Deciding on Fabrics can make or break the design

Posted by on 10 February 2020 | 0 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.

This week I've been working on my new Bargello pattern. I decided that I needed to make a second sample so dived into my stash to pull fabrics. For any Bargello, color is an important subject as it can definitely make or break the design and pulling 10 fabrics in two colors can be quite a task but fortunately, I only need a small amount of each - just a strip or two.

So what colors should I use? I knew I wanted to use purple or blue as one of the two colors so I started there.... sorting through possible fabrics. I pulled out a lot of purple fabrics and it was soon obvious to see these could easily be split into two groups - blue-violet and red-violet.

bargello fabric cool purples


bargello fabric warm purples


You can definitely see the blue and red tinge in each group although in some fabrics they have both so can be a little difficult to place. The process of sorting these fabrics reminded me of a valuable tip I learned in Elizabeth Barton's Color Class.... "The 'temperature' of a fabric isn't absolute, but rather it is relative to adjacent colors. So for example, a medium yellow might be warm next to a lemon, but cool next to a stick of butter".

In my case, I'm dealing with cool and warm purples.... red violets are warm and blue violets are cool. The cool purples include blue tones whereas the warm purples have red. It can make a big difference when creating a Bargello not to mix the two groups although a little sneaking through doesn't matter and often adds that extra interest, but the majority should be one or the other for best results.

My favorite is the cooler purples.... what's yours? I pulled ten fabrics that I thought would look great and ranged them from dark to light.

bargello fabric purple run

My purple color run

As I mentioned, this particular Bargello needs two color groups so I'm thinking about colors that will work well with my cool purples. Of course, complementary colors would work perfectly... that would be yellow-orange on the color wheel. However, looking at my fabrics I can see my group of purples could be split again so I could use a split-complementary color scheme for my Bargello. This is when one of the colors is split into two neighboring colors on the color wheel. The split comes across the blue so I have blue-purple and blue-green. I have a mix of both within the fabrics I chose. Can you see them in the photo above?

To finish the split-complementary color scheme, the third color comes opposite blue which is in the middle of the split.... so that would be orange.

Selecting orange was pretty easy when you don't have a large selection as you're limited for choice, but this is what I found...

bargello fabric orange run

orange color run

.... and I think that will look really nice with my purple selection so now it is time to start cutting. Of course, I'll have to press them all first! Be sure to check back sometime soon (over the next few weeks) when I'll give you another update of how this Bargello is panning out.

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