Today we have a guest post from Randi of Fresh Squeezed Fabrics, one of our Fabric Shopper Sponsors who has an expert eye when it comes to how to choose fabrics for your quilting projects.  I follow her blog, I Have to Say, and I’ve always ALWAYS admired how effortless her fabrics seemed to coordinate.  In fact, the one quilt top I’ve actually made was completely inspired by her!  Visit her shop and ask her for help!  She’s amazing!

how to choose fabrics

(Fresh Squeezed Fabrics is a monthly sponsor, but I am receiving no compensation for this post. I just truly believe in her!)

Take it away Randi!


Picking fabric for your quilt is the best part.  Seriously, I could choose and purchase fabric for projects all day long and never actually make them, but still feel like I was being artistic and crafty.    And I am  not even talking about the goodies on my store shelves…..

Picking fabric can also be frustrating.  Where do I start?  What if I pick something that looks bad?  What if others don’t like it?

Let’s take the mindset of “just do it” when it comes to choosing fabrics for your quilt.  Be bold.  Go with what you like.  Even if your friend tells you that it doesn’t look right.

Here are some tips for you.  This is not an exhaustive list, but rather some starting points for you.  If you have other ideas please leave them in the comments so people have more direction.

I generally start with a “focus” fabric.  This fabric tends to be a larger print with lots of color.  I just grabbed this one off of my shelves:


It’s from one collection I love, the Meadowsweet collection.  From there I started “piling it on”. If you are shopping in a store, you can do this on your cart or on a counter.  If you are online, you can make copies of the pictures of fabrics and glue them on a paper.  I do this when I am ordering from large lines and only want certain pieces.

“Piling it on” simply means to start stacking fabrics on top of your focus fabric.  Pick fabrics with colors you like and patterns that catch your eye.  Take some chances here.

Here is one stack that I made:


And here is another: IMG_0940
Here are the two stacks side-by-side: IMG_0934
As you can see, one stack is lots of pinks, the other is oranges and greens.  All starting with the same fabric.

If you add a fabric you don’t like, just remove it.  Try to add a variety of prints sizes and color values.  And just keep piling until you 10 that you like.  Then walk purposefully up to the counter and make. your. purchase.  No looking back, girls.

Another way to choose fabric is by color.  If you want a pink and brown quilt, you will want to start just grabbing all of the pink and browns that you like off the shelves (or making copies from the computer).  Don’t stop at 10.  Is there a bit of yellow or blue in one of the fabrics?  Maybe adding a bit of that will be a nice complement.  Does it look bad in the pile?  Toss it out.

Once you have a giant pile that is about to topple over, starting whittling it down to 10.  Keep the ones you love and set aside the so-so ones.  Do you love the look of your pile?  Then go for it!

If you want to make a quilt with all blues, I suggest that you get a range of color.  Ten navy blue fabrics might be a bit overwhelming and boring, but if you throw in some light blue or some turquoise, the colors will really look exciting.

Be creative.  Don’t be scared to make a mistake.  Ask for help if you need to.  All fabric shop owners LOVE fabric (I know this from experience) and will be happy to help.

That’s it. I hope this gives you a bit of direction.

Have a great day!


Don’t forget to visit Randi and ask for her help, or just simply shop her great selection!


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