Selecting and Grading Fabrics From Light To Dark

Selecting and Grading Fabrics From Light To Dark

Tags: bargello, circular, color, color wash

One of the biggest problems my students have when making a bargello quilt is selecting the fabric and then grading the fabrics from light to dark. While I was writing one of Bargello online workshops some time ago, I decided it would be fun to share some information about how best to select fabrics and grade them ready for the workshop to begin - of course, this will also be helpful for my existing students and other projects such as color wash quilts where you need to grade fabrics from light to dark.

To help explain how I choose my fabrics and grade them for Bargello Swirls, I have listed some of the important tips and included a video for you to watch. I hope this will help many of you in working with colors and fabrics. 

  • Grade colors of each color group, working one group at a time
  • Don't mix two colors within a group - however some fabric may have small amounts of other colors in them
  • Use strips the size of those you cut to get a better eye for the change in print
  • Eliminate fabrics of a different hue
  • Use a range of fabrics from very very light to very very dark
  • Do not use values too close together
  • Avoid large steps between value

The following video shows how I graded my pink/purple fabrics from dark to light for my Bargello Swirls workshop.

Sometimes it is difficult to find enough fabrics in one group soadding a second group of fabrics would be a good way to solve that problem. Now that we have a selection of fabrics in the first group, let's take a look at adding a second group.  Here are some points to consider:

  • Keep the two color groups separate by grading each group from light to dark
  • You can have lots of fabric in one group and only few in the second, or you can have even amounts. Avoid only having one fabric in one group
  • Try arranging fabrics light to dark in one group and then light to dark in the second group OR try light to dark for the first and dark to light in the second - or vice versa
  • Fabrics in one group fit really well if they have traces of colors from the other group
  • Color opposite on the color wheel, work really well together for example Blue and Orange

I added Teal fabrics to my Purple selection above. Let's see how I got on:

I hope you enjoyed the videos and they helped you learn how to place your fabrics when creating a color run. This theory was used when I created my Bargello Swirl quilt, shown below. 

Bargello Swirls quilt pattern designed by Ruth Blanchet

Bargello Swirl

This circular bargello is now available as an online workshop. You can find out more here >>

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