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Thread: Fabric choice

  1. #1

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    Will choosing fabric become easier? I'm new at quilting and when I try to choose fabric on my own it's usually boring and within the same color family. I didn't think it would be so hard but....

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Yes, it will get easier. You will learn what you like and what goes well together. I have great fun picking out my fabrics. However I have a substantial stash and can make last minute changes if something doesn't quite "work"

  3. #3
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    If you have a hard time choosing your own fabric and like a certain pattern because of the fabrics in it, then try to copy their fabrics. Yes, it gets better. You'll be buying fabric just because you have to have it and don't even have a quilt in mind. Watch out when you get bitten by the "stash bug"!

  4. #4
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    all takes time, have fun!

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Picking fabric (to buy) is no problem for me - It's making the Final Decision (of what to put in a quilt and where) that is a problem! LOL

  6. #6
    mrsdralshhadeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat R
    Will choosing fabric become easier? I'm new at quilting and when I try to choose fabric on my own it's usually boring and within the same color family. I didn't think it would be so hard but....
    I am fairly new as well,, but what I have found to work for me is,, when I choose the fabric,, I choose one way outside my comfy zone, one in the middle and one I normally would choose. Then what I do is I put the one I would norally choose back,, and then concentrate on the other 2. And I have seen it has gotten easier.

    Another thing is,, take someone else, that does nto quilt,, or,, ask a random person in the store. Sometimes, a stranger may choose one you do not think of,, but when you get it together it works.

    One more,, (then Im done,,lol) choose maybe 1/2 yrd of a few,, go home and play around with the colors... and you will be surpised what you normally would choose compared to another,, you may choose the second,,lol..

    Hope this helps!!! :-D

  7. #7
    Senior Member JackieG's Avatar
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    It does get easier. You start looking at colors in terms of whether they are the same "family." I have a good eye for color, I'm told, but I'm not a good quilter (yet). Just try to look at fabrics in terms of whether they have matching hues or undertones. Then the family of colors falls into place. You'll do fine.

  8. #8
    a regular here hazeljane's Avatar
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    Another suggestion, if you have trouble picking out enough different colors is to pick a fabric that you like, that has several different colors in it. usually, along one side of the selvedge will be colored dots- those are the colors in the fabric- you can then take that fabric, and the dots and match up colors. It is sometimes easier for beginners than trying to guess at the right colors or shade. I love scrap quilts and 20 years ago or so, I recognized that they were missing enough contrast. For a couple of years, I made myself buy remnants by weight and feel, regardless of pattern or color, and I began to use some truly ugly fabrics. And what i found was that a 4 inch piece of ugly fabric can sometimes pop in a quilt, and it no longer looks like itself.

  9. #9
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    What has worked for me is to find that one fabric I definately must have and then looking at the different colors in that fabric, I choose complimentary fabrics. :-D

  10. #10
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I have always had a hard time choosing fabric. I feel my choices are boring too! What I have decided to do is, when I sew for other people, my price is some yardage of fabric that they have to go and pick out. That way I get fabric out of my comfort zone. I just have to make sure that they remember that I only want 100% cotton from the quilting section :-)

  11. #11
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    When I started I was very matchy-matchy. I tried to get the EXACT shade that was in the focus fabric. Even if it was a 1/8 inch flower than couldn't be seen from three feet away.

    Then I read Jinny Beyer's book (sorry, don't remember the name of it) where she would match the colors in the focus fabric and then find "bridging" fabrics that would shade from one color to the next in the focus fabric.

    She would use those colors and NOT use the exact matches. The quilts using these colors were so much livelier than the ones using the exact matches.

    It's important to think of contrast, also. Do you want high-contrast or not? That's almost as important as color.

    Also, stand several feet away from the fabrics. They look different from 10-12 feet away than right under one's nose.

    It's also okay to change one's mind about a fabric choice. (Well, yes, one is kind of stuck with it after the item is made - but anytime before it's quilted will work)

  12. #12

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    What a wonderful idea! I think I'll do that at the next quilting class I take.

  13. #13
    Super Member cwessel47's Avatar
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    I would never - I mean never - work with one line of fabrics that has all the same colors in it. Matchy, matchy is boring. Practice with reds - they clash so well! You'll get the hang of it. Variety is the spice of life.

  14. #14
    Super Member Kathy N's Avatar
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    Go into a quilt shop and ask one of the ladies for a lesson on how to select fabric. That was one of my favorite things to do when I worked in a quilt shop. They will walk you through the things to look for and the do's and don'ts of selecting fabric. Make sure you pick a time when the store isn't lined up at the fabric counter, you can even call ahead and ask when a good time would be. It will be a wonderful lesson for you.

  15. #15
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    I lke your idea bearisgray. I need to try this along with learning how to use a color wheel. I took an interior design class once and the teacher also made all of her clothes. She paired colors that I would never think of, but if you look at a color wheel she did everything correctly. Her choices made for some very dynamic clothes.

  16. #16
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Best quote ever for quilters on choosing fabrics: Two fabrics may not go together well, but any 10 or 15 or 20 or 30 are just fine! I make lots of scrap quilts and this has always worked for me. I just know that for me, I have to be sure to have a few darks and lights....I tend to be drawn to brights in the mid-value range.

  17. #17
    Super Member StitchinJoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat R
    Will choosing fabric become easier? I'm new at quilting and when I try to choose fabric on my own it's usually boring and within the same color family. I didn't think it would be so hard but....
    You got some great advice here. Learning what you like is a big part of the process. The more quilts you see, the more you learn. Go to shows, join a guild, look at sites online including the photo pages on this quilting board.

    I like looking at antique quilts for inspiration-- in colors, patterns, settings and borders. This site has thousands of antique quilts to view-- a virtual quilt show! http://www.quiltindex.org/index.php

    Many people think that all antique quilts are dull and brown, but that's not accurate. Many have bright true reds and a skyfull of blues, and clean crisp white backgrounds. Many PA quilts are bright Turkey red, cheddar orange, sky blue and pea soup green. Obviously no one was telling those quiltmakers that there were "right" and "wrong" color combinations! Some of their fabric choices are astounding-- they are eye-popping!

    I'm working on a two-color quilt now inspired by one on the Quilt Index website. It is so bright that it strobes. I'll show you when I've finished, I promise!

    Don't be discouraged when you're pulling fabrics for your next quilt. It should be a big part of the fun! Remember what Rick Nelson sang-- you can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself.

    I think you'll find that it will get easier, the more you do it. Practice practice practice.

  18. #18
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Don't forget how important color values are. You can use one color, but get different effects according to the balance of lights and darks.

  19. #19
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    If it's the colors themselves that give you problems, try picking up a color wheel. It helps to see actual samples of colors and where they are placed in relation to one another.

    Complimentary colors are opposite one another on the wheel and provide high contrast (blue and orange, red and green, purple and yellow); colors separated by one color also compliment one another (yellow and red are separated by orange, purple and green are separated by blue); colors that are side by side create a soothing effect by appearing to blend (red and orange; green and yellow).

    There are also plenty of books on color theory that could help you out. Check at your LQS for a color wheel and/or the color theory books.

    Darren

  20. #20
    Super Member roseOfsharon's Avatar
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    I think I need a class on colors and choices! It takes me forever in a fabric store, I get overwhelmed with all the fabrics and love them all. It seems to me that color was all made to go together in the scheme of things.. as once I was told just look outside your window at the colors within a flowerbed , trees and bark and grasses.. well that is all good and well.. I just need to go for it and not worry for awhile if they go as I feel or not. LOL maybe artist once struggled with the preception of color!

  21. #21
    Super Member Pamela Artman's Avatar
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    I have always been interested in decorating and design and choosing quilt fabrics came easy to me I think because of that. One thing I remembered from decorating books was how to mix patterns and that applies just as well to quilts. a quilt with one bold print and all the rest solids or tone on tones can be boring. On the other hand, two or more bold or big prints in a quilt can fight each other and not play well together. But a large bold print, a small floral, a plaid or stripe in the same colors, as well as a couple tone on tones or solids can blend beautifully. And contrast is important too. All darks would be a little dreary, and all lights kinda fades away. You may not want a wide contrast going from very light to very dark, but having some is important. Even in a pastel quilt, having some medium tones to add to the lights makes a much more interesting and striking quilt. And I read something once about using one color in scrappy quilts, which I love to do - vary the tones of that color on both sides of the color wheel. For instance, if making a scrappy blue quilt, add blues that have a purple tint and blues that have a green tint as well as true blues. Since I started doing that, my scrappy quilts have become a lot more vibrant.

  22. #22
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    One thing I learned on my first quilt (over 20 yrs. ago and still not quilted) was a sampler quilt taught in a woman's basement to all new quilters.....Make sure whatever you choose that you have "light, medium, and darks". (This quilt just "sits" there and just sits there".

    Also when you're choosing, lay it out on the cutting table and "stand back", squint your eyes and you'll notice right away which fabric will POP and which will fade into the quilt.

    Never fear....some day it will be easier to choose.

    Good Luck!!

  23. #23
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    I still have that problem and I am on my fourth year as a quilter. I by kits and when I have to use a pattern to make a quilt for someone special I go to a trusted LQS to help. Make sure you pick a shop that listens to what you want and try to pick fabrics in your tastes and not their own.

  24. #24
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    It's okay to listen to the LQS ladies and get their advice - but it is also OKAY to disagree with their choices.

  25. #25

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    myself I hate to say I get so over whelm I cant decide what I want but some how I do mangae to come home with plenty lol

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