Is choosing fabrics your favorite part of the sewing process? It is mine!! I know not everyone feels the same way though, and I am here to help. Palette inspiration for your sewing projects can come from so many places! If you want some tips for putting together your next fabric pull and loving the process (or at least starting to make friends with it), try some of my favorite sources of inspo:
- Your people
- A fabric or other design that you love
- A mood or feeling
- Favorite books, movies, or characters
Nature is, hands-down, my #1 most used source for helping me choose colors and prints for my fabric pulls. From cold grey mornings in winter or the first buds of spring, to a summer thunderstorm or autumn sunset… there is so much color and design inspiration to be found in nature! Here are some of my favorite nature-inspired fabric pulls. On the left is the Sand and Clay bundle, the top right is October Sunset, and bottom right is Thunderstorm.
It’s a bit of a no-brainer that if you’re making a gift for someone, you might want them to like it! But there is more than one way to create a quilt (or other project) that reflects the recipient. Maybe you could use the colors of their favorite flowers, prints that will remind them of a trip you took together, textures and colors from a place you used to hang out when you first met.
Close your eyes and picture your person. What are they wearing? What are they doing? Where are they? How does it make you feel to think about them? Use some of these questions as a jumping off point to start putting together some fabrics to make them a special sewn gift.
First up, I want to share a quilt I made for my twin sister (that’s her holding it!). She loves the beach and her garden and the summer and vintage style. She’s an artist and I love visiting her beautiful home. When I think of her she makes me feel safe and loved and happy. This was made during my early quilting days before I really learned to use patterns. I turned one of the blocks the wrong way and didn’t have the heart to fix it. But I think every quilt deserves to be allowed imperfection, just like us.
Next, I made this quilt for a friend of mine who loves hiking, gardening, the desert, and just the outdoors in general. When trying to decide on a palette for her quilt, I found photos of succulent plants (because let’s face it, all of my own succulents are D-E-A-D) to pull colors from. I chose various shades of green and also bright pops of purple, pink, peach and yellow that are common colors of succulent flowers. When I think of my friend, I think of relaxing and giggling and making things together.
Side note: The seams on this quilt are pretty damn wonky. This was also made when I was new to quilting and was one of the first patterns I tried. But I don't think my friend minds.
A PRINT OR DESIGN
If you’re planning to make a quilt top with solids and use a print for the backing, try picking out your backing first! Or if you have a print you really love, feature it with some solids or blenders to back it up. Start with a few of the colors that drew you to the print and then build on that. You don’t have to use all of them and you can add colors that aren’t in the print too! Just have fun with it!
The bundle below was put together for a customer who was planning to use the print for her backing!
For this quilt, I started with the strawberry print because I absolutely adore it. I added pink and red to match and a pop of blue for something unexpected!
A MOOD OR FEELING
Think about the comfort of curling up on the couch with your pet or person under your favorite quilt. What would that quilt look like? What is the mood you try to create in your home?
Or maybe you want to create something that takes you back to a warm, sunny day taking a walk around your beloved city. How does it make you feel thinking about your neighborhood and the people, places, and nature you pass by on your walk?
The quilt below is one of my first, favorite, and most loved quilts that my family uses in our home. I made it in October (one of my favorite months) and chose colors that reminded me of fall leaves in a softer and more modern palette. For the backing, I chose a bold, fun print with the addition of a bright blue background that reminded me of crisp, breezy autumn days with wide open, cloudless skies. When I use this quilt, it brings me a warm, cozy, and quiet feeling. It also reminds me of my sweet friendship with the pattern designer and how making this quilt changed my creative life and my LIFE life so much.
FAVORITE BOOKS, MOVIES, OR CHARACTERS
I love to read and I love beautiful book covers! The cover for World of Wonders is such a special one. When a sweet friend sent me a copy of this book, I instantly fell in love with the art on the cover. I started with the shades of pink and peach because those really stood out to me first, and then I built onto each end of the color spectrum based on the other colors from the artwork.
Earlier this year I had a chance to work with Jillian of @this.mountain.life to create a quilt kit inspired by this modern cover for Little Women. I chose a floral that reminded me of the greenery design, pink and green to coordinate with the little rosettes (or are they berries?) and the girls’ bows and collars, and a golden brown for their hair and the gold lettering. Remember it’s inspiration - and it should be fun! So it doesn’t have to match perfectly. Don’t feel like you are tethered to the exact colors.
Don’t be afraid to just follow your color intuition — we ALL have it (including YOU)! Sometimes you’re going to love your choices and sometimes you’re not (and sometimes you won’t decide which it is until you’ve finished your project), but that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong! Exploring color through sewing is an opportunity for you to feel free to learn about yourself and what speaks to you creatively!
Here are a few of my recent projects, fabric pulls, bundles, and quilt kits from my shop. These were all so much fun to put together!
Still a little stumped? Here are a few more ideas for browsing if you’re just not quite sure where to begin:
- Design Seeds pulls colors from photos to create (a HUGE variety of) amazing palettes. Search by color, season, nature, food, and lots of other themes. While you’re at it, thumb through some of your own photos too!
- Pinterest is a great place to search for themes and you can create your own inspiration board for your projects! Here is one of my own pin boards for retro designs and colors that I love!
Thanks so much for reading and I hope that these ideas have helped you feel inspired and ready to create your next perfect fabric pull! If you’d like, leave me a comment and tell me about one of your recent or upcoming fabric pulls!