Hi, fabric lovers!
Welcome back to my “Matching Fabrics” series! This has been quite a ride, with such an overwhelming response since the start, I am very excited to be continuing and sharing my knowledge. In my last blog post, we spoke about how important scale was and how to use it. In the last part of that blog, we spoke about the small-scale fabric prints and in this section, I wanted to dive deeper into what that is and how they are also considered a blender fabric.
First, let's talk about the definition of a blender fabric. These are fabrics that are non-directional, meaning you can cut in any direction without affecting the design, and the pattern itself is tiny, (usually less than an inch) or small enough that if you stepped away, you couldn't tell the motif of the print. Think about blenders as a solid but with added texture! It certainly isn’t a solid, but it can act the part by drawing attention to the other prints you’re using.
These types of fabrics were created to help you quilt with larger-scaled prints (or how I like to call it the “main star” of the show) to create visual contrast. Imagine sewing with prints that are all the same scale, your eye wouldn't know where to focus on, making your quilt look crowded. Using a balance of the prints from a collection with blender fabrics will make it easier to use the whole collection together.
Working at Art Gallery Fabrics has made me realize how well-thought-out every collection is made because in every collection release there is always a perfect balance between large, medium, and small prints. Although, sometimes that isn't always the case if you don’t have a complete fabric collection. You may be looking at your fabric stash and only selecting some of your favorite prints instead of a collection, or maybe the current blenders that you do have are laying around and you’re not sure when to use them. So, below I've broken it down to all the blenders that AGF carry that you may have, and some of my tips and visual examples on how you can use them!
You may or may not know, but AGF has so many options for blenders! Art Gallery Fabrics likes to call these “ELEMENTS”, filled with tons of options (seven categories to be exact), which means you’ll always find the right print for your sewing project!
*Available in 16 colors
Stepping into the first category, Decostitch! This Element was created for the stitch lovers out there. If you enjoy hand-stitching and the added texture quilting does to your projects, then this is a great blender for you! The Decostich range tends to have more earthy colors, so these would pair nicely with any collection that has a lot of neutrals. The motif of this blender is minimal, which makes it ideal to use with more modern collections. Some collections off the top of my head that have similar color schemes or themes would be Earthen, Mayfair, and Foresta Fusion.
Another Iconic blender (hehe pun intended) ICON is a vibrant, bold, and quite the eye-catching set! Know, these blenders are the ones for you if you love modern and bright collections. For example, Sisu has great primary colors that would be ideal to use with these blenders, because Icon contains simple shapes like squares, “x”s, arrows, and triangles. These designs would be beautiful with prints mimicking the same shapes. Don’t be afraid of bright colors, because this range of blenders can also work with low volume (like Lower The Volume and Raise The Volume collections) and black and white fabrics for an added pop of color.
Going back to classics! I wanted to talk about Floral and Nature Elements because they are very similar. Together there are so many color options so the possibilities are endless! These blenders have so much texture, you can pair it with almost any collection to add some elegance, without overpowering the design on your project. Depending on which collection you choose, for example, if you want a more maximalist style, pair 365 Fifth Avenue’s florals with Floral Elements! Take the Nature Elements side if you have more “nature” theme fabric collections like our Maara, Selva, and Catch & Release collections.
This is not your plain dotted fabric, these Oval Elements have dimension with its multicolored rings, providing a unique texture and depth! I find these types of blenders ideal with simple, large print designs because these blenders will provide that missing texture. These Oval Elements are so fun to use because from far away they may look like a solid fabric, but up close you can see multiple colors. This is where you can take advantage of the multiple colors featured in this blender because it can help you tie in prints from collections that have 2 colorways. You may find a collection like Nuncia, that has a range of deep reds but on the other colorway, you’ll find some soft pinks, which Oval Elements like the bottom right of the picture above, can allow you to use both together!
Next up we have Prisma Elements! These blenders are basic triangle shapes with solid backgrounds, and if you haven’t noticed a trend yet with simple shapes, these prints are definitely on the modern side. The triangles on these are larger than Icon and Decostitch, giving you slightly more texture. Also, due to its larger scale, you can easily sew with prints that have a lot of negative space plus, the color selection makes it ideal for modern kid’s collections like Pacha and Pine Lullaby. Maybe you want to use some florals from your stash, this blender’s geometric design can transform a floral quilt into a modern masterpiece! Also, some of the prints have the triangles printed in metallic to add a little sheen to any project.
Moving on to Squared Elements, these blenders are simple, small-scaled blenders that have white or colored backgrounds. I find these perfect when working with dark background prints because these elements will always provide contrast with its white negative space. The squares in these blenders are slightly different in size, which gives this illusion of movement! A great tip to know when to use this blender is to ask yourself, “does this collection I’m working with have graphic (meaning bold, angular shapes) prints?” Some collections that have this style are Summer Side, Aura, and Sirena, which make an ideal pairing with Squared Elements.
Thank you if you read to the end, I understand sometimes choosing fabrics isn’t easy but I hope this made your life a little easier! Of course, these are my opinions, and you can choose whatever your quilty heart desires. There are no rules when it comes to sewing, as long as it makes you happy, so feel free to use these blenders by themselves, or with other blenders together. There are so many options to choose from, and I can’t wait to share more tips on what I’ve learned from working with creative people every day. Stay tuned for more content, the next topic will be all about THEMES!
Until next time,