Let’s talk types of fabric prints.
Before knowing how to use printed fabric, it’s helpful to know what types of printed fabric is available to us quilters. I like to think about prints in two ways – by color (Part 1) and by design (Part 2 – you are here.).
In this post, we’ll talk about prints in terms from a design perspective – design type, scale, spacing, and directionality.
Depending on the quilt design you’ll want more or less contrast between the fabrics. As a quilter, manipulating that contrast between fabrics (either by color or print design) is a key skill to hone. That skill will come easier with more practice, but focus on manipulating the contrast using color and print type.
First things first, let’s look at some different types of prints – geometric, novelty, and floral.
Geometric prints includes a variety of prints from stripes and polka dots to more imaginative motifs like triangles and pearl bracelets.
There are so many possibilities with florals. These prints can be more organic in their lines and motifs when compared to geometric prints.
Here’s where you’ll find all the fabrics with animals and cute things to talk about. These novelties make great “I Spy” elements for the viewer to find.
Design Considerations Prints
Let’s look at directionality, spacing, and scale and some design considerations for each.
Some prints, like stripes, are directional. Some prints are directional and have a right side up. For example some may consider the triangle print to have a right side up.
Design Considerations: Directional prints can be used to create movement or direction within a quilt but they can be frustrating to use in a quilt when the design is symmetrical.
From cramped to spacious, prints can vary in their relative amount of spacing in between the main design motifs. Some prints have a secondary texture in between the primary motif.
Design Considerations: Spacing can impact the overall quilt design by showing the background in varying degrees. A print with larger spacing will show up in different ways once cut up and pieced into a quilt.
Prints can vary in scale from tiny to giant.
Design Considerations: Medium to larger scale prints may show up in different ways once cut up and pieced into a quilt.
The Perfect Mix
Striking the right mix of prints is the goal and a beautiful thing. Typically each type of fabric print is used at different times within a quilt. Generally, one uses all types of fabric prints in a quilt, but not all the time. For each quilt and quilt maker the right balance is subjective on the goal of the quilt and the tastes of the maker.
Think about how you might use these different considerations when manipulating contrast in your fabric selection. Don’t forget using color in your contrast mix. Your confidence will build with practice!
We go deeper in the Playful Color Quilt Guild – members find this and a full discussion of each fabric’s purpose and potential pitfalls in the Prints Primer.
Not a member yet? Sign up for the waitlist here and I’ll let you know when the membership is open. And as a bonus for joining the waitlist, you’ll get the “10 Playful Color Tips” printable to help you play with color today.