth by Kirst. It is, without a doubt, the most spectacular piece of fabric I have ever clapped eyes on and given it’s beauty, I really wanted it to standout.

So, why the stumped feeling? Well, the primary colours here are purple, duck egg blue and coral. You can take it from me, there are not THAT many fabrics in coral (or that co-ordinate with coral) and I’m not really a purple girl but after half an hour up at patchwork, I realised that I needed to embrace ‘the purple’.

These are the supporting fabrics that I ended up going with.

Not a huge selection (which is different from how I normally approach selecting fabrics) but as I mentioned, I want the barkcloth to be the standout. There are only going to be small amounts of these fabrics scattered throughout the quilt and lots of white will be used.

How do I normally pick fabrics for a quilt?

Last week, Kirst asked: ‘Do you always start from a “feature” fabric or do you just haul all the blues out of the stash?’ It really depends on what sort of quilt I am making. If I am making something primarily from scraps then I may pick one colour and add fabrics that are varying shades, you can see examples of this here, here and here.

The other way I tend to put fabrics together is to pick a feature fabric, preferably one that has at least 2-3 colours in it and I work my choices around this fabric. I generally try to select at least 8 different types of fabric, I believe it creates more interest and pushes me to select fabrics that I may not have initially thought worked. It is these pieces that almost always end up being the piece of fabric that makes the quilt.

Sunday Stash #28

Pillow Talk Round 2

Liberty and Japanese fabrics are great feature fabrics to use. They may be expensive (especially the Liberty) but a little goes a long way and most prints have a few different colours which makes it a little easier for me. You can see how I have done this here, here and here.

Sarah T asked: ‘How do you know if fabrics are 1. appropriate for quilting, and 2. if different fabrics will work well together (and I mean as far as weight and texture rather than color and pattern)? I’d also love to know if you feel like fabric selection is more something people either do or do not have an eye for or its is a skill that you can develop though practice?’ I use good quality cotton and linen fabric for quilts and love the look of different weighted fabric used together. Linen almost always shrinks so it is a good idea to pre-wash before using.

When it comes to fabric selection I think some people have a fairly instinctive approach but I do think the more you experiment the better and more confident you can become. Rita, recently wrote a fantastic post about colour and if you haven’t already read it, I would take a look.

There are also a few places online that I go to for regular bursts of inspiration and colour combos. The color collective is a great place to start as is Emma Lamb’s regular colour palette series.

I really try to just have a bit of fun with it, at the end of the’s only a quilt ;)

Next Monday, I will be going over all things cutting! Hope to see you then x

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