Bluebird Gardens guide to selecting quilt colors.
How to Pick Good Quilt Fabric Colors
One of the toughest parts of designing custom quilts, or any quilt, is picking the right quilt colors. If you don't have a color wheel, this is a good time to get one. You can download them for free, or buy one at most fabric stores.
I have mine mounted on a folded piece of white cardboard so I can look at it either by itself, or with fabrics I'm collecting. By looking at the color wheel, you can also quickly see what colors are complimentary and which ones are opposites.
Colors Affect How Quilt Feels To the Eye
If you want quilt colors that work well together, pick complimentary colors.
If you want quilt colors that pop or stand out, select opposing colors on the color wheel.
Check your colors in natural light to make sure they are a good match.
What Colors Do You Need?
When making or having a custom quilt made to match a decor, it's always good to have a sample of the foundation color you want to use. It can be a piece of fabric, clothing, paint chip, spool of thread - whatever accurately reflects the color tone you want.
Remember when looking on a color on a computer monitor, computer monitor colors are not the same so don't depend on computer monitor colors to be consistent.
If you are trying to match colors to a decor, select fabrics under natural light. Artificial lighting can alter the true fabric color. On the other hand, if the quilt is going to be only under artificial light, then definitely select fabrics in similar lighting!
Most of us have quilts that will be in areas that have both so test fabrics under both conditions.
Color Shade Tone, Tint and Temperature
Color Tone is a color than has been dulled by adding grey, such as colonial blue and old rose. These colors are less bright.
Color Tint are colors that have been lightened by adding white, such as sea-green, primrose-yellow, sky blue.
Color Shade is a color that's darker by adding black, such as olive green, mustard, indigo.
Color Temperature are the feelings colors convey. Red, orange and yellow are warm colors while blue, green and violet are cool colors.
What Are Best Neutral Quilt Colors
Pastel colors look best with a vanilla cream or soft white background.
Primary colors look best against a a strong white background.
Neutral colors are cream, beige, tan, brown, black, grey, silver, in their many shades, tints and tones. I also think of green as a neutral color.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help!
Most fabric stores have excellent customer service so don't be afraid to take that coffee cup in and say you need fabrics that compliment that color. Fabric hunting can be a lot of fun!
More Quilt Color Inspiration
Whenever I see a color combination in a magazine I like, I will take a picture and stash it in my inspiration file.
I also watch people's choice in clothing colors and how advertisers catch our eye. Fashion trends can re-define how we accept color combinations, although quilts have been "mixing it up" since the beginning.
I also like to take walks and see what nature suggests. Some of my best quilt color combinations have been inspired by what was blooming in my garden!
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