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Quilting is a really fun way to play with different fabrics and prints, especially ones you enjoy but might not want to wear as garments. But with the vast selection of quilting cottons available on our website, it can be really daunting to decide where to start! If you’re not using a quilt pattern that guides you in your fabric selection, or if you could use a few pointers, here are a few ideas to help you choose fabrics for your next quilting project.

Start with a designer collection

A great place to start is with a quilting bundle (pre-cut measurements such as fat quarters or charm packs) that fabric designers put together specifically for quilting. You can also start with yardage in a designer collection, such as this Wonderland holiday collection, and add solid fabrics from Cotton Couture to match the colors in the prints. For this example, we pulled coordinating colors to match those in the Winter Sky print:

Start with a favorite print or panel

If you have a particular printed fabric or panel you want to use in your quilt, use that to pull other fabrics in similar colors and vibrancy. For this palette, we started with the Blend – Out to Sea print, and selected other fabrics in hues pulled from the print, in a variety of prints that matched the vibrancy and the fun of the original fabric:

Start with a theme or motif

Something to keep in mind is scale—you can start with a particular theme or motif and use fabrics with the same motif in different sizes and colors. Here we decided to use floral prints as our motif and found fabrics in a variety of colors and scales:

Start with color theory

You may remember color theory from art class—a great way to choose your fabrics for a quilt is to use color theory to decide your palette. Below we’ve pulled fabrics for three color palettes: monochromatic (single hue), complementary (hues across the color wheel), and analogous (hues next to each other on the color wheel). There are many more palettes you can develop and choose from! Using a color wheel is a helpful guide—you can find them at any art store (like our Berkeley neighbors, Artist and Craftsman!), and they’re a fantastic addition to your quilting tool kit.

Monochromatic color palette

Complementary Color Palette

Analagous Color Palette

Start with Fashion fabrics

If you’re looking to make a more textured quilt, skip the quilting cotton altogether and go straight to fashion fabrics! Woven fashion fabrics such as linen, rayon, and cottons with built-in texture can make for an elegant quilt, reminiscent of old-fashioned quilts made from old clothing scraps.

Helpful Hints for Shopping online

If you’re buying your fabrics online from our shop, one trick we’ve found super helpful is to download or take screenshots of the fabric images and put them in one folder, then cull from that selection to make your final fabric selection. This way you can pull all the fabrics that catch your eye, and then see how they all look together before deciding on your final color scheme.

For this example, we started with Dear Stella – Orangerie – Oranges, and we pulled photos of anything and everything we thought would go well with this fabric. After choosing 18 different fabrics, we moved them around on the screen to create a few different palettes before deciding on the final look.

P.S. While you’re choosing fabric for the front of your quilt, it is also a perfect time to select fabric for the quilt back and binding—that way, they will all match perfectly!

our Preliminary palette

Screen shots of 18 potential fabrics for our quilt. Screen shots are placed in one folder, ready for selection.

Our final quilt palette

Notions you’ll need

Once you select your fabrics for your quilt, don’t forget your batting and notions! Here we have gathered all of our favorite tools and supplies for quilting. While these tools and supplies aren’t all required, these are the notions we find most helpful when we’re working on a quilting project. You may even have some of them in your sewing kit already!

Finishing touches

Don’t forget—there’s no wrong way to make a quilt! Just go with your gut and make something you love. And we’d love to see what you make—tag us #stonemountainfabric on Instagram and show us your quilts and quilting projects!