Easy Techniques for Choosing Colors for Your Quilt | So sew easily

So you found this free quilting pattern online and you love everything from the style to the color combination. Unfortunately, not all materials or colors you need are available at your local specialty store. Or maybe you're a beginner quilter and aren't very experienced when it comes to fabric printing and color selection. Don't despair as there are a number of proven techniques for choosing colors for your quilt.

Easy Techniques for Choosing Your Quilt Colors #1: Choose a color palette

Before proceeding with color selection, you may first choose a certain color palette to follow on your quilt pattern. After choosing a color palette, color selection will be easier for you. This is because once you have selected the primary color for your project, the rest of the other colors will automatically be determined based on the scheme you have chosen.

Color schemes are based on the color wheel. Having one (color wheel) to refer to will be a big help. The most commonly used color combinations for selecting quilting fabric colors are:

  • Analogous color scheme – This is a group of 3 colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. There will always be a primary or secondary color in this group and it will be the dominant color of your project. The tertiary colors on either side of the dominant color will be the colors that complement the accent (dominant) color. You can either use a dominant printed color and plain complements, or vice versa.
  • Complementary – Contrary to what is called, complementary colors are two colors that are directly opposite each other from the color wheel. For some reason, the stark contrast between them makes them look good together. When using this color palette for quilting, you can either focus on just the two contrasting colors (a solid concept will be produced) or add a series of neutral colors so your design isn't “too plain and boring” , while ensuring that the 2 complementary colors are dominant.
  • Triadic color scheme – This color palette uses 3 colors equally spaced around the color wheel. The triadic pattern provides a high degree of contrast but maintains a certain balance and harmony.

There are other color combinations besides the 3 mentioned above. Please check the color palette illustration below. You can use them too, just follow the color palette concept and you can't go wrong.

Techniques for Choosing Colors for Your Quilt

You can download this color palette reminder in high quality PDF format from the link below:


Easy Techniques for Choosing Colors for Your Quilt #2: Know your model requirements

Quilt pattern that requires the use of large scale fabrics (large prints).
Quilt pattern that uses small scale fabrics (small and subtle prints).

Consider the quilt pattern you plan to make and what it needs. Some designs require small pieces while others have specific patterns that use larger pieces of fabric. For designs that require small parts, use fabrics with small prints. When your pattern indicates a larger piece, you can use large-scale printed fabrics. This way, large prints will still be visible and will not be cut out so that they are no longer recognizable.

Easy Techniques for Choosing Colors for Your Quilt #3: Use precuts

Techniques for Choosing Colors for Your Quilt

This is probably the easiest way: buy a set of precuts. Precuts are a set of fabrics sold already cut to similar sizes. Most of these die-cut sets are a collection of different colors and printed in a coordinated group by a manufacturer. Yes, that's right, the fabric manufacturer usually produces fabrics in a group of 4 or more different prints/patterns and/or colors that complement each other. The die-cuts come in different sizes so you can choose what size die-cuts will be enough to meet your pattern needs.

Additional Tips on Selecting Quilting Fabric:

  • Stop the urge to buy ALL your favorite colors. I'm sure they are all beautiful, they wouldn't be your favorite otherwise. However, just because you like them all doesn't mean they go well together.
  • Invest in good quality quilting cotton. Don't waste all the time and effort you invested in creating your masterpiece on an easy-to-wear, low-quality fabric.
  • Use tone-on-tone fabrics (with the right color) to replace some plains, these are fabrics with very subtle prints which, when looking at them from a distance, can be confused with plain, solid-colored textiles. This will add some visual texture to the surface of your quilt.

I hope the techniques we've suggested in this article will be helpful to you the next time you're selecting fabrics to use for a quilting project. We would also like to hear from you. If you have any other color selection techniques to share, please leave us a comment below.

(This article was originally published on our contributor's site at Sewing machine reviews.)

If you are interested in learning how to quilt, please see the article titled Quilting for Beginners: How to Get Started.

Quilting for Beginners

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