Designing Modern Quilts: Tips for Selecting Solids

11 Jun 2014

"Solids and nearly solids play such a big role in contemporary quilting, and especially in improv piecing. But many people find it hard to choose dynamic color combinations when they don't have a place to start," writes modern quilt artist Christine Ravish in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork magazine.

I agree. When I get to the fabric store to choose fabric for a new project, I'm often overwhelmed by the choices. It's tempting to just fall back on the color palettes I'm used to working with. But if you want to grow as a quilt designer, it helps to move out of your comfort zone. So how do you choose?

solid fabrics for modern quilting design
Christine Ravish used selvedge dots from the print fabric in the
background to choose solids for a modern quilt design.
When you're looking to find fresh solid color combinations for your modern quilting projects, Christine has the following tips, excerpted from her article.

1. Find a colorful printed fabric you like. Go to the fabric store and look for fabric with colors that appeal to you, but that you wouldn't necessarily use in a quilt. The print should have a good range of light, medium, and dark colors. Try to look beyond the subject or scale of the fabric to just see the colors.

2. Find the selvedge edge. Check out the selvedge edge to see the dots that indicate how many inks were used to print the fabric. The more colors the better. It gives you more diverse combinations to consider, and chances are it contains colors outside your comfort palette.

3. Use the dots as a guide to find your solids. Quilters often use this method to choose fabrics to incorporate with the printed fabric in a quilt. But you can use just the solids found in the print to come up with exciting combinations for improvisational piecing, says Christine.

mini modern patchwork quilt ravish
One of the mini modern quilts
Christine Ravish created from solids
that were out of her comfort palette, as described in Modern Patchwork
Summer 2014.
4. Make little modern quilt tops. You don't need yards of each solid. Just get enough of every color so you can play with the combinations to make three or four mini modern quilts. Then take your solids home and start experimenting with improve piecing to make modern quilt blocks.

If you're new to the modern quilting style, don't worry that these all-solid quilt tops are too simple. You can use thread to create texture and interest to the solid areas of fabric.

You'll find Christine's in depth instructions for designing with solids, as well as modern quilt patterns and more, in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. I even have one of my own designs in this issue!

P.S. How do you go about choosing solids for a quilt--modern or otherwise? Share your ideas in the comments below.


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Comments

StoutGirl wrote
on 12 Jun 2014 10:39 PM

Great article with some excellent advice!  When my mom and I choose fabrics, we usually choose a couple that are solid or semi-solid.  Most of the time it is in the same color family as our other fabrics or a contrast.  I also have a love for black, so solid black fabric is always easy to find and use as an accent.

carolmealing wrote
on 13 Jun 2014 1:44 AM

This is such a good principle to follow, and I often do when colour scheming for interior design.  Basically, if you start with a print you really like and use it as the basis for your colour scheme, you can't go wrong because someone else has already done all the work for you.

Adele Gauer wrote
on 15 Jun 2014 5:16 AM

I love to use the color  register dots on the selvedge to select colors for quilts, and wall            

 colors to compliment the drapery fabric

Adele Gauer wrote
on 15 Jun 2014 5:16 AM

I love to use the color  register dots on the selvedge to select colors for quilts, and wall            

 colors to compliment the drapery fabric

kimcarso wrote
on 17 Jun 2014 6:57 PM

Such a good tip I never even considered - thanks Vivika!

Boosts my color confidence level.