An archive of sewing tutorials and inspiration


Choosing your Fabric & Shopping // Retro Rubies QAL

This post is part of the Retro Rubies QAL. Click here to see all of the posts and learn more about the Quilt Along. Alright folks, it is officially day one of the Retro Rubies Quilt Along, and I could't be more excited. Before we get started on choosing fabrics, we need to do a little housekeeping.

Retro Rubies Housekeeping

If you ordered a magazine (before this weekend) then it should have shipped out to you on Saturday via USPS first class mail. My guess is you should receive it in the next few days. If you have not yet ordered the magazine to quilt along than you can find it at our shop here. Most of the posts for Retro Rubies QAL are scheduled for Mondays and every single one of the posts will have at least one and maybe two amazing giveaway's from one of our wonderful event sponsors. There are a few ways to keep up to date with the QAL so you don't miss a post or a giveaway. I will keep all of these places up to date with the latest Retro Rubies news. Also if you look at my main navigation and go to Events, Retro Rubies QAL page you will find all QAL blog posts and downloads.

Retro Rubies Flickr Group

A very key and important tool during this Quilt Along will be Flickr. If you are not a Flickr user you may wan't to seriously consider it. It's a wonderful place to share your progress and get encouragement as you quilt along. I will be answering all questions during the QAL with discussions in the Flickr Group. So if you are stumped when reading the pattern, or choosing colors or have questions about anything you can stop by the Flickr Group and see if anyone else has asked the same question. If not you can start your own new discussion. I will be keeping a close eye on the group. No question is a dumb or stupid question! All of us quilting along are at difference experience levels and have different strengths and weaknesses. The wonderful thing about quilting together as a group is that we can support each other and encourage each other along the way. So ask anything! You will also see some folks have started adding photos of their fabric choices and progress, so go ahead and add yours too so we can all drool :)

Retro Rubies QAL Giveaways

As said above there will be a massive amount of giveaways during the duration of the Quilt Along. At the conclusion of each post will be the sponsored giveaway for you to enter. To keep things simple and tidy I have decided to announce the winners to all the Retro Rubies Giveaways on Facebook and Twitter, and if you are a winner I will email you personally.

Choosing Fabric for your Retro Rubies Quilt

Planning what fabric you will use for a quilt can be one of the hardest steps in making a quilt! There are so many color schemes, collections, and fabrics to choose from. When I was designing the original Retro Rubies quilt I already had the fabric chosen. Oakshotts had sent me a fat eighth bundle of Ruby Reds to play with and I wanted to design a quilt that would display the Ruby Reds beautifully. Thus gave birth to the Retro Rubies Quilt. When I was working on the pattern for the magazine I needed to test some of the blocks over again. This is when I decided that I would plan my next QAL for this quilt and use some of the test blocks for my second version of the quilt. At the time I didn't put too much thought into the fabric choice. I had a fat eighth bundle of Flea Market Fancy I had been hoarding and decided to use it for my test blocks. Out of all the Flea Market Fancy prints my favorite is the Posie print in the chocolate brown. I decided to order 4 yards of this for my backing. When I sat down to plan out the rest of the fabrics I would use for the quilt, I begin to dislike the idea of using the entire Flea Market Fancy collection. Instead I decided to pull the colors from the Posie print. Then pull prints and solids from my stash in those colors. This meant removing the pink and green prints from the collection. I plan to use orange, yellow, red, gray, blue, and brown in various prints and solids. Yes, I am going to use prints! If you know me well enough I have a tendency to always use solids, but I decided to use prints this second go around to show an alternative. I will however be incorporating coordinating Kona Cotton solids here in there throughout the quilt. I am also highly debating the idea of using low volume prints for my background fabric, but we shall see!

Helpful Planning Tools

I think one of my favorite ways to choose fabric for a quilt is by building a palette based on one focal fabric I love and would like to use. There are three great ways to doing this. First if the piece of fabric you are looking at has a large piece of selvedge you may be able to find the circles of color which show which the colors were used in the print. You could eyeball it by holding the print up to other fabrics, or you could use an online palette builder tool to do the work for you. While I was at Quilt Con I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful ladies at Play Crafts. They launched Play Crafts in 2012 after realizing that there was no central place for crafters to find superb design tools. They believe that anyone can unlock their inner creative crafter with the right tools and an inspiring community! One of the first tools that they are developing and is in its beginning phase is the Palette Builder. You can upload an image and then choose colors in the image to create a color palette just like design-seeds. I gave it a try with a picture of the Posie fabric I love and came up with the color scheme I will be using for my quilt in a matter of seconds! You can also share it to Flickr at the touch of a button. The Palette Builder has more fun features in the works (like mobile/ipad compatibility), but for now give it a try and i'm sure the ladies at Play Crafts would love your feedback. Retro Rubies Color Sheet For those of you who want to do some coloring while plan. I have created a coloring sheet which you can download here.

How Much Fabric Do I Need?

The original Retro Rubies Quilt is a 44" x 46" wall hanging that was made with… The quilt can be made in really any size. Once you learn how to piece the blocks together from the instructions in the magazine then you can make as many blocks as you would like. A fat quarter bundle of 12 fabrics will make 12 blocks which is about a twin size quilt.

Shopping for your Fabric

There is a plethora of amazing quilt shops online to purchase your fabric from. Here is a list of those who have sponsored this QAL by offering a shop discount for Quilt Along participants. Mad About Patchwork is offering 10% off Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton with code RUBIES10 Christa Quilts is offering 10% off quilt along supplies plus free US shipping using code 2013RUBY valid through June 30th. If you are looking for Kona Cotton for you rubies quilt Christa has a great selection! Contemporary Cloth is offering 50% off U.S. shipping, 25% off International shipping orders! Type - discount-ship -  into the check-out comment form. No one is excluded. They will refund the discount when we ship your order!

Featured Sponsors & Giveaways

Below you will see this weeks two featured sponsors and giveaways. Be sure to checkout each sponsor and show some support for their generous giveaways! I Don't Do Dishes is a newer shop that focuses on modern quilting cottons, patterns and some batting/utility fabrics. The owner, Caitlin, is a SAHM of 3 little girls who love to "help" around the shop :) Next month (May) marks the 1st anniversary of her shop, and in celebration, she is offering 15% off your total purchase through May 6th. Use code ANNIVERSARY at checkout! I don't do dishes is giving away a 7 piece fat quarter bundle of Red and Pink Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids to one lucky Pile O' Fabric reader. Oakshott Fabrics sources fine quality handloom quilting cotton from the South Indian State of Kerala. This region of South West India has a tradition of producing some of the finest hand made fabrics due to a unique combination of natural and human factors. The Monsoon provides Kerala with a plentiful supply of rain and it is this clean, soft water together with the finest quality cotton yarns and dyes that allow skilled master weavers to produce beautiful fabrics. If you want to meet the family behind Oakshott Fabrics here is a great video interview! Oakshott Fabrics is giving away a fat quarter bundle of the Ruby Reds Oakshotts that were used in my original Retro Rubies Quilt to one lucky Pile O' Fabric reader.

First step to enter to win…

The first step to enter both giveaways is to leave a blog post comment telling me which fabrics you would like to make your Retro Rubies with.

For Bonus Entries

This giveaway will end Friday, May 3rd, at 12 a.m. EST. Mr. Random will choose two winners and I will announce their name Wednesday on Facebook and Twitter and I will email the winner directly. a Rafflecopter giveaway I am looking forward to seeing the fabrics you choose for your Retro Rubies! Be sure to share pictures either in the Flickr Group or on Instagram using #retrorubiesqal tag!




Creator of Pile O' Fabric