Choosing Fabrics for Landscape Quilts Leaves and Flowers – Quilting Daily

This winter has been so long and snow-filled in my part of the world, it seems spring might never come. Of course I know it WILL come, but in the meantime, I’m getting my color fix from fabric, fibers, and quilt art.

“Out on a Limb,” quilt art by Nancy Zieman.

Working on landscape quilts, in particular, is a great way to immerse yourself in flowers and greenery. It’s like growing a garden with fabric, thread, and creative quilting.

Before you head off to your stash (or the fabric store), here are some tips for choosing fabrics for leaves and flowers, adapted from The Art of Landscape Quilting by Nancy Zieman and Natalie Sewell:

Vary your leaf colors. For many landscape quilts, leaves are the dominant feature. But even in summer, the colors of leaves can range from purple to blue-green to chartreuse. Including a variety of colors adds vitality to your quilt. Note: Touches of yellow and white add a sun-kissed touch.

Favor scale over botanical accuracy. Distant leaves need to be paler and smaller, while foreground leaves are more intense in hue and are considerably larger.

Repeat sections of leaf fabrics several times in your design. This decreases “busyness” and looks more natural.

Use flowers sparingly. Though flowers are often the focal point of landscapes, use them sparingly or your landscape will look more like wallpaper than a garden. A rule of thumb is one flower for every 30 leaves.

When choosing floral fabric, pay no attention to the background or leaves, because you will usually cut out the flowers, leaving the background behind.

Focus on the blossoms: Are the flowers the right colors? Are some of them turned at different angles, looking more natural?

Again, consider scale: If the flowers in the fabric are all one size, you may need to cut some down to make them smaller for the background.

This spring, why don’t you grow your own garden with fabric, thread, and our Landscape Quilting Collection. It includes The Art of Landscape Quilting and four more of our top landscape quilting resources by top quilt artists.

viv sig

P.S. How does your fabric garden grow? Leave your tips for choosing fabrics for landscape quilts on the Quilting Daily blog.


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