The Art of Choosing: Supplementing a Fabric Collection

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Art of Choosing is a series discussing fabric, color, and the fabric selection process. The purpose of this series is to arm you with the tools and knowledge to build your own color schemes for your sewing and quilting projects. You'll dive deep into your stash, organize it, and hopefully look at your fabrics in a new way.

Supplementing a Fabric Collection
Today we're starting the second half of this series: building different fabric combinations and color schemes. We'll start off easy and talk about supplementing a fabric collection or single colorway from a fabric collection.

For this exercise I'm using the pink/brown colorway from the fabric collection Park Slope by Erin McMorris. The fabrics pulled in the exercise were used in my Scrappy Single Girl Quilt.

Before you start pulling fabrics additional fabrics, it's helpful to identify the main colors in the collection. In this colorway of Park Slope there is pink, orange, gold, plum and brown. The multi-colored prints in the line can be a great starting place as well.

As you're pulling fabrics, keep a few things in mind:
1. While pulling individual colors, be sure to grab a few Tone on Tone and Color + White prints.

2. When choosing prints with large and small accents, be thoughtful about the colors of those accents. Those accents shouldn't clash with the other colors in the scheme/ In this case, I'm working with a warm color palette, so I'm avoiding cool colors like blue and green.

3. Think about using a good mix of geometric and floral prints.

4. Consider adding in solids. Finding solids that match the colors in the collection you're working with can make it easier to pull supporting prints. 

Here are a few examples of prints that I passed over when pulling this stack together.

1. Aviary by Joel Dewberry - These accents are green.
2. Park Slope by Erin McMorris - While this fabric is Park Slope and does have pink, orange, yellow and plum, it also has green.
3. Red Letter Day by Lizzy House - These accents are gray, which would probably look off with the browns.
4. Midwest Modern by Amy Butler - The pink accents in this print are too light and more blue-toned than the other pinks used.
5. Bijoux by Heather Bailey - The gold and pink colors are great, but the blue doesn't fit.
6. Garden Party by Anna Maria Horner - Great orange and pink, but the blue throws it off.
7. Sugar Snap by Melissa Averinos - This one seems like a no-brainer at first, two great pinks, gold, orange and brown! But it has blue accents too.
8. Chocolate Lollipop by Anna Maria Horner - Another tricky one, the brown, pink and gold are right on, but the blue and green accents make it a no go.

Now let's look at which fabrics made the cut.







Now put it all together in a giant fabric stack. On the left you'll see the prints from the warm colorway of Park Slope. On the right are all of the prints and solids to supplement it.

And here is the finished quilt I made from these stacks. I even used the original solids that I pulled as the block backgrounds. For more about this quilt: Scrappy Single Girl Quilt.

The next post in this series is on Building a Color Scheme Around a Single Fabric.


  1. >>>When choosing prints with large and small accents, be thoughtful about the colors of those accents! Those accents shouldn't clash with the other colors in the scheme<<< i would love to see some examples of ones that might be thought to work at first glance, but then dont...

  2. This was extremely helpful. I am a fabric idiot, but I don't want to use a prepackaged selection. Your series is like Fabric Selection for Dummies, and this dummy really appreciates it.

  3. Oh, yes, what Other-Jenny said would be very interesting!

  4. I am a new follower and am enjoying this series. If only I had a stash as large as yours to pull from!

    AnneMarie @ Gen X Quilters

  5. The oranges and golds - just heaven!

  6. I wish my fabric to be like yours! My stash is an absolut mess!
    Thank you for this great idea
    Hugs from Spain

  7. Thank you so much for this post, and the others in the series. I am so color challenged! I am trying to learn, and I think I have learned a lot from reading these.
    Thanks again for sharing your talents - what seems easy for you is kinda hard for some of us!
    Jacque in SC

  8. awesome! you're helping me look at fabric and colors much closer :)

  9. I too love this series because I can get in those color conundrums!

  10. I've never purchased fabric by "line"! I don't care who has made or designed the fabric, I just choose fabrics I like, without paying attention to the designer's name or the manufacturer—except when it comes to solids. I prefer Robert Kaufman's Kona Cotton solids over any others and I've bought them for over 20 years.


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