Friday, November 3, 2023

Scrap Quilt Love

Do you love the look of scrappy quilts? And do you sometimes have a little trouble choosing fabrics for your scrappy quilts?  You're not alone. I get questions about choosing fabrics all the time.    



It's important to develop a good collection of fabrics in order to make nice scrap quilts. I know it's fun to just keep buying the same colors over and over again (guilty). But, if you're intent on making scrap quilts, then you need to go outside your box and pick up some prints that may not be in your customary colors. I love blue and always tend to buy a lot of blues. But if I only buy blue every time I shop, my fabric collection will suffer and so will my quilts. If it gets overwhelming, focus on building up your fabric stash by buying one color at a time.  The good news - this will involve a lot of shopping.



It's actually easy -  in order to make even the simplest scrap quilt you'll need a variety of scraps in all the colors. Decide which will serve you better and fit your budget: Yards and yards of just a few prints or lots and lots of smaller cuts that you'll use for a long time as you build up your collection and make your quilts?


To repeat - In order to make good scrap quilts the very first thing you need to do is begin collecting lots of different prints in various colors. If you're like me and have been doing this for years, then this might not be a problem for some of you. But, if you're new to scrappy quilting (or quilting in general), it's absolutely necessary to  have a "good fabric wardrobe" with a nice variety of prints in basic colors.  Every quilter should have a good assortment of prints in shades of:
  • red
  • medium blue 
  • brown
  • tan 
  • rust or orange
  • green 
  • gold 
  • indigo or dark blue 
  • pink
  • purple 
  • black
  • and, of course, a collection of light prints or "shirting" fabrics

A little organization is key. You may want to take an inventory of some of your fabrics. I store mine according to color. In order to make a good scrappy quilt, you'll need to have several different prints in each colorway. Sounds like a lot of fabric but you don't need yards and yards of prints for each color.  Fat quarters, 1/4 yards or even smaller pieces will do. 


Next time you visit a quilt shop or shop online for fabric, in addition to buying yardage of what you love, try focusing on buying some prints in different colors you may not already have in your collection. Perhaps buy additional half yards, quarter yards or fat quarters of just ONE color (but a variety of prints in that color) on this trip. I always seem to be low on gold and green. Not my favorite colors or used often as the focus in my quilts but I still love to incorporate them into my scrap quilts and need to remember to buy more. Then, the next time you shop, focus on only buying say, an assortment of reds, or just buy a few brown prints.

In addition to buying "quiet" prints like the ones above, look for interesting prints in all the different colors. These will add interest to your quilts.

Over time, if you shop often, this will give you a nice variety. And, you may find that this is a way to overcome the overwhelming feeling we all get when we enter a quilt shop and may help to keep the confusion to a minimum. There's usually inspiration at every step and if you see a quilt you must make, then go for it and buy all of the fabric it takes. Just remember to also build up your basic fabric collection while you're there. Also, if you make small quilts, then don't buy all large, busy floral prints. Mix it up and buy a few geometrics, stripes or checks, tiny florals and dots too. Save the large florals for the borders perhaps. When you build up your fabric collection this way, the next time you feel like making a scrappy quilt, you're good to go.


Bottom line - don't be afraid to buy more fabric. Sure, maybe you feel you don't need it and it's probably true, we will never use all of it up in our lifetimes. But, as quilters, it goes without saying that we are also collectors of fabric. Fabric is what drives us as well as the entire quilting industry.  You should not apologize or feel ashamed if you have too much fabric. Buying fabric is an essential part of the creative process and it often gives us the inspiration we need to begin something new. Stop and think -  do you really need 5 yards of a print you love? Or, will a half yard or even a fat quarter do? There will always be new fabric to love. You may be better off buying additional smaller pieces of some other lovely prints that will complement that one and this will build up your collection. 

                                                               Happy Fall!


Cynthia/quilter said...

Thank you for the wonderful hints! I always get fat quarters because I like scrappy quilts. I enjoyed very much making your row by row quilt using your book and the sew along.

Auntie Em said...

I sort my fabrics by color also. Thanks for the list of useful color families. I seem to be pretty light on the rust/oranges. Perhaps those colors will be my next target to look for. Nothing like an excuse to go fabric shopping! said...

You read my mind! Thank you for so much great advice. My one problem is that I don't live near any quilt shops but when I go online there is no one that sells individual fat quarters that I've found. Most want to sell bundles of one fabric line for $100 of dollars that I can't afford all at once. If anyone knows of a online shop where you can pick and choose fat quarters I would really appreciate it! Thanks again Kathleen!

dwortman said...

Great advice! I stash my fabrics by color as well, which simplifies my process for creating a quilt. I also occasionally edit my fabrics; those which have been in the stash and remain unused.

Anonymous said...

Thousands of Bolts online has fat quarters from various manufacturers like Marcus, Henry Glass, etc. Use the filter to search for “historic” fabrics. I usually buy a yard ($5-6). Love my local brick & mortar shops, but the repro selection is limited.

Susie said...

I have a huge clip box full of scraps which I need to get around to cutting into different sizes but time!!! I will get around to it one day! Susie x

Anonymous said...

I often seem to pick to same kind of colors/prints. Sometimes I ask
my husband to pick out some fq's. Gives more variation because he might pick a pattern/color I overlook.

Edurne said...

Hola Kathleen.
Tengo por costumbre cuando compro telas para hacer un proyecto comprar un poco mas de cada una de ellas así he llegado a tener cantidad de trozos con los que deseo hacer algún proyecto que me entusiasme ya sea pequeño ó grande.
Gracias por sus buenos consejos.


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