My name is AshB and I am a fabri-holic. Admitting is the first step right? One of my favorite parts of sewing is the hunt for the perfect selection of fabric combinations. My bags often tout at least three and sometimes four different fabrics. I love to see the bags finished but getting to that point is a journey and sometimes its arduous- but I absolutely love every second of it.
People often comment on my fabric selections so I thought I would take a moment and give a little insight into how I get
The last few days have been a whirlwind of shopping for fabrics. It began when we were still in Ruston, LA. I stumbled into The Fabric Shop and came out about two and a half hours later with a really big bag of fabric!
Then of course I made my usual rounds in Memphis from Hancocks to JoAnns to Broom Corn and then to Bumbletees (the best for last!). I love Bumbletees because they are a small business and artists! They are so awesome and their store is the coolest.
So that’s where I shop around! But that’s just the beginning. It’s easy to love a fabric. It’s hard to pick three or four to put together. There are a number of ways to combine and choose fabrics to coordinate with each other, but here is how I work…
There are a lot of great designers out there that create collections of fabric where several pieces are made to coordinate with each other. Even though these fabrics look great together I try my best to group fabrics together that were NOT made with the intention of being put together. I prefer the final look of those groupings because they feel more spontaneous and fresh. For instance…
These fabrics are made by Moda. I love them! I loved them enough to buy all of them! haha… However, when placed together I feel like they cancel each other out. WIth the exception of the blue dot in the lower center I feel like these fabrics, when put together, do not give that punch that I look for in a fabric grouping.
Non of these four fabrics were made by the same designer. Even though this selection is much brighter than the previous selection, I love how these fabrics work together better than the other selection.
The reason I prefer the second selection of fabric is simple. It has to do with color/pattern tones, tints and shades. These are art terms that refer to the lightness and darkness of a color/pattern. It’s science. The first grouping of fabrics are in general the same tone. They are all the same colors and in general the patterns are all the same size. There is not a lot of variety of pattern size. The colors also do not vary in lightness or darkness from fabric to fabric. They are the same.
The second grouping of fabric is much different. The floral is big and bold and very busy. There are light and dark tones of colors within this pattern. The pink and red dot is very different. The eye reads this pattern closer to a solid. It is much darker than the floral. The lime geometric print is similar in that the eye reads this pattern closer to a solid but much lighter than the red and pink dot. Finally there is the pink and lime stripe. It is also light like the green but it serves as the bridge that connects the red dot and green geometric prints together.The important thing is that the patterns vary in pattern type (floral, dot, strip, geometric), color tones (various light and dark and bright flowers, dark red and pink dots, lime geometric), and pattern size (the dot is bigger than the stripe but not as big as the floral). These three components work together to make a fabric grouping succeed!
This may seem overwhelming and difficult to understand at first. A picture is worth a thousand words right? Below I have converted the two above images into black and white. Look at how the patterns differ from each other in this setting.
The goal is to have some dark, some medium, and some light shades of whatever color you want. You absolutely do not want everything to look the same. The reason the fabrics on the right all look like one shade of gray is because the pattern sizes are similar, the fabric colors are similar, and the fabric types are all similar. There is not a great difference between the pieces. That is how your eye blends them together when you look at them.
This is not a fast process all the time though! Do not get frustrated if it takes you a while to match up a bunch of fabrics like this. It takes me a while too. There are times I grab four fabrics and bam! it’s awesome, but most of the time I can spend anywhere between thirty minutes and several hours selecting the best combos.
I know it’s great being able to walk into a store and feel and see the fabric in front of you but that isn’t always possible so I am including some links at the bottom to some of my favorite sites who feature my favorite designers! Once you find a designer or company you like you can google them and through the company that prints that designer you can locate places that are closest to you that sell that brand/designer! This way you can actually see and touch the fabric before you buy it. Good hunting ya’ll!! And don’t forget to keep me posted on your findings!