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What Fabric Patterns Do I Choose and Where Do I Put Them?

This was the question my student Denise asked me last night in Choosing The Right Colors For My Quilt Class. "What Fabric Patterns Do I Choose and Where Do I Put Them?"

Choosing Fabric can be daunting and often scary. Gee, what if I don't like my choices after I get my quilt finally put together?

We get carried away with all the color ways, one collection I know of has 36 different prints in the collection with 4 distinct colors from light to dark. That is a lot of fabric.!!! But what if we want to use our up our stash...then what?

In fact I even know a machine quilter that decides on the machine quilting pattern even before she picks the quilt top patterns and fabrics... smart quilter. I don't think I can think that far ahead. I get too excited just picking the fabric.

Here's my suggestion for the Top things to look for when choosing fabric for your quilt top:

  1. Determine the focus fabric.

  2. Pick 2-3 colors and 1 accent color from you focus fabric. Picking colors that are next to one another on the color wheel can give you more control over the process and use those colors about 2/3 of the time and your accent color 1/3 of the time or less. The accent is usually directly opposite the main colors on the color wheel.

  3. Consider using the accent as a flange inside your binding.

  4. When you have chosen your quilt top pattern, find the largest piece in the pattern (other than the background fabric) and try to use the larger patterned fabrics there so you will be able to view all the beauty of the fabrics design and color.

Here is a scrappy quilt with an assortment of pure 100% value of color. Notice the diagonal geometric sashing.

Did you catch that one diagonal geometric is a different color way than the other? One has cool blues (top left to bottom right) and the other has warm golds (top right to bottom right). Beautifully done.

This next quilt top is of Blue Butterfly Kisses using my favorite fabric of all - Day Lily Fields. I have been working on this Pineapple Quilt since 2014. The fabric collection has 4 color ways, pink, green, blue and purple. I used the analogous (next to one another on the color wheel) colors green, blue and purple. Still deciding on how to complete the border.

'The darker fabrics are a deep purply eggplant to blue to green Glacier Fields by Caryl Bryer Fallert, one of my all time favorites and I am running out of it fast. ( 9 yards does not go very far, my have to deconstruct a quilt or two to salvage more of it for other projects :)

I hope that helps you plan your next wonderful quilty project. Let me know what fabrics you are working with right now.

Be sure to watch the Fabric Color Remix Videos with Tina and I on the Home page of

Stay Safe, Stay Well and Quilt Happy Always

Yours in the love of quilting ~ Sally Terry


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