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Home All About Quilting Choose Neutral Fabrics That Will Make Your Quilt “POP!!”

Choose Neutral Fabrics That Will Make Your Quilt “POP!!”

by Beth Cooper

When it comes to making a quilt, the fabric you choose can have a huge impact on the final look of the project. Almost every quilt pattern requires a neutral or background fabric. They add a sense of balance to a quilt and make your featured fabrics “pop.” However, with so many neutral options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to pick the right ones for your project. Here is how to pick neutrals that will elevate your quilt to the next level!

This neutral fat quarter bundle from Riley Blake is the perfect illustration of light neutrals and dark neutrals. Find this Confetti Cottons Neutral Collection here.

Three Steps to Picking Neutral Fabric

  1. Consider the color palette. Neutral fabrics come in a range of shades. Classically, neutral colors are very light in color, but nowadays, darker fabrics are sometimes referred to as “neutral” and are used as background fabric. Light-colored neutrals range from white and soft cream to tan to light gray. Bonnie Hunter, pattern writer, author, and quilter, defines a neutral by “any fabric that is the color of a paper bag or lighter.” When choosing your neutral fabrics, think about the color palette you want to work with. Are you looking for a soft and delicate look, or do you want to create a bold and dramatic effect? If you’re looking for a dark background, choose from blacks, dark grays, and chocolate browns.
  2. Mix and Match. Consider using more than one neutral fabric per quilt. Neutral fabrics don’t have to be boring! Try using many different neutrals in the same quilt. Doing this will add depth and interest to your quilt. All of the neutrals will blend together beautifully and your quilt will have more dimension to it. Try it. You’ll like it.
  3. Don’t be afraid of prints. Neutral prints can add a fun and playful touch to your quilt. Look for prints that feature small, neutral-colored motifs, such as polka dots, stripes, or even florals. These prints can help break up the solid colors in your quilt and add a pop of visual interest. Prints are the perfect way to add spice to your neutral fabric choices. However, if the print is a bright color or if it is a very busy and colorful print, it may not fall into the neutral family (even if the background of the fabric is neutral). To determine if the fabric “reads” as a neutral or as the color of the print, step away from the fabric by about 3 feet. Look at the fabric and whatever color you see first (neutral or color?) is what it will “read” as in your quilt.

Neutral fabrics can add a sense of balance and gives a place for the eye to rest. Have fun exploring all the possibilities, and happy quilting!

This set of Naturally Neutral batiks by Kathy Engle for Island Batik are just gorgeous!
What a wonderful collection of neutrals! Find the collection here.

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