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How to Choose Quilt Fabrics

Discover how to make fabric choices based on your quilt’s purpose and enjoy that trip to the fabric store.


  • Step 1: Determine quilt’s purpose Determine what the quilt is for. Is it for a baby, a child, an adult, or for decoration?
  • TIP: Baby quilts should be made from washable cotton or flannel. A decorative quilt can be made with silk, satin, or other fine fabrics that may require dry cleaning.
  • Step 2: Choose a color scheme Use a color wheel to choose colors that suit the purpose of the quilt and that complement one another. Consider the visual effect of the colors.
  • Step 3: Choose patterns Choose complementary patterns. Pair a large print with a small print or a print with a solid.
  • TIP: Using more than one large print creates visual confusion and makes the quilt too busy.
  • Step 4: Lay fabrics next to each other Lay fabric selections next to one another to see if any one fabric stands out. Discard and replace fabrics that do not complement the group.
  • Step 5: Cut fabric and take home Determine the amount of fabric you need for your quilt and have the store cut it for you. Take your selections home and make a quilt that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
  • FACT: One of the most famous and important works by an African-American folk artist is the Harriet Powers Bible Quilt made by the former slave Harriet Powers.

You Will Need

  • Quilt type
  • Color wheel
  • Eye for coordinating patterns and colors

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