Choose background fabrics that add sparkle to your quilts!
To take a look at background fabrics, first let me introduce you to (drum roll): The Bubbles Quilt Pattern!
Notice the varied background fabrics in this quilt. The baby whale is made using both beautiful sides of Kaffe Fassett’s Paint Pots fabrics!
You might think that once you’ve chosen a good focus fabric, your work at auditioning fabric is done. But really, you’ve just begun to have fun!
Secondly, it’s important to know that background fabrics for #usebothsides quilts are what make the quilts really sparkle! When you attend one of my classes, you learn that there is a certain “feel” you are trying to achieve in the relationship between your focus and background fabrics.
First pick focus fabrics. Then background fabrics.
It DOES truly begin with your focus fabric choice – you have to pick that first and foremost. (I’ll discuss focus fabric auditioning in another post. Tips for choosing focus fabric are included in each pattern.) Once your focus fabric has been chosen, you want to achieve a balance between your focus fabric and your backgrounds. I encourage using a mix of fabric styles and to use this quilt as an opportunity try something new. I figure, it is a fun quilt– so use fun fabrics which may not be appropriate in your more “serious” quilt work. I’m going to use two quilts as examples. Below are Phoebee and Bubbles:
Phoebee really makes a statement.
Notice that the bee is made from very bold fabric. She’s not one bit shy. The background fabrics can be bolder for her because her focus fabric and her character allow it. Some of the background fabrics are darker in value than I would use with my other patterns, depending not just on the focus fabric, but also the subject matter and what I want you to feel when you look at the quilt.
Now looking at Bubbles.
I hope you see a sweet, endearing “fellow”…youthful, happy, maybe adventuresome… maybe up to something. This baby whale can be a boy or a girl and you can change his or her attitude just by choosing a different focus fabric! What I am hoping you have noticed by now is that the background fabrics also have a different feel. In fact, most of the accent strips I used are reversed to keep them from overpowering this sweet whale friend.
Once you’ve chosen your focus fabric, lay the fabric out, loosely shaped for the pattern you’re making– but with a twist. Literally, twist the fabric so that half of the fabric shows the reverse side. Audition BOTH sides of the focus fabric with your background possibilities. Each #usebothsides pattern gives detailed instructions for how to audition fabrics.
My husband and “silent” business partner just happened to name the two above quilts.
Next, compare the focus and background fabrics of these two quilts: