Hello! Today I’m starting a multi-part series on building, organizing, and using your fabric stash. I’ve been writing a lot this year about using your stash and making quilts from scraps; however, I know many new quilters are unsure about the best ways to collect a stash of fabrics to use for scrap projects. Most quilters want to have fabric on hand for when they just have to make something now…without running to the store or waiting for an order to come in the mail.
Today’s post will focus on tips for building up your supply of background fabrics.
While solids are most commonly used for backgrounds, don’t overlook low-volume, tone-on-tone, and text prints for background choices. You will also want to consider colored fabrics for backgrounds in your quilts.
Pick solid fabrics that you love and stick with them.
I have just a couple of solid colored backgrounds that I use. When I want a creamy white fabric I use Moda Bella 9900-97. When I want a more creamy, ivory tone I use Moda Bella 9900-60. By using just these two solids for white and off-white backgrounds I’m easily able to use fabrics from one project with another. I keep all of my scraps for each of these two colors in separate plastic drawers, and I’m often able to make a small project or mini quilt just from scraps!
There are also some great darker background fabrics available that I use when I want something a little different. Moda Mochi Linen in Natural is a favorite as is the Moda Cross-Weave in Black.
Collect text prints and simple textured prints.
I also love collecting text print fabrics and simple textured prints. These fabrics work great as backgrounds but also add that extra bit of interest. I recently pulled the fabrics below and cut a 2 ½″ strip, a 2″ strip, and a 5″ strip from each of them. I store the different strip sizes in bins so I have great backgrounds ready when they are needed for scrappy projects.
Don’t be afraid to use a little color in your background fabrics.
The multi-colored floral print from Desert Bloom pictured below has quite a bit of color in it, but it works well as a background and as a sashing fabric when paired with stronger colors.
Have fun with your background choices.
The blocks below have some fun background choices. These blocks will all (eventually) end up in the same quilt, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to have quite a mix of backgrounds. Another option is to use one background for most of your blocks and add in a couple of blocks with a contrast background for interest. The choices are unlimited!
I’m often asked how much fabric to buy when shopping for my stash. With background fabric choices the amounts are a little larger than for prints. I buy my Moda Bella solids by the bolt so I don’t run out. I generally buy just fat quarters of text prints and low-volume geometric prints, but if I find a print I really love I’ll get a yard (you can see in my low-volume photo above that there are a couple of pieces in there that are quite a bit larger than the others).
I will be back next Tuesday with another installment in the building a fabric stash series.
Feel free to leave any tips or suggestions to share in the comment section…thanks so much for stopping by!
Susan Smith says
This will be a great series, I know!!
What pattern are the applique flowers from? I love those!
Interesting point on putting colors in with the low volume fabrics. I have an art gallery fabric that is similar in colors to your dessert bloom one that I haven't used because I've thought it to colorful to be a low volume print. It's really not, I can see that from your use of yours. Thanks for that tip.
I will be following this subject closely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
Little Quiltsong says
Thank you for this series. Really enjoyed the start of it.
Lots of great information. I will definitely keep up with this series of posts. I have a habit of just buying fabric just because I like the color or design, with no idea of how to use it. Cutting into usable pieces and stashing them is a great idea!
Great tips thanks for sharing! If I discover that I really, really like a fabric to use as background I buy a few yards from it. Happend with the red and pink dot fabric from Tasha Noel's first collection one of the best backgrounds ever:-)
Susie Hoover says
Great post! Very informative. I like to buy background fabrics in 1/3 yard pieces. That way I generally have enough for a 12-1/2" block if needed. Seems like it gives me a lot of options without having to purchase copious amounts … which I'm very capable of doing! hahaha
Lara B. says
This is so helpful Sherri! I especially love that you don't only use solids in your backgrounds.
Rosemary B❤️ says
I love fabric. I want all of it, thank you.
If it is pretty, I want it.
These ideas are very very helpful
Lovely post. I have found over 10-15 year period of my quilting life that my tastes have changed quite alot, so many of fabrics are not really to my liking anymore, but as Bonnie Hunter says: "there is no such thing as ugly fabric, you just haven't cut it small enough" !!LoL That's why I enjoy making scrap quilts, so I can use em' up!
Charlie DiSante says
Appreciate your posts about scrappng. At the beginning of the year you were talking about scraps from various collections. I wondered then how you keep all the collections together or if you do because you usually say which collection they are from. How do you keep them straight? Thanks.
Cheryl B. says
I purchased a bolt of Moda Bella solids of the 97, but the white background fabric in the Pretty Playtime quilt kit from Fat Quarter Shop had a brighter white that was much softer than the Moda, prompting me to write and ask what it was. Kona cotton in white, which will be my next bolt of white!
Nana Judy says
Great discussion and will look forward to your next post. Helpful information, especially for those of us just starting to get together a stash. Always enjoy your blog and your wonderful quilt ideas.
Karla Brown says
Great post- I am a newbie quilter. I've purchased lots of pre cuts for projects but I really like the look of your low volume and text prints!
Thanks for sharing!
Dondi Murdock says
I found when I bought an entire bolt of Moda cream online at Fat Quarter Shop it was the equivalent of getting 4 yards for free because I got a discounted price for buying the bolt. I use cream all the time and I will never tire of it.
I read a wonderful response on Crazy Mom Quilts from a woman who said never to pay full price on fabric because something wonderful is always getting ready to be released. Since I am now retired, I follow this woman's advice. I wait for discounts. And, it is true. From one Quilt Market to another, the new releases of fabric are better and better! Some fabrics I just cannot afford to buy. But, then, I will never have enough time to sew all that fabric anyway, so it doesn't matter.
I had some old fabric I really didn't like anymore. I threw in some new fabric in brighter shades and it really worked! Now all the fabric I have it what I like. So buy what you like. Use the old up. I was told to add red, purple or yellow to brighten up your old stuff to add zip. Just sew and love every stitch.
Lisa S. says
Looking forward to the rest of the series!