Saturday, 27 May 2017

Choosing Fabrics for a Sewing Project


Any quilter will tell you the most time-consuming stage of any project is choosing fabrics.  It doesn’t matter if it is a full-size quilt or a small mini project.  So how do you choose fabrics when you are new to quilting/sewing?  Here are some of the ways I pick fabrics:

1.         Use pre-cut fabric collections.  This may seem like ‘cheating’ but it is a great way to build experience of colour combos and fabric placement.  Pre-cuts come in all shapes and sizes, from 5" charm squares to one yard bundles.  I'm quite keen on the 10" x 5" Jolly Bars for mug rug making.
The more you use collections the more you get to know what selections and patterns you like. 

2.         Use a kit.  This is especially good for new quilters.  It will save waste and you'll know at the outset that your finished quilt will look good. 

It may seem an expensive way of starting out but you should end up with plenty of scrap pieces to use in other projects.  Which leads me on to my favourite option .....

3.         Make a mug rug.  Okay, I know this seems an obvious suggestion coming from The Patchsmith but a mug rug is the perfect size project for trying out new and unusual combinations.  

A mug rug is such a small item that, if you end up not liking your fabric selections you will only have wasted a small amount of fabric and you can use your mistake on your work desk until you hit upon a combination you do like.

4.         Make just one block.   This is a great choice if you are not confident and starting out on a larger project.  
This combination doesn't quite do it for me ....

Make any 6” block using your fabric choices and see if they work together.  If not try another block with different fabrics.    
but a slight change and it is perfect!

5.         Walk away. Lay out your fabric selections then walk away.  

Go make a cup of tea and return to see if the fabrics work together.  If you are still unsure then leave them out overnight and sleep on it.  In the morning you will know as soon as you look at them.

6.         Squint.  This is very similar to step 5. Lay out your fabric selections and then squint so that the patterns and colours are out of focus.  You should be able to see if the balance of light and dark, pattern and plain is right.  

Gradually you will find yourself mixing-and-matching different fabric collections and you will develop your own method for choosing fabrics for your next project.  But, no matter how experienced you become, it will always be the most time consuming part of any project!

Until next time ......

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Patchwork Fabric, Fun and Friends

Snapshots Block 2 'Sew on and on'

Every year the Fat Quarter Shop share a beautiful quilt pattern whilst raising thousands of pounds for the charity of their choice.

In 2014 it was the Wishes quilt-along in support of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Click on the photo for the Wishes patterns and tutorials

In 2015 it was the very popular Snapshots quilt-along that raised funds for St. Judes.
Click on the photo for the Snapshots patterns and tutorials

In 2016 it was the Crossroads quilt-along raising thousands for March of Dimes.
Click on the photo for the Crossroads patterns and tutorials

And this year it is the Patchwork quilt-along in support of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Click on the photo for the Patchwork patterns and tutorials

The block patterns are free but it would be lovely if you could support this year’s charity with a few dollars - just go to the Fat Quarter Shops’ Donation page to find out how.

I am joining in again this year with the Patchwork quilt-along but instead of a full size quilt I am making an autumnal table runner.  If you want to join me you will need lots of lovely autumnal fabrics....  
Despite its name I think this collection would be perfect for autumn.

....and you will need to make two of each block. I will be back next week to show you the blocks made so far but it isn't too late to join in - the blocks are quick and easy.