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Fabric and Color Choice // Skill Builder BOM

This post is part of a series of posts for the Skill Builder BOM (Block of the Month). To learn more about the block of the month or to see a list of all posts click here.
If you did not see yesterdays post about the Skill Builder Block of The Month go ahead and check it out before you start into todays post. If you did see it and are planning to join me this year to quilt along, than I am so excited! Today I want to go over color and fabric choice for your BOM quilt, but before I get into that I have a little video for you. Please excuse my little 9 month old son yip yapping in the background :) this video is as real as it get haha.
Throughout the year I plan to do some of the lessons by video. Some techniques are just much easier to explain by video as opposed to pictures. Although I do still plan on including a PDF file for printing. So now that we have that introduction out of the way lets talk color and fabric!

Color Scheme

Before you start pulling your fabrics, I think it is very important to establish your color scheme. Color is very important in this quilt. I have used different color values to achieve specific looks in the blocks. Try and choose a color scheme that has about 4-5 colors, and about 20-25 color values. So what exactly does that mean? Let me first give you a short Color Theory 101 lesson and then I will explain my process.

Color Theory

Understanding basic color theory is a very important part of the quilting process. I touched on this in my beginner quilting series, but I will repeat myself. Here are some basic terms you need to know.
Hue  is what we refer to as "color". Hue is also used when speaking of a group of colors, such as "purple hues". If you look at the color wheel each of the 12 quadrants represents a hue. You could say the purple quadrant is the purple hue, and the darkest outer purple is a pure hue.


Value describes the dark or lightness of a hue. If you look at paint swatches most often they contain the same hue in different values. When looking at a color wheel the lightest value of each hue is in the center and darkest on the outside. saturation
Saturation is the intensity of the hue. You could have two colors in the same hue and value, but still very different because the amount of saturation and coloring pigment is different. The chart shows two identical hues, but one with 50% less saturation.

Get Inspired

First you need to get some inspiration. Luckily there is inspiration all over the web and one of my favorite sites for color inspiration is Lately I have been a little obsessed with orange, so I knew I wanted to use some orange in my quilt. On the design seeds website you can go to palette search and choose one color to search for. I chose a nice rusty orange and got some really wonderful results, the Color Canyon palette immediately caught my eye.
Color Canyon Palette by Design Seeds
Ultimately I decided that I will be using Orange, Purple, Red, and Pink. Like I said above try to choose a color scheme with about 4-5 hues in it. Next I needed to start choosing the color values and different shades. Adding white to a hue produces a high-value color, often called a tint or pastel. Adding black to a hue produces a low-value color, often called a shade. I will be using about 10 shades of orange, 8 shades of purple, and 5 shades of reds and pinks.

Prints or Solids?

This quilt can be made in Solids or Prints! There are so many possibilities. If you use prints I would suggest following the color instructions carefully. If you have a bundle of a single collection you really want to use up it may not be the best choice for this quilt. You are going to want multiple prints in a few different colors and multiple values. Thats why color bundles are perfect for this quilt. The above photo is an example of some print fabric I pulled from my stash in the colors I have chosen. I am real low on purples, but you can see the oranges have very good variation.
There is also the option to use solids. Solids are a bit easier to play with when it comes to color because the value, shade, and saturation is very clear. With prints they are skewed by the design on the fabric and it can be a bit more challenging to choose the proper colors. If you don't already have one I really suggest getting a solids color card. Whether you are a KonaBellaCouture solids fan you need a color card. This will help you so much with any quilt not just this one. Another option are shot cottons. Which are woven cottons and in my opinion are a very unique solid. I love working with them and love the depth they add to a quilt. My favorite shot cottons are Oakshotts, which is located in the UK, but I find for me it is so worth the distance!

Backing Fabric

Because of the nature of QAYG, the final quilt will basically be two sided. For the back of your quilt blocks I suggest using a print fabric that looks great in large pieces. Maybe you have a favorite fabric that you have been hoarding and you just can't bring yourself to cut up. That fabric would be perfect for this! The finished blocks will be about a 12 x 12 so fat quarters will work really well for the quilt backs. If you don't want to use prints you could also use solids which will show off your quilting really well!

My Fabric and Thread Selection

I'm planning on using Kona Cotton and Oakshott Shot Cotton in orange hues, red hues, and purple hues for the front of my quilt. For my background main solid I wanted it to be very dark, so I will be using Kona Black. For the back of each block I have picked out 10 of my favorite Chicopee prints which I ordered at the Fat Quarter Shop and I plan to use two of each print in the quilt.
Since we will be doing some really beautiful machine quilting, choosing coordinating thread is an important step of this process. If you have followed me for a while you already know I am a converted Aurifil Thread fan. The color selection is fantastic so choosing colors to match was super easy. I plan on piecing my blocks with Black 50wt thread and machine quilting with 40wt thread in matching colors.

Final Fabric List

So now that I have gone over that I wanted to just sum up the approximate fabric you will be needing.
  • 1 yard of fabric in Color 1(Orange) or 4 fat quarters in different values of Color 1 (Orange)
  • 1 yard of fabric in Color 2 (Purple) or 4 fat quarters in different values of Color 2 (Purple)
  • 1 yard of fabric in Color 3 (Yellow) or 4 fat quarters in different values of Color 3 (Yellow)
  • 1 yard of fabric in Color 4 (Coral/Red) or 4 fat quarters in different values of Color 4 (Coral/Red)
  • 10 yards of fabric in Background Color (Black)
  • 8.5 yards of fabric for the back of the quilt blocks and borders (or you can use 20 fat quarters in different prints for blocks and 1 1/2 yards yardage for borders)
  • 3/4 yard of fabric for quilt binding
  • Matching Thread

Supplies List

Since we will be doing a lot of different techniques there will be some different supplies needed. I will give you an exact supply list with each lesson. But for now here are just some of the basics you will need. If you don't have all of these items dont panic or go on some insane shopping spree you can't afford. There are some items that are a "must" and some that are a "nice to have"
Must Have
  • Sewing Machine
  • Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Iron & Pressing Board
  • Starch (Heavy Starch or Best Press)
  • Elmers Washable Glue Stick
  • Elmers Washable Glue in the Bottle
  • Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
  • Lightweight Heat n' Bond
  • Approx. King Size (at least 100" x 120") of Low Loft Cotton Batting
  • FMQ Darning Foot for Sewing Machine
  • 12.5" x 12.5" Quilting Ruler (added after post very very very helpful to have)
  • Coordinating 40wt thread for quilting (one spool in each Color 1, Color 2, Color 3, Color 4)
  • Coordinating 50wt thread for piecing (match to background color)
Nice to Have
  • Add a Quarter Ruler
  • Supreme Slider
  • Quilt Halo
  • Quilting Gloves
  • Embroidery or Quilting Needles for Machine
  • Bobbin Washers

Scraps, Stash or Shopping

I have put together a fabric kit and supply kit to make gathering fabric and supplies easier, these are available in my shop here
I also want to mention that if you are trying to save on money or maybe you have a monthly budget and buying all the supplies right now would be too much, consider buying as you go. The beauty of a BOM is it is monthly so you can just wait until the Lesson comes out each month and shop at that time. Well that is a bunch of info to take in for one post! I can't wait to see what fabric you choose, please share photos of your fabric choices in the Flickr Group. You can also post a few of the fabric options you are debating over and ask for opinions on flickr so we can help with your selection. Let me know if you have any questions!
Here is a PDF version of this post
Alyssa Lichner

Alyssa Lichner

Creator of Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa Lichner is a graphic designer turned avid sewist. She writes modern quilting tutorials and shares techniques and inspiration on her blog, Pile O’ Fabric. Alyssa has a passion for exploring different techniques and applying them to modern designs. She is thankful to have the opportunity to share these techniques, through her tutorials, patterns, and classes with quilters around the world. She always encourages her readers and students to challenge themselves to try new things and to approach quilting with a fearless attitude.