If you guessed 100% cotton, great, you know what is the best quilting material!
If you didn’t guess cotton, that is just fine, we all have to start somewhere!. Knowing this will make your trip to the fabric store or buying quilting fabrics online much easier for you.
Cotton Fabric handles magnificently:
- It is easy to find
- Holds a crease very well
- Presses nicely
- It is not slippery – allowing you to sew pieces to each other with ease.
- Washes and dries great
- Holds it’s color
- The quilting needle goes through cotton well
It can be very overwhelming when you start looking at fabric, there is so much to choose from. The good part to keep in mind is that means more for us quilter to choose from! Every color of the rainbow is available, the prints and solids are endless and the novelty fabric choices allows us to create personalized quilts for that someone special.
I do recommend pre-washing any fabric you purchase before you begin to cut. If you purchase it online from a reputable dealer or pick it up at a quality fabric store, the fabric will hold its shape after many washes. You’ll just need to iron out those pesky wrinkles after the first wash and dry before you begin to cut your pieces out for your quilt.
So now that we know to look for 100% cotton fabric, the fun can begin!
Let’s talks about fabric color matching and the focus fabric and its scale or size.
What color to choose? This can be a big dilemma for some, I know it was when I first started.
I will give you some tips:
If this is your first project and you are just not sure, then go with your favorite color. This will make choosing fabrics for the first time much simpler. Let’s say your favorite color is pink. Your first step would be to start looking for a fabric for your main focus. It will be the bolder, perhaps more colorful, with larger sized print. Used mainly for the larger size blocks and sometimes the borders on your quilt.
Let’s say in the above step was a print of large pink hibiscus flowers and the inside of the flower is orange, yellow and white.
To keep the focus on your main fabric I would look for small scale prints of two or three orange and yellows that blend well and make the inside of the flower pop. (Of course, how many you will get to choose will depend on how many fabrics your pattern calls for). You could then chose a white fabric which has a very small print using any of the colors of the main fabric or you could go with a solid white. Perhaps you didn’t find a small print in yellow or orange, you can use a solid for those as well. The main idea is to not repeat the same colors but to vary the tones.
It is best NOT to use all of the same size prints. It will look very confusing and distracting and you will lose your main focus point.
If you get really stuck, look at what in the quilting world we call “Charm Packs” or “Jelly Rolls” (see below) They will give you some ideas on matching fabrics.
If you are still scratching your head…… look online or in a fabric store. Many fabric designers have special “collections” meaning, they have created fabrics that you can mix and match. They have several to pick from and are located in one place.
It is always best to have a general idea of the pattern you will be using for your quilt. That alone will go a long way when you begin looking at fabric as you will know what size block, triangles, borders…. you will be using and can gauge the scale of the prints accordingly.
Of course, there are those times that you may wonder into a fabric store and just have to have one you see. When that happens to me, I buy 2 yards and put it in my stash! It would be a shame to pass it by!
Below are some mix and match ideas that I came up with.
The larger prints will be used for the largest blocks to create the focal point we discussed earlier. They will all tie in nicely. Not all patterns call for 4 or 5 different fabrics, some call for six plus. Once you get the hang of it, it is really fun and easy to pick out your quilting fabric.
Time to start getting your fabrics together with a pattern in mind. Use your imagination! This is your creation and it is going to look wonderful!!
We went over some of the reasons to use cotton fabric, if you would like to learn more reasons please continue to read.
If you have and question or comments please leave them for me, I look forward to hearing from you.