Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Colour Confidence in Quilting

I wanted to write a post about colour for my MakeClub Bee-ers and Online Bee'ers alike, as it's the area in quilting that holds the most fear for the most people. It is the big stumbling block that stops so many people taking that leap from the big group of people who have 'always wanted to make a quilt' into those who do make quilts and LOVE IT! Why stand on the yearning wishing side for another minute when you could be having so much fun actually doing it over this side???

There is such a mythology around 'being good at colour'. I hear so often the following; 'I'm no good at choosing colours, i don't know what 'goes', what if i choose the 'wrong' colours?'

You really shouldn't waste time worrying about it because;
1. You are good at choosing colours!

2. You can't go wrong

3. If you're nervous, cheat and copy, it's legitimately called inspiration!

You see, I think that everyone has a built in colour guide, but it's set to their own frequency. We all have that 'eeww' moment when we feel that something doesn't 'go'. Its the same impulse that makes us like the taste of some things and not of others. We don't agonise and doubt our food taste so why our visual taste? As long as you're not going eeeww at your own quilt then that's all that matters!

My top tips:
1. Go with what you know you like for your first quilt. Pick colours that you feel comfortable with and you genuinely like, it will make the process less fraught with self doubt.

2. If you still don't know what you like, then look about your home and pick out items you like and use them as a colour guide. Use clothes, cushions, pictures, wherever you find pattern and colour that you like. I like to use skirts; Kids storybooks are a really rich source of colour combostea towels are an unexpected source of good colours too!

3. Go to a good greetings card shop and buy a card that you love. Then pick apart the colours and match your fabrics to them. Here is a card I like and here is a colour scheme matched to it, see how it works? Simple? 4. Lastly the selvage cheat. If you find a fabric you love that has lots of colours within in, then look at the selvage at the side. Each of those little dots is giving you a clue to what colours will look great with your print. If you take the little spots to your fabric store and just match the dots you will have a beautiful quilt! I promise it really can be that easy.

So if you are planning on making your first quilt, or following our Newbie Quilters Bee Along start choosing some fabrics and dreaming about that first quilt colour combo with confidence!


  1. Thanks so much for this post as lack of colour confidence is the only thing stopping me 'making' my 1st quilt. That however is soon to be remedied thanks to winning yor giveaway and the online bee we're taking part in! I'm also going to do your virtual bee too to develop my quilting skills! Justine xx

  2. really good post debs :) i have made a few mistakes buying fabric online but if a fabric isnt just right i add it to the stash im building and know it will come to good use at some point.

    If someone is really unsure what to pick for their first quilt project they could look for designers that have lots of coordinating fabrics in their collection that can be mixed n' matched.

  3. I think that's really good advice.

  4. Deb, this is brilliant, I am rubbish with colour so this is really helpful for me. And you're right. It's about what I like (which I hadn't figured out for myself!)