Choosing Fabrics

For those who are stashbusting and not making scrappy quilts, do you have a harder time choosing fabrics from the stash than you would at the quilt shop?  When I lived near Village Mercantile, it was so easy to run over there and get fabrics.  She has so much and I love it all!  And, I was pretty bad about saying “The patterns calls for 3 yards . . give me 5 yards!”  Most of the time I was testing my own pattern and those first calculations aren’t always right!  Or, I might mess up, or  . . I might change my mind.

Back to choosing fabrics.   I have a hard time sometime deciding on the perfect fabric, especially when I’m limited to my stash.  But then I thought . . if 100 quilters were handed a pattern that required 5 fabrics, and all were given 4 fabrics, or even 3 fabrics and asked to pick the remaining 1 or 2 fabrics from a huge selection, I doubt any two quilters would pick the same fabric.  So, really . . why do I concern myself with finding the perfect fabric, when there really is no perfect choice?  No doubt, some (maybe all) have looked at some of my choices and said “I wouldn’t have put that fabric there”.  I’ve done it!

Over the weekend, I was pulling fabrics for my next project.  You thought all those fabrics laid out in the floor were next, right?  I kinda did plan to use the batiks but I really have a hard time using batiks.  Not that they’re hard to use but . . I love having them in my stash!  And, honestly, I couldn’t come up with quite the color combination that I wanted and I have way less batiks than regular cottons so my selection of regular cottons is much better.  And, I didn’t want to mix batiks and regular cottons.

Do you see how difficult this is?  It would really have been so much easier to go to the quilt shop and buy everything I needed!  Not gonna happen!

The thing I knew for sure is that I wanted a rich, dark purple for the outer border.  The purple stash is the smallest of all my colors.  Wouldn’t you know it?  I pulled fabrics (and put them back!) for over an hour.  Nothing was working.  Then I remembered that when I had my big shopping experience, I bought a whole bolt of purple.  Perfect color too!  So, I went about choosing the rest of the fabrics.  This was my first selection.  In fact, I went to bed thinking this is what I’d use.

That lighter lilac/lavender looks awful in the picture!  Maybe this will work.

Maybe, but maybe this will work better.

In the pictures, I like version 2 better but in real life, I like version 3 better.  The dark purple appears too blue in the pictures.  It’s more purple.

Either version 2 or 3 . . that’s what I’ll be working on for while.  Glad to finally have the fabrics chosen . . or almost chosen!


  1. 1

    pdudgeon says

    i like the number 3 group best.

    as far as using the stash is concerned, my main problem this year has been a shortage of large backing pieces.
    i had always bought fabric for the top and the binding and left the backing purchases for later. those early decisions bit me when i was confined to only using my stash.
    68 yards, almost half of my purchases, were backing fabrics. it seemed that i was often working against my self in reducing my stash, but it is smaller now than when i started.

    and i did learn from this experience to buy fabric for the whole quilt at one time.

  2. 2

    becky rhodes says

    Your choice 3 has the best contrast. Funny how sometimes purples and blues take on the other hues in pictures. I’ll take your word those are purples! When do we get to see the project? Not that we’re anxious or anything!!

  3. 3


    That’s the very fun part of being a quilter – to choose the fabric for the next project. And it can take from 1 to quite many hours. Some times I have to tell my self to make a choice NOW and I like to use what’s in my stash because I have a lot. Not quite as much as you, but enough. Not true, there’s never ever gonna be enough. I can always find room for another fabric.

    An other funny or fascinating part of quilting is as you say, that if ten quilters were to pick colours, there wouldn’t be two, which were the same. That’s why I love to gather some friends and get them to use the same pattern and watch how very different the quilts turn out.

    Happy Thoughts

  4. 4


    I often feel inwardly embarassed that, when I’m in a quilt shop with THOUSANDS of bolts of fabrics, I can’t find the right blue — or green — or whatever I think I need. I often think of our grandmothers who made absolutely beautiful quilts with what little they had available. I am definitely joining in Stash Busting with you in 2009, Judy. I’m just trying to figure out the details, and then will get it posted. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  5. 5


    It’s why I like scrap quilts – much easier to choose fabric – especially from stash if I’m going to have more than 25 fabrics in it…it’s that whole 4-10 fabrics that I find very difficult to do.