Picking fabrics, playing mix and match with the fabrics from my stash, auditioning them for a quilt or any patchwork project is my favourite part of the quilting process.

While I do love using the pre-made original bundle of fabrics by the designers as in the quilts I made HERE, HERE
, and HERE….

there are joy and more of my own touch in quilts that I make by mix-matching fabrics from various designers and fabric line. Examples of such quilts are HERE and HERE.

In this post, I am going to share my process of picking fabrics for a quilt. Maybe you have a similar process as I do and would like to add more, or maybe you’ll be picking up something new from this post. 

Whatever it is, let’s share it. Leave a comment. Pin the image by clicking the Pinterest button on the top left-hand corner 🙂

There are affiliate links within this post, please find my full disclosure here.

How to Pick Fabrics for a Quilt

As I mentioned earlier, one of the easiest choices that we have these days is to simply pick a bundle pre-made by the designers or the shop.

I recommend this especially for new quilters who may also find this is an easier option.

The bundle made by designers is usually complete with the right colours, the right balance of prints and they are simply gorgeous together.

The perfect way to start to mix and match fabrics for your patchwork quilt. 

The downside, though, is that it’s usually very hard to break a bundle once you have bought them as a bundle.

I personally love

By picking these fabric bundle for your quilt, you usually won’t have to worry about the balance of colours or prints.

But I always say, shop your own stash first – then add what you need. 

So, here is how I pick my fabrics; by mix-matching what I have in stash before purchasing more fabrics.

How to Mix-Match Fabrics for a Quilt

I have 6 main steps how I do it.

#1 Pick a focal fabric.

One fabric that you are sure to put into the quilt. It will be something that you really want to feature in the quilt.

In this particular example, I was going for a purple quilt. And I remembered having this piece of Tula Pink Eden Crouching Tiger. So, that was the fabric that I started with.

#2 Pick another colour or two.

I will then pick another colour or two, in reference to the first fabric picked in step #1.

In this example, I was trying to limit to only two colours for the quilt I was making. Since the colour purple was going to be the main feature, other choices of colours according to the first fabric would be green, teal/mint, and grey.

I picked the teal – or mint.

Shades of this colour would do great.


This is one of the easiest ways to pick other colours that will surely match your first focal fabric.

You will find that most likely, the colours available on that focal fabric is very-well chosen and matches great together – they are, after all, chosen by surface pattern designers. 🙂

Otherwise, you can always use the colour wheel. I rarely do, though.

If you’d like more colours in your quilt, you can expand the colour choices by picking the colours that are present in the second fabric, using the same technique.

[ Learn more about matching colors HERE in this class. With close to 5 Star review and learning from the expert – You’ll be sure to love it too! ]



#3 Pick all the basics out from the stash

I then pick all the basics that have the shades or colours that I have picked in step #2.

By Basics, I mean all the stripes, the polka dots, the tiny prints and the extra basics like my favorite pearl bracelet, C+S basics. These are usually great to stock up when it is on sale.

Fat Quarter Shop does this great monthly sale on basics like polka dots, stripes, and solids.

At this stage, I just pick them out from the stash and will be auditioning them again later.


#4 Pick medium and large prints that have the same colour range.

Now I go back to the stash and pick a couple more fabrics that have the same coloured-tone. This is probably the hardest part. They may contradict or overwhelm the focal fabric in step #1.

But at this stage, I just pick them out and let them play around with the bundle.


#5 Pick 2-3 more fabrics in the same line

I usually buy a couple or a bundle of fabric from the same line or designer. So usually,
there will be 2 or more fabrics in the same line or by the same designers in my own bundle. This might be considered ‘cheating’, if I must say so myself, but it is so hard to resist doing so.

The fabric will go very well together and this will add more volume and richness to the few featured colours. I realize that I may have already done this in step #4, since the fabrics within the line itself will have the same colourway and the prints size that I need.

For example in this quilt, I will certainly be needing a couple of more fabrics from Tula Pink’s Eden or Tula Pink’s other fabric line and some more from the fabric line or designer I picked in step #4. In this case, Anna Maria Horner’s fabric.

Again at this stage I was just picking them out to be on the table to play around with the bundle.



#6 Time to audition.

Now it is time to thin it out.

I would put them together, side by side, blending, moving them around and see whether there are any that stands out too much from the crowd.

If they do, they are probably not a good fit especially if they have too many colours that are different from the focal fabrics.

After I pick them out, I mix them around again and see whether I need more fabrics to be added or be taken out.

Since I wanted to limit the colours, I weeded out all the ones with too many colours or yellows in them. because they were too bright and were taking over the bundle.

I also removed the ones that were slightly straying from the shade of the mint and purple.

learn how to mix and match fabrics

I feel like the two offset fabric up in this image is a bit off as a bundle altogether. However, they can still play together. I may add or remove them later depending on how much fabrics I need.

mix and match fabric for patchwork quilt

If I do know how much I’ll need for a quilt, I will then make sure I have enough fabrics. If I don’t, I can either add more of the same fabrics or I will just add more of the basics. It is then, time to SHOP!

Tips for a good balance of mix and match fabrics

I find it a good balance to have the same amount of fabrics for each colour and print size.

Though, I do find that it doesn’t hurt to have more of the smaller prints and the basics.

Limit the larger prints and the medium prints. They usually have lots of colours on them as well. However, they do add more character to the quilt. You can play more of these if you are confident with it.

For instance, if I have two colours chosen from 16 fabrics, it is good to have 6-8 fabrics of each colour. 2-3 larger and 3-4 medium prints, and the rest being small prints and basics.

In this example, I might also add some lighter-coloured fabrics since I seem to be lacking them.

If I want to add another colour to this pile or a background colour, I will add a neutral colour that will blend well, in which, in this example may possibly be grey.


In the end, I find that I still lack a portion of some of the fabrics. For example in this case, I will be adding more polka-dots mint for sure and a few more of the basics. At this point, I think the pile has enough medium and large prints. So, I will only be shopping for what I need (at least for this bundle to be completed :p..you never know what gets into the cart while you shop right ? LOL)

Shopping for the extras

So now, I already have a good idea of what I am in lack of, and other additional things that suits the bundle.

You can bring some fabrics to your local quilt shop and buy some of the ones you need there or you can also do some shopping online.

For example, in my bundle shown in thes post, I can add the following to my bundle:

mix and match fabric online

BUT, If I don’t need to add more, I am probably already off to a great start for making a quilt.

Well, I hope you’ve picked up some tips here that you may use to help pick, mix and match fabrics next time.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.


If you have any more to add to these tips for choosing fabrics for a quilt, let us know down below too!

we’d love to hear it.

Pin this image for your reference and share it around if you love it!

Step by step how to pick, mix and match fabrics for a quilt. with an example of the process. Maybe you'll pick up the how to for your next project!

Tips for mix and matching fabrics for a patchwork quilt. Picking fabrics can be intimidating sometimes. Mixing bold prints can be fun and bring more life to your quilt. Learn tips how to pick fabrics through this blog

Patchwork Quilt How to Pick Fabrics, mix and match patterns and colours


  1. Amanda, Utah Reply

    Hi there! I found you through Pinterest, and wanted to inform you of a problem. The pins you’ve added for this particular blog post are not accessible. It’s saying we don’t have permission to review a draft.. So you may need to delete the “draft” pins and repost!! Hope this helps. 🙂 Your blog is lovely. I’m a new follower.

  2. Thanks for that tip about shopping online! I would have never considered how convenient that is! I am a little old fashion and I like to touch the fabric before I buy.

  3. I like that you pointed out how a local fabric has been your first choice. I will definitely choose that as well since I wanted to support the local. We just need quilts that we can bring to the camping site since we will be there for about a week with the family.

  4. Pingback: 2 in 1 Holiday Table Runner & Bench Pillow - The Little Mushroom Cap: A Quilting Blog

  5. Thank you for the suggestions and advice. It is still as relevant in 2023 as it was in 2018. I like to shop from my stash first. After all, I bought the fabrics because I loved them on the bolts at the quilt shop and most were purchased without a planned quilt in mind. But sometimes it can be difficult to pair them up with “basics” so I very much enjoyed reading about your process. I subscribe to you newsletter and it was a link in your recent email-newsletter that led me to this post. Thank you so much.

  6. Carol Delong Reply

    I love bright quilts and I love this quilt. I haven’t been quilting as I moved and my sewing studio is not yet set up. But I am “itching” to sew! I usually have in mind the fabrics I want to use in a quilt and pull those. Then if I decide I don’t care for a fabric I will pull another one to replace it. I usually have in mind the fabrics I want to use.

    P.S. I tried to purchase the pattern using the code AMIRA and it replied that I should use a valid code. (I also tried with the first character capitalized and the rest lower case.)

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