The first step in creating any new quilt or project is the fabric selection used! This can be the most exciting part or one of the hardest parts. Fabric selection is what makes a quilt unique and brings a booklet to life. I've walked around sew jersey tons of times as both a customer and employee and love how many different fabrics are kept in stock and how often new inventory comes in.
The color combination in the photo of Jen Kingwells Long Time Gone, is what makes this such a fun scrappy style quilt. For my own personal Long Time Gone quilt, I've pulled a lot of fabric from my own stash and will share how I pick these fabrics and how you can too.
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7 Yards approximately of assorted prints in small cuts e.g. Fat 1/8th or 1/16th work well. Remember to include geometrics, stripes, florals, etc. This will help add dimension and texture
1 1/3 yards solid for sashing, checkerboards and binding, I'm a fan of textured whites, such as white on white and grunge.
4 1/2 yards backing fabric
7 yards of fabric for your quilt top sounds like a ton, because it is. But in the reality of piecing your quilt you will have a ton left over, because of the scrappiness of how Jen wrote the pattern. You can choose to make this project less scrappy and have a more uniformed look but Jen writes the book with the intent that you are going to need variety of prints, colors and textures.
How To Choose Your Fabrics
This was one of my favorite parts as I own and buy a lot of smaller cuts of fabric such as the bundle deal available at Sew Jersey on the Fat Quarter wall. I've looked at so many photos of other quilters Long Time Gone Quilt prior to starting mine and writing this blog post. But ultimately your fabric selection should make YOU happy as its your quilt or it should make the person your gifting the quilt to happy. A quilt is like a hug from a friend as they are a labor of love. The bottom line is to pick the fabric you LOVE. Some of my blocks as we work through this sew along may contain fabric that is not your style and that's ok!
So tips I can share include
- Use one fabric line, all the fabric will work together but you may not have enough variation in prints to make some of the blocks work to get that true scrappy quilt look.
- Mix and Match different fabric lines and fabric designs, you get to choose all the fabrics, this can get over whelming at times which is why a design wall, or spare piece of batting tacked in the wall can be helpful for picking fabrics.
- Curated bundles, a staff member at Sew Jersey can help you pick out a range of fabric to get you started. Fabrics will work together well but you may still need a few more contrasting fabrics to add to your quilt top.
- Use all Solids, this is a great alternative for quilters whom are nervous to have too many prints in one quilt top. An issue you may face is having a quilt that looks to flat without texture or you may become bored with the project.
- Use one Designer, I love Tula Pink and Anna Maire Horner so picking one designer and there fabric collections means that most of there collections should work seamlessly. This can be more expensive as you have to buy more fabrics from one designer to get more variety. Or you may find the fabrics don't have enough contracting features to stand out amongst each other.
- Limited Color palette is something I touched on briefly above, where your quilt will have a more uniformed look, you'll pick a few prints, textures and solids and you'll use those through out the whole quilt. This can help your quilt focus on just a few prints.
- Can be made seasonal with holiday fabrics.
- Batiks, use to add texture or variation. This quilt can be made completely with Batiks. I am using a few in my quilt, something that is amazing with Batiks is there is truly no wrong side of the fabric.
This is your quilt and these are just some of my suggestions for picking fabrics for your quilt top. I ended up pulling a ton of fabric for this project that I've had for ages, and almost all my precuts to try and achieve a scrappy-ish style quilt top. Regardless of your fabric choices, I promise you wont be disappointed in your finished quilt: if there is a block you end up not liking how your fabric choices come out you can always remake it. This is also why a fabric design wall can be helpful. I can't wait to see your quilts.
Photo Courtesy of Jen Kingwell Designs