Choosing Fabric Colors & Prints

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Choosing fabric colors and prints should be a fun experience. But sometimes it's confusing, even for experienced quilters. Not to worry. I'm going to teach you a basic, but effective way to select the right fabrics for your quilt.

It's worth the time to learn about fabric color. After all, you're investing time and money in your quilt. Make them sparkle with dynamic color combinations.

After reading this lesson, you might want to learn more about advanced color theory. Here are a few good books on the subject:

1. Color: The Quilter's Guide by Christine Barnes.

2. Jinny Beyer's Color Confidence For Quilters

Selecting Fabric Prints

  1. Choose small, medium and large-scale prints. This gives your quilt texture and movement, and it brings visual interest to the eyes.
  2. Small, Medium and Large Prints

  3. Choose light, medium and dark fabrics for contrast (value). Light fabrics recede, and dark fabrics pop out at you. This gives your quilt depth instead of a flat look.
  4. Light, Medium and Dark Colors

HINT: For help with color value, try the color evaluators. Hold this plastic tool over your fabric, and it hides the print. That way, you only see the color value. Use the red for warm colors and the green for cool colors.

Match the Dots

Here's another great trick. Look at this photo. See the row of colored dots along the edge of the fabric? These are dye markers. Each marker represents a certain fabric color in the print. All you have to do is select fabrics that match the dots. How easy is that?

Dye Dots

How I Select My Fabric Colors

Now I'm going to show you how I select my fabric colors. First, I choose ONE fabric that has a few colors in it.

Main Fabric

Next, I choose matching fabrics from the colors in the main fabric.

Matching Fabrics

The sample fabrics have all the basics:

  • Small, medium and large prints

  • Light, medium and dark fabrics

  • All fabric colors have been "pulled" from main fabric
When you're selecting fabric colors, keep the basic rules in mind. Your quilts will be so much more appealing.

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