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Garden Connection Quilt - Choosing Fabrics

My Garden Connection quilt is a new pattern that is a contemporary yet classic style quilt. It is inspired by antique French quilts that are patched with old woven grain sacks and pieces of floral fabric. To achieve this look I have combined a selection of Moda Toweling from my Lakeside range and other floral and geometric prints. The sample I have sewn is in neutral tones of linen, off white and washed black. In this Blog I am going to walk through choosing print and striped fabrics to create this quilt in different colours.

If you can see past the dog and cat, both of whom have some weird magnetic attraction to this quilt, notice how the stripes run in different directions. This gives the quilt some more interest and adds some movement. It also means there is no 'right way up' - the quilt can go on the bed any which way. Running the stripes in different directions also maintains the antique feel of the quilt. Sewers would have patched up the quilt with whatever was available. They did not have the luxury of worrying which way the stripes would run, they just were happy the piece of fabric was big enough.

With some patches I have centred the stripes and then others are just cut randomly. This, once again, is a nod to the antique inspiration for this quilt. However, the cuts are always made parallel to the stripes, it keeps the seams on the grain, making the sewing a little easier.

When choosing fabrics for quilts, there are no right or wrong choices. If you like it - then that is all that matters. Students often worry about choosing fabric - but I always say to them, it's a bit like getting dressed. Most people can put together an acceptable looking outfit - trousers or skirt and a top. They generally coordinate their clothing and look pretty good. Even people with a more outlandish and eclectic style can look great - so don't fret too much, just have fun.

Start with a fabric or theme you like. For the selection on the left, I decided to go classic red, white and blue. I grabbed a pretty floral by American Jane that had all those colours and then found some other reds and blues which had different scale prints. Using different sized prints is a great way to obtain a cohesive look. Remember the getting dressed analogy - if you have a large, chintzy floral skirt you probably wouldn't choose a large scale floral top. You would most likely select a plain or a little dot. Large scale bottoms and small scale top! You can see the different scales of prints that are in this selection.

Then choose some stripes. Once again I have red, whites and blues and they are also different scales. Some are wide stripes, some are close together and others are more spread out. So scale and a colour theme were the keys to choosing this selection. I think this selection would sew up really well into the Garden Connection quilt - I would probably use a navy blue for the sashing - but I usually don't select the sashing or borders until I have made some blocks.

This group I chose to depict a soft, coastal theme. The sailing boats and birds by Janet Clare coordinate with greys, taupes and off whites. None of the prints here are very large scale but they are different in density. The sailing boat print is quite dense with lots of angular movement and the birds are more spread out. Then there is the blue splatter that provides an all over mottle effect. The taupe with the little floral sprays is almost working like a plain in this selection. Plain is useful, because there is somewhere to rest the eye. If everything is too busy it becomes a little tiring to look at. The remaining two prints are working as textures - one is almost a close check and the other with a wiggly vine pattern to provide some movement.

The toweling stripes, I've chosen are a mixture of texture, plain and different scale. I like this selection a lot and I think I might have to make another version of Garden Connection - these colours will be perfect in my bedroom. Soothing and gentle with a coastal classic vibe. I am thinking of sashing in a Moda Mochi Linen in a natural colour.

This final one is another version of neutrals.

Different textures, different sized prints, light and dark fabrics to balance each other out. If there was only one black fabric in this quilt it would stand out. There are four darks in this so they will be balanced across the quilt with the off whites and taupes, making for a well balanced result. It also helps that some of the taupe and off white fabrics have black printing or weave, it ties all the fabrics together - they belong.

These fabric selection ideas are not just for my Garden Connection quilt. You can apply these guidelines to any fabric choice you are making. Remember - if you like it, then that is the most important thing. There are no rules, just have some fun with it and enjoy choosing fabric for your next project.

The pattern for Garden Connection is available on my website in paper or PDF format.

Happy sewing.


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