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Thread: Newbie Question about fabric patterns

  1. #1
    Senior Member Missysgottohelp's Avatar
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    I'm new to quilting, been doing it about 6 months. When I go to get fabric for a new project I have problems with putting patterns together when selecting fabric. Now I find something that "talks" to me and use it as a focal block then I use more solids that match it. When I see all the wonderful quilts on here I see all kinds of patterns in one quilt and they work. So how do you guys do that? We only have Walmart, Hobby Lobby and one LQS where I live and Walmart and Hobby Lobby are not very helpful and I can't afford to shop at the LQS at this point. Can someone please help? Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    You should find a color wheel. And just have some fun playing with different colors and patterns. Sometimes things that you'd never think of putting together, work very well.

  3. #3
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I still have problems with that. I bring my youngest daughter with me to pick out fabric. She has never sewn a day in her life but can pick out coordinating fabrics wonderfully. What am I going to do when she moves out.

  4. #4
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    Patti

    That is when you call and take her for lunch and let her know that you need to stop by the quilt shop.

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    To mix patterns think big and small and add a geometric and then fill it out with marble type prints. Solids don't really have any depth or movement.

  6. #6
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    I spend a lot of time in the store pulling fabric bolts off the shelves. Pile them up, unwind and put fabrics together, and move, move, move them about.

  7. #7
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    Go to the library and find some books on quilting. When I first started I didn't look at the vallues of the colors (lights, darks and mediums) and I didn't have the right mix of large patterns, small patterns and solids. You are right about needing experience in some designs. I also have found collections even in Wall-Mart and then I just stick to those prints for one quilt. Hope this helps and just hang in there. You will get the pleasing results you want.

  8. #8
    Super Member franie's Avatar
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    I try to mix patterns and use very few solids--a lot of fabrics read as solid when combined with othter fabrics. Dif fabrics give interest to the quilt. Plaids and stripes are especially effective too.

  9. #9
    Super Member franie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b.zang
    I spend a lot of time in the store pulling fabric bolts off the shelves. Pile them up, unwind and put fabrics together, and move, move, move them about.
    I just had to comment on this. Our new LQS has a big shelf area where bolts of fabrics can be laid out to look at. It is large enough that more than two people can do this at the same time. It is away from the cash register where others might be paying and bottling up. It was the wisest thing she could have done. We had to do in on a shopping cart in another store I was at recently and not fun!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Missysgottohelp's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help. That makes more sense now.

  11. #11
    Super Member candi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    To mix patterns think big and small and add a geometric and then fill it out with marble type prints. Solids don't really have any depth or movement.
    I agree with this.
    Also, think of the sizes you are going to be cutting the fabric into and also think of the placement of the fabrics together in the pattern. Does this make sense? For example if you are cutting fabrics into 2'' squares, think of how much of the print would show, versus when you cut it into 6'' squares. Also, which fabrics are "touching" in your pattern, to me all this makes a difference.

    If you have the option (at your library perhaps), you may want to check out Carol's Doak book "Your First Quilt Book, Or It should Be, " she has a section explaining fabric colors and patterns and suggestions on combining them.

    Have fun!

  12. #12
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    Sometimes it can help to find a fabric you really like that has the colors you want in your quilt all in that one fabric. Then, find fabrics that look good with the fabric you chose first, trying to get a combination of scales of prints, tone on tones, solid if you like them, once you have a nice pile, sometimes you can even take away the original fabric you started with and still have a group of fabrics that work together well for a quilt, or you can keep the "theme" fabric to use in the quilt, and it probably would be a great fabric to use for the border.

    Good luck!!

  13. #13
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patchsamkim
    Sometimes it can help to find a fabric you really like that has the colors you want in your quilt all in that one fabric. Then, find fabrics that look good with the fabric you chose first, trying to get a combination of scales of prints, tone on tones, solid if you like them, once you have a nice pile, sometimes you can even take away the original fabric you started with and still have a group of fabrics that work together well for a quilt, or you can keep the "theme" fabric to use in the quilt, and it probably would be a great fabric to use for the border.

    Good luck!!
    This works really, really well when you have a large floral print you love but would be totally lost if you cut it up. Pull a couple of geometrics and maybe a couple of tone on tone smallish floral, maybe a marble or two that work with the floral for the blocks and then use the floral for the border.

    Geometrics can be plaids, dots, and stripes, and they come in different scales too.

  14. #14
    Senior Member quiltingaz's Avatar
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    I try not to use solids. As said above there is no depth. Go for the blenders and tonals. Just experiment. You will soon learn what works and what doesn't.

    It's amazing how things can come together to make a great quilt that don't seem to go together.

  15. #15
    Super Member quilt3311's Avatar
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    If you pick a print you like, try to find fabrics that have the same color in it. We are lucky in our WalMart and have several gals who are quilters in the department. You will get the hang of it, it just takes some time.

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    When I first wanted to learn how to quilt I asked my MIL to help me. She had done some baby quilts so I thought she was an expert !! She took me to WM and had me pick out 7 fabrics that I liked, 2 prints and 5 solids. Seven years later I know why she only did baby quilts. The only solid fabric in my sewing room is the solids I got at WM 7 years ago! I never buy solids, they just don't have any movement or zing.

  17. #17
    Super Member Abby'smom's Avatar
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    Going in a fabric store is overwhelming to me -- so many different colors and patterns, blending from one tone to another -- I will facing that challenge soon as I want to do a log cabin pattern in blues/browns so I will have to spend some time at Joanns or the LQS -- I think part of my problem is that Joann's quilting section is dark, quite a way from the big front windows -- looking at pix may help to give me some idea of what to choose -- but so many choices....

  18. #18
    Super Member Nolee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missysgottohelp
    I'm new to quilting, been doing it about 6 months. When I go to get fabric for a new project I have problems with putting patterns together when selecting fabric. Now I find something that "talks" to me and use it as a focal block then I use more solids that match it. When I see all the wonderful quilts on here I see all kinds of patterns in one quilt and they work. So how do you guys do that? We only have Walmart, Hobby Lobby and one LQS where I live and Walmart and Hobby Lobby are not very helpful and I can't afford to shop at the LQS at this point. Can someone please help? Thanks so much.
    Check out your LQS and see if they have a sale section. Ours does and the beautiful fabric is $3.99 and fat quarters are $1.00-$1.25. All of the fall fabrics are in there now and soon the quilt fabric you will need for next Christmas will be there. Sure hope they have a section like that where you are.

  19. #19
    mmlctnp's Avatar
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    I too live in NE Nebraska and have the same issues with finding fabric. I also note that there is NO yarn shop here. I have tried buying online with reasonable success but still like to feel the weight and texture of the fabric (and yarn). Because of their business practices I won't set foot in Walmart for any reason. The proprietor of our LQS is really nice about working with you to economize. I either buy the fabric little at a time planning ahead for a future quilt or go to Hobby Lobby whose quilting fabric isn't all that bad. Also check out auctions, yard sales and Goodwill. As for color...its your quilt, you are in control and you will be looking at this for awhile. Pick what you feel comfortable with, what warms your heart.

  20. #20
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    Using a color wheel helped me. I am a "fabricholic" and there are so many that "follow" me home. Then I pick the colors in the pattern that made me love it, pick others from my stash and start playing around with them. This works for me and I'd bet that after awhile you'll find your way. Solids for me are for sashing, but not the main focus. Hope this helps a little. I'm just returning to quilting after a 35 year hiatus and it seems easier this time; maybe it is because I'm older and wiser? LOL big time.

  21. #21
    ruthieg's Avatar
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    I have made many quilts and I still have trouble with the colors. I find the women in the LQS are wonderful about putting fabrics together and help me choose a grouping that works for me.

  22. #22
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    Another tip is to cut the shape of the pieces out of a piece of paper so you can see how the fabric will look in that shape.

  23. #23
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Choose a group of possibles, stack them up at eye level - the top of other fabric works - stand back and squint. You'll get a feel for what they will look like together. I miss being able to do that when buying online.

    Don't try to be too matchy, matchy. I just freaked out the lqs ladies when I bought a green for the sashing for a special quilt I am planning. The stack said it needed a new color and green goes with so many colors. The quilt will be fuchia, peachy, rose, with a black patterned floral for the border. The rose is the one I'm concerned about, but I am taking my own advice and not being too matching. My oldest daughter does beautiful work, but has trouble choosing fabrics because 'they don't match'. For most people, it comes with time.

  24. #24
    alimaui
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    Hobby Lobby (at least mine) does a great job a grouping the "collections" together.

    I will admit, picking out fabric is not my favorite thing to do, because I am not great at getting the balance right. I like the precuts. Hobby Lobby though, does a great job at grouping the fabrics that "go" together. Their "collections" usually have four or five selections in the group. It can be less daunting to pick out if you can select a palette that you like and just buy the whole "set."

    Also, another way to start is to scope out flickr, or some of the designer collections, and just print out a picture of the "collection collage" and then just make your own group based on those same colors the designer chose? Make sense?

  25. #25
    Senior Member pdcakm's Avatar
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    thank you for asking this question.

    i have the same problem still, even after years of quilting. lots of great info from everyone. thanks to all of you.

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