An adventure in quilting hexagons: Part 2 – Choosing fabric for a quilt

(If you haven’t read part one of this post and you’d like to know about the inspiration for this project, you can find it here).

So, the best thing happened.

I quote Mum: ‘Use whatever you like out of my stash’.

Yes.  Just yes!

I want to make this quilt double bed sized, and so the naturally frugal student side of me was worried about how much the fabric will cost, whereas the spontaneous side was thinking ‘oh just buy the fabric already, you’d rather have a quilt than food, right?!’  I don’t really know which side of me was winning that war, but now it no longer needs to be fought, because I have all this:

IMG_3176

Yeah, ok, I haven’t ironed them yet… ignore that please!

These are all standard quilting weight 100% cotton fabrics… apart from the yellow accent one, I have no idea what it is made of but it used to be a pillowcase, I think.  Why not upcycle if you can, right? (You may also be wondering why the accent is yellow… the border is to be yellow, so I thought it might tie in nicely).

Speaking of the border, I haven’t chosen fabric for it or for the quilt back yet, I want to do that after I finish the top. Eventually.

In the end, when I went through the scraps it turned out I only needed to buy a little bit of fabric (in all truthfulness, by my quick calculations I would have had enough, but I always like to have some spare in case of mistakes!).  I bought two half-metres of these Alexander’s Flower Blenders by M’Liss because they work really well with the other fabrics I chose.

IMG_3178

Speaking of which fabrics go well with others, I thought I’d share some of my tips for choosing fabrics for a stash-busting quilt, using this one as an example:

  1. Think about the sort of colour scheme you want – one colour? A few coordinating colours? A crazy mix of random scraps? – and go through your stash. Unless you’re making a quilt from a kit, have a look at what you already have before you buy anything!  Grab out anything that looks ok and lay it out on the floor.
  2. Rule out any scraps that are too small – have a look at the pattern: what size pieces do you need to cut, and how many?  For this particular quilt, I need to start with 10″ squares, so anything smaller than that was straight out.  I intend to make it random, so my fabrics vary in size a lot – some I will get one hexagon out of, others maybe 6 or 7.  For this sort of scrappy quilt, that is fine – if you have enough variety in fabrics, proportions become unimportant.
  3. If you’ve noticed you have any really big pieces, maybe set them aside at this stage for the border or the back, if you like.
  4. Think about whether your pattern at all restricts the types of fabric you can use.  For example, here you have to cut the hexagons in half and rejoin them, so anything with really bold and obviously repetitive patterns is no good, as matching up the patterns would take forever (by all means, go for it if you like – I’m too lazy for that!).  Basically, the fabric below, although pretty, represents everything I didn’t want:IMG_3179
  5. Think about colour – put all your fabrics together, stand back, and have a good look. If there’s a fabric or two that stands out too much or looks otherwise out of place, take it out.  Also check that you have a good balance of lights and darks, and of each colour if you’re using multiple colour ranges.
  6. Finally (sorry, this is the mathsy part!), calculate whether you have enough fabric, and what/how much you need to buy.  It’s always a good idea to take some swatches of the fabric you already have when you shop for the remainder to make sure they match well, too!

So now the next step is cutting… once my half hexagon ruler arrives, which should make cutting hexagons a breeze!

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