Fabric Color Can Make All the Difference in a Quilt Design

As I sat designing quilts in EQ7 the other day, I was amazed at how just a simple color change could make a quilt design look completely different – but also that it could change the depth of a quilt.  Depth?  Definitely.  Perhaps the closest example I can come up with is that a color change can take a one dimensional quilt and make it appear to be a two dimensional quilt.

If you’ve ever gone to a quilt show, you may see some folks looking at a quilt just as a person would look at a piece of art at a gallery.  Some quilts are worthy of our time to just look at them, absorb their beauty and craftsmanship…and those that truly draw our attention are usually those that appear to be two dimensional.  You turn your head one way, then another…you go off and look at other quilts…but always return to the one that strikes you as amazing.  And you stand there and wonder how it was made or how the designer and quilter were able to take a one dimensional quilt and make it appear to be a two dimensional quilt.

Let’s try a few simple designs and I’ll attempt to show you what I mean:


This is a very one dimensional-appearing design.


This design appears to be more two dimensional – with the blue nine-patch centers “popping” out of the quilt.


Again, a two dimensional-appearing design with the nine-patch centers fading into the background and the ‘frames’ of the centers standing out.

I hope you can see the difference between the fabrics that make a quilt appear to be one dimensional or two dimensional.  Many times, it’s just one fabric that can do this for a quilt and sometimes it takes more than one fabric.  The goal, as is often suggested, is to buy your fabrics in the light, medium and dark fabrics.  They do NOT have to be all matchy-matchy…but, they do all need at least a single color that coordinates with another fabric.  Find a focus fabric you want to use and then choose the remaining quilt colors that will pull the color from the focus fabric – that’s the best way to create a two dimensional-appearing quilt, with the lights, mediums and darks coordinating with the focus fabric.

Play with this, see if you get the same results!

Share and Enjoy!

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