I consider this a subject that I do not know the answer to, I am very much still learning how to do this!
I'm not just wondering about colours, I know there are some wonderful web pages like Design Seeds and Kuler which can provide you with hours of fun finding lovely colour schemes. Oh yes. I've spent hours and hours on them! I wanted to do Lynnes Dead Simple quilt, but I just couldn't pick one favourite colour scheme. I ended up taking a whole moda charm pack and starting the as yet unfinished Dead Undecided quilt.... Anyway. I'm talking about solids or prints, or both. Flowers or shapes. Or both. How do you select your fabrics?
To begin with, I thought the only way I'd be able to get it right would be to just buy collection bundles, or precuts.
|Echo by Lotta Jansdotter|
After all, the designers are professionals, they are presenting us with a selection of fabrics that all go together, so why not just use them? Why not indeed. I haven't stopped doing that and I'm quite sure I wont stop either. However...
I started to feel that I shouldn't just be doing that, that I was "cheating" doing that, maybe that was a teeny bit, well, boring. So, I started to try and mix it up a bit. Not having access to a large fabric shop and doing 99% of my shopping on line, that really wasn't easy.
I've tried making "bundles" as in mosaics from shop pics - like a lot of us did for bloggers choice competition - but shopping only online does mean you are relying entirely on the photo that the shop uses to be 100% accurate and some of the time they arent too hot...
Remember my bee month
Now I have to say quite clearly, I LOVE my bee blocks, and will be making the quilt top, and I will absolutely ADORE my quilt. But to be honest, I don't think I did a very good job with my fabric picking! The more I see my black and blue bundle, the more I feel that it is a bit disjointed. It lacks any kind of cohesion. Perhaps they need to have more than just a general colour in common...
The biggest problem I think, is that there are one or two prints here that I don't actually like all that much. Oh I feel terrible saying that. I got so obsessed with the black and blue plan that yes, I did include a couple of fabrics that I don't really like all that much purely because they met the "black and blue" plan so well. So, its more important that you love them than whether you think they're a perfect fit.
When thinking up my stained quilt, I had better luck - although possibly because I started with prints from a designer line... I started with 5 prints from Silent Cinema by Jenean Morrison, the pink colourway. Colour wise, they were mostly grey, but two had bits of pink in them. I like that.... So I started hunting down greys, even found one with some pink in it. That's really all I was thinking at the time. That, and the fact that there was one print in particular that was special. A large scale but very detailed pattern, with no "right way up", and OMG I love it. So, I wanted that print to be the star of the show, and when picking other fabrics I kept in mind that I wanted them as a supporting cast!
I like the way these came together in the end quilt, although I still think I should do better... (surprise surprise)
These days I have a bit more in the way of a stash to look through, which is definitely a help...
Mum and I came up with this pick for a quilt we worked on whilst she was here. I think its a pretty successful mix. This time, not only is it a colour theme (ash grey solid background, green prints, one yellow green, and one bright orange) but when you look at the patterns there are other similarities too. There is a very geometric thing going on. Its all dots, squares and crosses... Also love that the green on the far left has a teeny bit of orange in it. The pattern scale all seems to be about the same size too - I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing. I'm happy with the quilt we made, but in a different quilt pattern I think this bundle may just be lacking a different scale print.
At the same time, mum came up with this pick from my scraps.
I think this is a lovely selection! I complemented mum on her subtle curvy small circles theme that runs through almost all the prints. She said she hadn't noticed that...
This struck me as a great way for auditioning prints for your own bundle, and I think I've found a new and slightly cheaper alternative to bundle buying addiction... Kate from M is for Make does a wonderful fat 16th bundle for a lot of the lovely fabric lines in her shop.
I'm not being paid to push it, I just think its a brilliant way to find out whether a bundle is right for what you want, £4-6 for a fat 16th of each bit. And the 16ths will give you a fabulous scrap stash for cushions, charity blocks, zippy pouches, or whatever wee things you make in between quilts!
So what have I learnt so far?
- Some people just have a knack for it. But the more you do it the better you will get.
- Love what you choose - if you don't love what you pick, you wont get quite so excited about working with the pick, you wont feel quite so motivated to keep working with it, and you wont feel quite as satisfied with what you make.
- Be brave and mix things up a bit. Designer collections will work and look fab, but mixing things up make it more personal, and a little bit different!
- Having a "star" print and building around it with complimentary, more subtle prints works. Having one colour theme and throwing in one or two bright, complimentary colours works.
But that doesn't feel much in the way of instruction ... help me out here, how do you select your fabrics?
PS. I have actually done a little sewing in the last couple of weeks, honest... I'll share soon. And also coming soon... block one in the Stained QAL... remember to join the flickr group if you havent already! *click here to go to Stained QAL on flickr*