Tips for Mixing Fabrics and Combining Patterns

A stack of folded quilts of various patterns and colors against a plain, white wall

If you’re like a lot of people right now, you’ve crafted way more in the past month than you have in the past year. It’s great that everyone is letting their creativity flow and doing something productive in this crazy time. That said, it’s also the perfect time to learn more about how to refine your craft or to pick up a new one. Quilting is a great way to pass the time and have something absolutely beautiful come about as the end result. If you want to up your quilting game, learn some key tips for mixing fabrics and combining patterns below!

Pull out Your Favorite Color

To begin, whether you’re an advanced or beginner quilter, think about beginning by pulling out all the fabrics with your favorite color. For example, say your favorite color is purple—pull out all of the fabric you have that’s purple. You’ll end up pulling out various shades, from light to deep purple, some patterned, some solid. This will give you a good starting point for pairing up the chosen fabrics with other options.

Choose a Focus Fabric

Once you’ve pulled out all of the options for your favorite color (or the color you’ve decided should be the focal point for your quilt), then you’ll want to key in on a focus fabric. Maybe it’s the light purple with a lovely floral pattern. If that’s what you want to act as your focal point, then you’ll need to compare all other pattern and fabric choices to that piece. As you get more confident in your skills, you can choose multiple focus fabrics for your project.

Pay Attention to Color Theory

A general note that will help you as you pull other fabrics is color theory. We posted a blog on a guide to color theory for quilters and that should help you understand how your focus fabric and colors will best fit with other fabric options. Though your personal quilt style depends on who you are and what you like, these guidelines will help you recognize what will look most pleasing to the eye.

Vary the Scale

When it comes to mixing fabrics and combining patterns, you need to use a variety of scale in your quilt—this tip will provide more interest to your piece. For example, you don’t want to use a bunch of big print on big prints. Rather, you want to use small tone-on-tone prints, dots, geometrics, and large- and medium-scale abstracts. When you play with the scale of the patterns, you’ll add more depth to your quilt than just straight stripes or solely florals.

Start Small and Go from There

The project will feel less stressful if you start small with your pattern mixing and fabric matching. Once you feel confident in your ability to match silkier textures with cotton and big patterns with miniscule detail, then you can start adding more pattern and more fabric variation. If you try to start big with 20 different patterns in your quilt, you’ll head straight to overwhelm.

For all of your fabric and crafting needs, look to Lindley General Store. We have everything you need to follow through with your crafting dreams, from knitting supplies to fabrics for quilts in Canada. We’re still sending out deliveries despite the current pandemic and hope to serve you for all craft needs. Shop our site now!