Before we begin sewing, one of the biggest headaches we face with is how to mix and match fabrics. When it comes to fabrics, admit it, we all are sorta like a kid in a candy store.
At times, you have a fabric that you love on first sight or perhaps you have one or two favorite colors but are scratching your head on what other fabrics will go well with it in order to achieve that final captivating look you desire.
This is the point where you can follow two simple directions to kick-start mixing and matching fabrics – Patterns or Colors. Through these two directions, you are able to create a variety of fabric combinations based on the fabric pattern or color you love.
Of course you can too apply these guidelines, which are pretty straightforward and highly versatile, throughout your life whenever you need patterns or colors matching from web design to make-up to home styling.
In this article, we are going to talk about mixing and matching patterns with a little coverage on colors.
For mixing and matching colors, you can read our article at this link.
Let’s get started on the simple guidelines that will help you put up your own fabric combinations for your next sewing or quilting project!
Start with A Fabric Pattern You Love
This is the fabric pattern that will determine what makes all the other patterns and colors work nicely together. To start, you can build up to three (e.g. one solid color and two patterns) around this pattern.
Choosing colors is the most exciting part of this journey. The only rule is to stick with one or two colors from the color palette you will create out of your favorite fabric in this step.
To create a color palette out of this fabric pattern, you don’t have to look at the color wheel nor do you have to think of any other colors aside from what you see on this fabric pattern. With the colors combination already decided by the fabric pattern designer, go ahead to draw out the colors from this fabric pattern effortlessly and lay them on the table.
At the same time, pick one or two colors that pop to be your base colors for the other fabrics.
Next, determine whether your fabric pattern is organic or geometric. This is to help you pick your next one or two fabric patterns.
Does your primary fabric has organic or geometric pattern?
If your first choice of fabric pattern is organic inspired, you are going to want to choose a geometric next. If your first choice is geometric, you will want to choose something nature inspired.
An organic pattern is of shapes and forms which are typically irregular or asymmetrical. Instead, organic patterns are akin to shapes with a natural look with defined lines and can have movement. Since organic patterns are associated with things from the natural world, some examples of organic patterns include leaves, clouds and animals.
A geometric pattern is a kind of repeated pattern formed by geometric shapes like lines, squares, circles, rectangles, ovals, triangles, pentagons, hexagons, octagons, diamonds and stars. These shapes create a lot of interesting complex and simple geometric pattern design. Polka dots or stripes are the simplest geometric patterns.
Consider Pattern Scale (size)
Your choice of patterns combinations should be in different scales so that it will be more smoothing for the eyes without being too busy.
To make it visually interesting, you can try these combinations:
- One large scale pattern, one medium scale pattern and one small scale pattern
- One large scale pattern and two small or medium scale pattern
Large scale patterns work best on large pieces like curtains and bed sheets, while medium scale patterns tend to work better on pillow cases and tote bags. You can take these into consideration though there are some exceptions like dresses look good in varies scales.
Go with Your Instincts
At the end of the day, not everything has to match perfectly and the sky is the only limit when it comes to mixing and matching fabrics.
Have fun playing around with all the patterns and colors till you find the fabrics combination that you fell in love with and is a feast to your eyes. The one rule that you should really keep is the color rule because chances are the combination will work just fine if you follow the color rule.
When in doubt, remember to keep it simple as less is really more.
To eliminate any uncertainty feeling and to finalize the combination, lay down all your choices and look at them few days later. If your first fabrics combination choice still gives you butterflies, you have your answer.