Today we are going to be talking about background fabric. To be completely honest here, I am kind of a boring background fabric person. I like to put the focus on the feature fabrics and end up using a white, off-white, or gray most of the time.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this! Some of my favorite “safe” fabric colors are Kona Bone, Kona Snow, Pure Solids in White Linen, Cotton Couture Soft White, Kona Ash, Designer Essentials Winter White, Speckled in Dove, and Designer Essentials Natural. I use one of these colors as my background fabric at least 90% of the time.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you pick a background fabric for your quilt:
- If the fabric is a print, how will the print look once it is cut into pieces and sewn back together? Sometimes larger scale prints, large dots, or stripes can be distracting.
- Does the fabric stand out from the feature fabrics in my quilt? You don’t want your background fabric to blend in too much with your other fabrics.
- Does the color look good with the colors of my feature fabrics? Sometimes a color will look nice with some of the colors in your quilt and not so nice with others.
- What color thread will I use when I quilt my project (or have it quilted)? This is a big one for me, but not everyone is neurotic like I am. I don’t like to use a really light color thread on dark fabrics, but I don’t like to use a darker thread on lighter fabrics. Of course you can use more than one thread color in your project, but I usually don’t. Most of my projects use a lighter or more mid-valued background fabric so that I can use my normal white or light gray thread and it will blend with everything nicely.
- Is the fabric directional? This means that there is a right-side-up and an upside-down to the print on the fabric. You can definitely use a directional fabric, but you will need to make sure that you cut all of your fabrics so that the design is going the same direction and it will be something to think about when you piece your blocks.
However, you can definitely branch out a little and I am going to be doing that for the quiltalong. Check out the three options I was considering for my quilt.
There is a safe option (Kona Bone), a somewhat safe option (Spark in Balmy), and a less safe option (Speckled in Succulent). Background fabric can make a huge difference in how your finished quilt looks!
I am going to go with the least safe option and use the Succulent print. If you want to hear me ramble on a bit about why I chose this color + see me pick my 36 jelly roll strips that go best with that background fabric, check out the video below.