Common mistake when choosing quilt fabric colors.

Top things to keep in mind when choosing fabric colors for a quilt pattern design.

If you are new to quilting, as a beginner you look forward to going fabric shopping at your favorite quilt shop. You enter with big dreams and hopes to find the perfect fabric color for your quilt pattern that you are excited to start. Only to be overwhelmed by all the fabric color options. It is always good for quilters to have a plan for the colors you will choose based on where the quilt will be displayed or if you are gifting the quilt to someone else. If the quilt is used in a particular room in the home, consider taking a photo of the room with your phone for some reference, this will help you stay focused, so you don't stray.

I've been quilting for a very long time and made so many quilts. Even with this experience as a quilter it is easy to get sidetracked. When I started quilting, I would just take off with abandon and not really think about how using one color fabric would sit next to another. I now have learned to appreciate the time when choosing fabrics for my quilt designs to make it look cohesive.

Contrast is Queen/King when you want your quilt design to be seen.

I am going to show you one quilt pattern Pinot Vines using different color pallets, some are successful, and some are mistakes. Let's start with the mistakes. The two quilt top photos below show how not having enough contrast in value of the fabric color, you lose the piecing design because you can't see it. I have added a black and white photo to show you how this helps in getting it right. Before you make your final selection of fabric color you can start by using a black and white filter on your phone to see if you have adequate contrast for the piecing to be seen. This is a great quilting tip for editing the fabrics in your quilt and I use this technique all the time. You can find me shopping at my local quilt store with phone in hand previewing fabrics before purchasing.

Fabric mistake #1

In the example here you can see that the teal-colored squares dominate the pieced design when next to the other fabric color chooses because the other fabrics don’t have enough of the teal color in them. In the black and white photo, it is obvious that this color needs to be different. But what color would I choose if I could do it over? I am thinking that the gold is too monochromatic for my style, but I do like the dusty purple because it does bring out the gold color in the piecing.

photo of quilt design

I have mocked up an example of the quilt top with teal colored quilting thread and free motion quilting. This is helpful because I really don’t want to take the piecing apart to remove the teal and replace it with a different color. This is a worthy solution.

Photo of quilt design

Fabric mistake #2

Where this version went wrong was with the lime green squares, just too bright and shouty. Also, there is not enough contrast between the dark purple and green. I do not want to rip this quilt top apart, call me lazy. So, to try and control how the colors are setting next to each other I will again use the color of the quilting thread to make the adjustment. Is it perfect? No, it is not but bringing the colors together in the mockup below

photo of quilt design

Successful fabric color chooses

Here are photos of color chooses that I feel are successful. The fabric selection has just the right color value to create contrast and you can really see it in the black and white picture. The transition of lights and darks is just enough for the entire quilt top to look balanced. You can see the pieced design without any of the colors shouting look at me.

photo of quilt design

photo of quilt design

Mistakes shouldn't keep us from quilting

Isn't interesting how now that you see the comparison it is so obvious where there is not enough contrast with these finished quilts tops. As quilters we learn from making mistakes and that shouldn't keep us from choosing colors and pushing ourselves to sew quilts. If you are interested in giving yourself permission to fail, you may like to read this BLOG post. 

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