Selecting fabric for Bargellos

Posted by Ruth on 29 January 2012 | 4 Comments

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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. As I am writing a new Bargello online class, I decided it would be fun to share some information about how best to select your fabrics and grade ready for the class 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, 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.

Now that we have a selection of fabrics, let's take a look at adding a second group. Sometimes it is difficult to find enough fabrics in one group so this would be a good way to solve that problem. 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. I know you are all anxious to ask about my new bargello class so I will let you in on a little secret. It will be presented on my website later this month and is quite different to any others I have created. The new one is a circular one.

Bargello Swirl

If you are interested in this class, you can register your interest by leaving me a comment below or by filling out our form here: Register your interest >>

UPDATE: This circular bargello is now available as an online class at the Academy of Quilting. You can find out more here >>

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting

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  • Thanks, that was helpful

    Posted by Sheila, 27/09/2012 2:45pm (8 years ago)

  • That looks really it?

    Posted by Carol Dagg, 02/02/2012 10:43pm (9 years ago)

  • I feel that by discussing the colors were great and very informative. It gave me a better idea how I can do my colors. I didn't know you can go from dark to light then light to dark. Very Interesting

    Posted by Arzella, 02/02/2012 9:14pm (9 years ago)

  • Great post, Ruth. Should help many students and other quilters with fabric gradation and selection.

    Posted by Jen, 01/02/2012 9:24pm (9 years ago)

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