Sewing Back-To-School: Fabric Pairing and Selection

This post is part of the Sewing Back-to-School series, 30 days of helpful sewing articles by guest bloggers. Feel free to check out the original Sewing Back-to-School post for schedule and previous posts!

Today’s guest post is by Kim from Poppy Seed Fabrics. Kim also has a blog. Kim stocks many fabrics and bundles, including the new Grand Bazaar fabrics and ribbon trim by Patty Young! Although, my current favorite from the shop are these Anime Japanese Girlsomg! Check out the shop and see what you can find!

Have you ever been overwhelmed when selecting fabrics for a project? Do you know where to start? I’m Kim visiting from PoppySeed Fabrics and today I’m here to share with you a “How to” guide on fabric pairing and selection. This is a great beginners guide and a refresher for others. Hope you enjoy, so lets get started!


{The fabrics you choose are a big part of what will make your project special and uniquely yours}

There are tons of different types of fabric that I could write this whole article on. {sigh} Today I’m just going to focus on 100% quilting cotton which is the bulk of what we sell over on PoppySeed Fabrics. We do carry other fabrics such as minky, flannel, Japanese imports, laminate, nylon, satin, knit and voile which are equally fun to work with.

When selection fabric for a project it’s good to know, it’s all about color, print and style. Knowing the difference between WARM VS COOL fabrics is half the battle. Reds, oranges and yellows are considered warm colors.

While greens, blues and violets are considered cool colors. Generally warm colors “advance” or seam to appear more prominent compared with cool which “recedes” or stays in the background.

Can you categorize your prints into warm and cool? How about large, medium and small prints?

Knowing these differences will make pairing fabrics much easier.

Do you know what a Monochromatic color scheme is? (don’t worry at one point I didn’t know either)
The term Monochromatic Color Scheme means to use only one color. Combining fabrics of the same color tone but different scales large and small, creates a more interesting monochromatic color, like so.

This is another options when pairing fabrics.

I’m often asked by customers, how to choose print fabrics for a quilt. My answer is always the same, “Use what you Like” Relying on your own tastes is the best way to end up with a project that you are happy with. So, how do you do this? Easy, start with one fabric at a time. Choose 2-3 of your favorite prints, this choice will be the ones you MUST have in the project you’re making.

From there, you are going to mix and match different fabrics trying to pick up the colors from your main fabrics choices. Once you have the right fabric combo that you love, you have your fabric bundle.

(click HERE for this bundle)

Here is another example of pairing

Now if you have a print that you love but don’t know what colors it will go with

A good rule is to look on the selvage of that print, these little circles give a indicator of what colors are being used in that design. This will help you figure out what other coordinating prints will work.

Based off of these little color circles I put together this bundle

Now, if after this process you are still uncomfortable with your selection or the idea of choosing a bunch of different fabrics. Look instead for a fabric collection you find appealing and buy all the fabric for your project from the same collection. A great example of this is the new Grand Bazaar collection from Patty Young which has 26 great prints to choose from.

(found HERE)

This will give many choices of big and small prints to coordinate with what you are making. By selecting fabrics from the same collection you will have the freedom of choosing what you want but knowing that the fabrics will match. Also a good thing to know is that fabric collections usually come in 2 or 3 color palettes. This helps tons when you just want a certain color to work with. Grand Bazaar comes in 3 color palettes. See how each palette is so different in color.

Sometimes we tend to always stick with the same colors or prints, however by using a fabric collection we get a wide variety of prints and colors which coordinate and make your project look awesome.

One of my favorites coming soon to shoppe, is Little Apples from Moda. This is the entire collection.

When using the entire collection in a project, you can make some really cute things!

(little apples, quilt top -soon to be a kit for purchase)

I hope the process of selecting and choose fabric is a bit easier. Here are key points to remember….


REMEMBER: “The fabrics you choose is a big part of what will make your project special and uniquely yours,” try new things, be creative!

and most important HAVE FUN!!!!!

from PoppySeed Fabrics

PS. We would be happy to assist you with all your quilting and project needs. We love creating custom fabric bundles and will help you pair fabric for your special project. Visit Poppy Seed Fabrics for more information!

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3 replies on “Sewing Back-To-School: Fabric Pairing and Selection

  • ♥Duff

    Thanks Kim (and sara!). choosing fabrics is really hard for me! One question I have is about the print size. yes, i can determine the size, but what is your thinking after that? Am I supposed to find a mix (is there a ratio?) or go with one size? does it depend on the project/can you give me an example? (if you are making a quilt with both warm and cool colors, do you look for a mix in both colors that recede and advance?)


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