How to Match Fabrics Like a Pro

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This Guide Makes It Easy as 1-2-3!

Selecting fabric for a quilting project can be a lot of fun – or very frustrating. It’s easy to get bogged down at this crucial step because you want your quilt to turn out great, and it’s so easy to second guess your choices.

Besides color and value (light to dark), one thing you need to consider when selecting fabrics is the pattern of each. Sometimes the colors are right but the patterns just don’t mix – and, you want to know that before you begin piecing!

Corey at has put together a great guide for mixing and matching fabric patterns. She’s talking specifically about home decor but her insights apply just as nicely to selecting fabric for quilts. In fact, looking at quilt fabric from her perspective may be just what you need to go from nice to fabulous in your next quilt.

I typically like to use 3 patterns in a space (editor: let’s say quilt here).  This is just enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it will seem too busy.  But don’t be afraid to break this rule.  It will totally depend on the look you are going for.  Many of us are struggling with breaking up with the matchy-matchy look that our mom’s were so good at.  Remember that your patterns don’t have to match, they just have to go.  By that I mean they have to have some element in common.  That might be color, style, or scale.

So if we are choosing 3 patterns to go together we are going to choose one of each:

  • Floral/Organic

  • Geometric (editor: this includes stripes and plaids)

  • Scale that is much smaller or much larger than your other 2 choices.

fabric for a little girl's room

Fabric for a little girl’s room (or quilt)?

After delving more deeply into each of those suggestions, she goes on to advise:

I love to shop for fabrics online and usually pin them to a secret Pinterest board when I’m brainstorming so that I can see my choices all together.  Then I can go to the board and see them all next to each other to make my final choices.  I would suggest that you always order swatches first if you are ordering online since the colors and textures can be a little off on your screen.

Fabric for a little girl's room

Fabric for a little boy’s room (or quilt)?

Great advice for selecting just the right fabrics for your next quilting project! Keep in mind that if your quilt design requires more than three fabrics you can scale up her suggestion of 3 patterns by choosing multiples of each of type. Just keep things balanced and your quilt will be beautiful while having lots of interest from fabric variations.

Read the entire in-depth “How to Mix Fabrics Like a Pro” guide here.






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