Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Building a Fabric Stash | Prints

Hello and happy Tuesday! Today I'm back with the next post in my series of building your fabric stash. I'll be posting on this topic every Tuesday for a few weeks, and then when I'm finished I'll link up all of the posts on one page to make it easy to refer to.

Last weeks post covered background and low-volume fabrics, and today we'll be
talking about perfect prints for your stash. Today's fabric manufacturers have definitely made it easier for quilters to collect a well-rounded fabric stash with the wonderful availability of pre-cuts: Fat Quarter bundles, Fat Eighth bundles, Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, Charm packs, and even Mini Charm packs. 

Most fabric collections have most if not all of the basics I'm going to talk about today; however, if you find you are short on one or more of these types of prints you now have a good excuse to get more fabric!

When I first started quilting it was a real treat to be able to go "shop" in my grandmother's stash. She had plenty of each of the basics I'm going to talk about today, and these fabrics made her stash so usable and also so wonderful in her quilts.

Polka Dots 

Dots of all kinds and sizes are a basic print style for any quilter. Low-volume dots are great for backgrounds, and colorful dots will make your quilts shine! It's no secret that I love polka dots and polka dot variations: I don't think I've ever met a polka dot I didn't like!

Ginghams, Checks, and Plaids

I grew up with gingham. I had gingham dresses and shirts, gingham curtains, and even a gingham bedspread. My mom and my grandmother loved gingham. I remember going through a phase of thinking that it was very old-fashioned, but thankfully that wasn't long-lived.

Ginghams, checks, and plaids can really add a lot of interest to your quilts. Choose small scale versions of these fabrics if you are worried about using them. Even the smallest sizes will add interest and depth to your quilts.

Small Geometrics

Along with ginghams, checks and plaids, small geometric prints really add that special something to quilts. While I really love florals and soft lines, there is just an added layer of texture in quilts that have small geometric prints included.

Stripes and Stripe-like Fabrics

Stripes are a wonderful addition to a quilter's stash and to any quilt. I especially love to use them for bindings.  Stripes can be cut on the straight of grain or cut on the bias for even more interest. Keep in mind that a fabric doesn't have to be a true stripe to function as a stripe. The scallop prints by Bonnie & Camille definitely read as stripes in quilts because of the strong lines underneath the scallops.


For me, florals are an essential to any quilt. Collect florals of all sizes for your fabric stash. I personally love them all from very large florals to the smallest and most petite floral prints. I feel like it's really important to vary the size of the florals in any given quilt. Large florals are probably my number one choice for border fabrics, and I love them for quilt backings, too.

The fabric grouping below (all Denyse Schmidt fabrics) encompass each of the categories I've discussed today: floral, dot, plaid, small geometric, and stripe. You can see that sometimes categories overlap, too: the floral includes dots for berries, and the small geometric is also a polka dot variation.

Once again, the question always seems to come back to "How much of these prints should I purchase?"  I usually purchase fat quarters of these types of fabrics in the colors and styles I love. If I really love a large floral I may buy 1 1/2 yards so I can use it for a border, and of course I'm always on the lookout for sale fabric for backings. I generally buy 5 yards for backings because there will usually be scraps unless I'm making a very large quilt.

Polka dots, plaids, small geometrics, stripes and florals: these are the fabrics I refer to as the print basics. I buy them over and over again and love the effect they have in my quilts. I've realized that while I store most of my fabrics by color, I do store quite a few of my polka dots together because I use them so frequently (I actually hadn't really thought about that much until I wrote this post).

Are there any other print fabric styles you consider to be basics? I'd love to know!

Thanks so much for stopping by!



KaliaContiki said...

I tend to stay away from a lot of stripes because I have trouble cutting it straight on the stripe and can't stand it being crooked. Any advice?

Nancy said...

I've really enjoyed your posts this summer. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

Heidi Brown said...

I'm loving your "fabric stash" series! It couldn't be more timely, my new sewing room should be ready in August and these articles have been a huge help as far as organizing my "stash" before the big move, and also to show me the areas that I need to add to! Thank you so much!

Jane said...

I always enjoy every one of your posts!! Thanks for always sharing helpful advice!

Hildy said...

I love your post and your stash serie it's a great idea!
A perhaps not total but almost basic print for are star fabrics. I recently discovered that they make a great background fabric and if the stars are not too bold and of a small scale they can add more interest to a quilt then let's say a polka dot background but still don't take too much focus away from other print fabrics.

Helen L said...

great post Sherri! I think you pretty much covered it all. It's good to see it all laid out: I don't tend to think of my stash in a very organized way, so it was good to have you put it into words. Stay cool: it's been about 100 here the last few days. Ugh! I should just go visit my sister in Las Vegas! :-) Hugs, H

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