Tuesday, January 23, 2018


I've been an interior designer for 34 years this year. Who knew when i purchased Decorating Den Interiors franchise in 1984 that I would be so successful at it? Deep down I think I did. It never occurred to me that I would fail at it. I've won lots of awards over there, had the top producing franchise in the whole company in the 90's and been published in lots of magazines. Even on the cover of WINDOW FASHIONS! As my business winds down, I am finishing up with a Model Home for a builder. It has been so much fun to do this! I will surely post pictures!

Now on to quilting and learning colors. To be an interior designer you should have a knack for design and color coordination. If you dont, you need to select a different career. I sewed and made clothing for myself since I was a teenager so I was confident I had the ability to succeed. And I have. In 2010, the opportunity arose for me to take a beginning quilting class at a local quilt shop. I loved it! I couldn't wait to get home after class and sew up the two blocks that were assigned for that week. I loved pulling the colors and fabrics together for that quilt and I still have it. It was a sampler and if I could figure out how to get a picture posted to this blog I would include it. I used a combination of new fabrics and older fabrics that I had in my stash. At the time I didn't even know I had a stash but I had made a quilt for my first grandson and still had fabrics left from that one. Looking at Jack's quilt now, it was not very good.

Back to learning colors. I have heard so many quilters who love to sew and make quilts complain that they have difficulty selecting fabrics for their quilts. Some have said they only buy kits or take Block of the Month (BOM)classes because they dont want to select the fabrics. On the flip side, I'm not all that enamored with BOM's. I dont always like the fabrics selected and when I buy a kit, it is usually on sale and I like the fabrics in it but not necessarily the pattern.

Based on my experience I want to share with you 5 tips on selecting fabrics and colors for your quilt.

1. Select a focal print. This is the main fabric of the quilt from which to pull the rest of your colors and fabrics. If I find a fabric on sale that I love, I will buy at least 2 yards of it. Many times the focal print is used for the border and a few pieces in the quilt body but not necessarily all over the quilt. If you have a focal print that you have purchased and you dont know what to do with it, pull it out and lets practice.

2. Lay out your focal print, go to your stash and select 3 to 4 other fabrics to put with it. In most cases, my other fabrics will also be prints. Back in the Victorian design days of the 80's and 90's, I would often pull at least 5 other prints to go with the focal print in a room design. Look for a large print, a medium size print and several smaller prints and a solid. You will be looking for colors and designs that mirror your focal print. If your focal is a large floral, select a medium coordinated print of a smaller floral with similar colors. A polka dot, a stripe, a texture, pulling colors from the main fabric. Practice makes perfect.

3. Stand back and look at your selections. Do they blend together and complement each other? Fabrics and colors dont have to match exactly. In fact, I go out of my way not to match things exactly. When you stand back at a distance, you will see that these fabrics will go together even if not an exact match.

4. The Color wheel can be a useful toy. But I must admit I dont use one. I think I have worked so long in colors that they are permanently fused onto my brain. But if you have a color wheel, compare your fabric selections to the color wheel and see if you have managed to select complementary colors to each other or adjacent colors. There is lots of information available on the internet about the color wheel so you can learn more through that.

5. My last advice is to find a pattern for the fabrics you have selected. Most quilters probably find a pattern they like first and then try to find fabrics to make it with. I prefer to find the fabrics first and then the pattern will appear, either in a magazine or on a blog or one I have.

Hope this helps you in your fabric selections. Practice makes perfect. Carol

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