The Art of Picking Quilt Fabric: 5 Tips for Magazine-worthy Projects

Sep 10, 2019 7:48:00 AM / by Melanie Call

Hi! It's Melanie from A Bit of Scrap Stuff! Today we are going to chat about choosing the perfect fabric for your next AccuQuilt project! Are you lucky enough to have a local quilt shop near enough to spend some quality time mixing and matching bunches of lovely fabric bolts to find the perfect combination? Or do you panic as soon as you walk into the store? Or are you an online shopper who relies on your computer/tablet/phone screen resolution for color accuracy? Worry no more! I have five tips for all who need a little help picking fabric for their next quilt project. 

PLUS AccuQuilt has an awesome FREE on-line tool to help you!





5 Tips for Picking Quilt Fabric


Tip 1: Pick a pre-cut. 

A pre-cut is a full fabric collection (there may be some duplicate prints) that is already designed to match. No fuss or concern, your project will be amazing because the fabric designer did all the hard work for you! Pre-cuts are awesome and come in a variety of sizes like 2½" squares, 5" squares, 10" squares, 2½" WOF strips, fat eighth bundles, and fat quarter bundles. Another pre-cut bonus is there is no need to trim them down - just stack the pre-cut fabric on your AccuQuilt die and start cutting! 




Tip 2: Stick with one designer. 

Most fabric designers use similar colors and prints in their collections so multiple collections coordinate. This is super helpful as most designers will release one to two collections each year. Yes, go ahead and pick your favorite prints from each collection and most likely they will match beautifully.


Tip 3: Mind the fabric print scale. 

I like to mix large print fabrics with small print fabrics - I think this balances out your project. Did you notice in the first picture of the Prairie Queen Block I paired a larger navy floral print with a small pink print? Smaller print fabrics tend to look a little busier, even when cut into smaller pieces, so larger print adds balance to busyness without taking anything away from any of the fabric designs.


It is also a good idea to think about the cut block size AND the fabric print scale/size. For example, if you are cutting 3" squares then you will want to choose a small scale print fabric because if the fabric scale is a 6" flower and you won't be able to see the full flower within your 3" squares.


Tip 4: Choose fabric that you LOVE. 

Don't feel like you have to use the "most popular" or "latest trendy" fabric collection. You want to enjoy making your quilt project and love it when you are finished. Quilting is an expression of ourselves, so let it be about what you think looks good! Quilting is supposed to fun, after all.


When selecting my fabrics, I often choose a few favorite fabric prints that make me happy (yes, they are often florals) then start mixing in a few coordinating solids or prints of gingham, stripes, dots, and geometric designs. Never overlook the power of a solid fabric mixed in among your patterns. Solids provide a frame for your gorgeous prints and can allow your eyes to rest from all the bold designs you've chosen for your project.


Below is a pillow I created using a mixture of Juniper fabrics. The pattern includes everything from geometrics, stripes, florals and solids. The shapes are smaller, so a mix of muted, simple and smaller prints alongside solids make a bold and balanced look:


20190331 170021 IMG_0462a_web


Tip 5: Use GO! Quilt. 

This awesome and FREE tool on the AccuQuilt Website provides over 500 AccuQuilt quilt, pillow, table runner and decor patterns to choose from, with new patterns being added all the time! All you do is select your project then use GO! Quilt to change colors or fabrics either from your stash or the list of preloaded designer fabrics until you have the look you love!


Learn all the features you can enjoy with GO! Quilt here!




How I use GO! Quilt


1. Choose your project. 

I began by searching the Home Decor section under Project Type since I was looking for a pillow pattern. I decided on Prairie Queen Pillow.  




2. Time to color your project. 

I chose to use color, but fabrics are an option too. Remember, you can even upload your own fabric swatches from your personal stash.




3. Select colors.

Below are the first selection of colors I tried.




4. Don't be afraid to try more variations.

After seeing my first selection, I decided to reverse the colors - and I liked it even more! That's what is so great about GO! Quilt. I loved being able to easily change the colors until I found a combination that I loved with NO fabric wasted while testing out ideas!




5.  Downloaded the free pattern directions.

When you finish customizing your pattern, you can download a PDF version of the fabric estimations, supply list and cutting/sewing instructions. It's great because you can save it to your phone and access it from a smartphone while at the fabric shop. If you would prefer to print the pattern out instead, you can do that too. Either way, you'll have all the fabric requirements and die needs while you do your shopping. Below is just a snippet of the pattern.




For this pattern, I needed:

*Shape 1, Shape 2, and Shape 3 are all included in the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block. The Qubes are amazing and a better value than purchasing each die separately. I love them!  


6. GO! "shopping" from your scrap bin!

Since I was making a pillow, I started looking through my blue and pink fabrics. I chose the navy floral then the small pink print, both from Riley Blake's Shortcake Fabric line. I gathered up my necessary dies, which was super easy with my GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block.




7. Follow the Pattern

I easily followed the Prairie Queen Pillow pattern and sewed my block together so quickly! I loved not having to trim down my half square triangles!




If you want to learn more on how to use  GO! Quilt, click TUTORIALS in the upper right corner of your GO! Quilt screen. 


I hope these five tips for selecting fabric will help you for your next project. Just remember to choose fabrics that you love and makes you happy! Be sure to follow me on Instagram @abitofscrapstuff and on my A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog for more fabric fun!


Happy Quilting!




Topics: fabric, GO! Quilt, GO! Getter, Quilting Tips

Melanie Call

Written by Melanie Call

Search Posts