Picking out my prints and colors for a quilt is my favorite part of the whole creative process. Honestly, I could probably be satisfied with that step as long as someone else would make the quilts for me. But since that does not happen, I keep on making my own quilts!
This being said, I do find that most people are frustated by this step. They find it overwhelming and really don't know where to start. In my fabric shop, my pre-selected bundles are my biggest seller, and I believe it is because of this reason: most people are afraid of making mistakes with color and with fabric selection.
My best advice to you? Just jump in and do it. You will make mistakes--I still do!--but you will also have some success. The more you do it, the better you get.
I do have some simple tips for you to start out with.
My number one rule: DO WHAT YOU LIKE. MAKE WHAT YOU LIKE. PICK THE COLORS YOU LIKE.
OK, that might count as a few rules, but that's fine.
Let me show you little something about color and contrast. Even if you have a favorite color, you will still probably want to add some contrasting color in order to give your eye something to fall on. Here is a pile of red, which is quite lovely, but will create a quilt that is simply a sea of red. Your eye will have nowhere to focus with this pile of fabric:
Do you see a more interesting pile of color? I certainly do. It's because of the mix of color (red and white) that you eye notices each and every print. When you keep things overly monotone, it's harder to pick out the separate parts of the quilt.
But, of course, if you want an all red or all blue quilt, go for it! The beauty is in the eye of the maker, for sure!
One way to pick a color scheme is to find a "focus" fabric. This is generally how I start planning my quilt---for me it's all about the color and the fabric!
For this little lessons, let's start with this colorful print that was hiding in my fabric stash:
It's got a lot of visual appeal and it's very colorful, which makes it a fun place to start. I simply went to my fabric stash and started pulling out what I thought matched. This took me about 3 minutes, but if you are just starting out, expect it to take longer. It's also helpful to pick out fabrics and leave them for a day or two before you make your final decision.
Here is what I came up with:
I could certainly add more color and print, but for a start, it's very nice. This would make a cute little quilt for a baby, don't you think?
What if you don't have a fabric stash or your own?
You can try "stacking" at your local fabric store. Pick your "focus" fabric and then start stacking bolts on top of one another on a table or a shopping cart. No one will mind that you are doing this!
My "focus" fabric is the one on the bottom. At this point you can start adding and subtracting prints as you please. At first I wasn't sure if the green was going to work, but I really like how it looks in the stack. What are your thoughts on that?
Another little rule of mine: BE ADVENTUROUS WITH COLOR AND PRINT! It's just more fun that way!
My hope is that this little tutorial helped just a little bit in your quest towards making a quilt.
There are more tutorials coming soon. And if you want to request a tutorial topic, please do!
Have a wonderful day!