Choosing fabrics

Chris got a yummy-but-very-useful Christmas present – each month she gets to choose 3 fat quarters from our local quilt shop Pollyanna Patchwork.  It’s the brainwave of her very smart daughter who has spent enough time in the company of quilters to know just what keeps us happy!  Which got us to thinking about choosing fabrics generally – there are so many out there, just how do you make a start on putting choices together for a project?  And how do you know they will work?  Here’s a few of our top tips –

Start with a fabric you love/don’t mind/quite like, preferably multi-colour

Add in colours (solids or tone-on-tone) that you’ve picked out from your first choice

Try to include light and dark values

Vary the scale of the prints to increase the visual interest – small, medium and large scale prints all have a part to play

If you want a scrappy-but-pulled-together look choose prints that are different in style

See if a stripe or check (or both) adds more character

















The pics above are random selections (with one green leafy fabric appearing in both) – in the first selection there is a good mix of types of print to make it interesting, in the second selection the focus is more on picking out some of  the colours from the colourful feather print and the result is less interesting.

A great way to cheat at all of the above is to find a quilt shop and ask them to help!  We found this cunning wheeze a long time ago at White Cottage Country Crafts ( – owner Jacquie Taylor has done many years of quilting, teaching and helping others, and she’s got a great “eye” for putting fabrics together (probably why she has a shop in the first place?!).   Jacquie trades at a number of national shows including Quilts in the Garden at Trentham and Quilts UK and her stand is always busy.


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