Selecting Fabric for Your Project

Posted by Marie Adams on

Choosing the right fabrics for a quilt is one of the first steps in the quilting process. Here are some things to consider when choosing fabrics for a project:

    1.  Fabric Type

    • 100% Cotton is a top choice for quilting due to its durability, breathability, and ease of care. Any fabric can be used, but cotton is easier to work with, especially for beginners.
    • Cotton fabric comes in a variety of prints and solids, giving infinite options for different quilt designs.
  1. Fabric Quality:

    • Select high-quality fabrics to ensure your quilt withstands wear and washing. The saying “You get what you pay for” very much applies here. Cheaper fabrics will not hold up as well, and tend to not be as soft.  
    • Prewashing your fabrics is personal preference. Some do it to prevent shrinkage and bleeding, but many do not prewash. It’s personal preference, but you need to pick one, and stick with it. Don’t mix washed and unwashed fabrics in a project, as it can cause unwanted outcomes if some is preshrunk, and some is not. 
  2. Color Scheme:

    • Decide on a color scheme that complements the overall theme or purpose of the quilt.
    • Consider choosing a focal fabric that you love, and pulling the colors from that for your coordinating fabrics. Using fabrics all from the same line isn’t necessary, but can be helpful for those who struggle selecting colors.
  3. Prints and Patterns:

    • Choose a variety of prints and patterns to add visual interest to your quilt. Just make sure that your quilt includes some more subtle prints, as it gives your eye a place to “rest”, and isn’t so busy it’s overwhelming.
    • Mix and match scale and style to create a balanced and appealing design.
  4. Fabric Pre-cuts:

    • Pre-cut fabrics, such as charm packs, jelly rolls, and layer cakes, can save time and ensure color coordination.
    • These pre-cuts often come from a fabric collection, ensuring a cohesive look. 
  5. Texture and Weight:

    • Incorporate different textures and weights for added visual and tactile interest.
    • Mixing solid fabrics with prints or using fabrics with different weaves can create a dynamic quilt.
  6. Theme and Purpose:

    • Consider the theme or purpose of the quilt when choosing fabrics. For example, a baby quilt might benefit from soft, pastel colors and cute prints. A more modern quilt may have bright colors, and bold prints.
  7. Contrast and Value:

    • Pay attention to contrast and value to ensure that the individual pieces of the quilt stand out.
    • High contrast can create a vibrant and dynamic quilt, while low contrast can result in a softer, more subtle appearance.
  8. Backing Fabric:

    • Choose a fabric for the quilt backing that complements the quilt top.
    • Ensure the backing fabric is wide enough to cover the entire quilt with some extra for seam allowances. If you are having it professionally quilted, make sure to check with your quilter to find out their requirements/preferences. Some prefer more space, or non pieced backings, while others don’t have a preference.
  9. Personal Preferences:

    • Trust your instincts and personal taste. If a fabric appeals to you, it will likely contribute positively to your overall satisfaction with the finished quilt.

Remember, quilting is a creative process, and there is no Quilt Police force. Feel free to experiment and have fun with your fabric selections! You are the only person who has to be happy with it!

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