Choosing Fabrics with Jera Brandvig

Posted by Jera Brandvig on May 21st 2019

Enjoy this incredible excerpt from Jera Brandvig's Quilt As-You-Go Made Vintage on how to choose colors for your vintage-inspired quilts. Plus, scroll down to the end of the post for a giveaway! 

Finding Color Inspiration

Sometimes you know right away which fabrics you will use for a project, but other times choosing the right fabrics can feel overwhelming. This chapter will touch on how fabric selection can completely change the mood of your quilt and provide some tips on choosing the right fabrics for your project.

If you’re lucky enough to find a whole fabric collection that you absolutely love, then sticking with fabrics from a single collection is a great place to start. Fabric collections are made to be used together, so they will typically include enough tonal and scale variations to design a beautiful and balanced quilt. Plus, you get the added benefit that you can usually find full collections sold as precut fabrics such as jelly rolls, layer cakes, charm packs, or fat quarter bundles.


The precut fabrics are by Lecien Fabrics and include fat quarter bundles (18 ̋ × 22 ̋), a sushi roll (21/2 ̋ strips), charm pack (5 ̋ squares) and mini origami packs (21/2 ̋ squares).

Finding Color Inspiration

Sometimes you find a great pattern but have no fabrics in mind quite yet. Walking into a quilt shop or searching for fabrics online can feel quite overwhelming at this point. My advice is to start with something that gives you color inspiration and work from there. It could be something as simple as a mood (soft, delicate, bright, or bold?), a theme (nautical, traditional, floral, baby boy or girl?), or a physical item.

Much of my own inspiration comes from vintage or antique pieces. For example, the delicate pastels and romantic colors drawn from the florals painted on an antique tea cup can help set the mood for a quilt and provide a palette for my quilt. If I can emulate these colors into a quilt, then it will be a timeless quilt that I will always cherish, just like my antique piece.


In this example, vintage china dishes inspired these fabrics, a combination of the Durham Quilt Collection, Rococo, and Sweet and American Country collections, all by Lecien Fabrics.


High Tea Collection by Jera Brandvig for Lecien Fabrics. This is my first fabric collection, which was inspired by vintage china pieces. I made High Tea Sampler which includes 48 block patterns from the High Tea Collection.

Keep your eyes open for inspiration—it can come from anywhere!

My family was at a beach town in Oregon and came across an old kite shop hidden behind a building. It doesn’t sound like much, but the planter full of beautiful flowers with a backdrop of weather-worn, blue cedar shingles immediately caught my eye. I snapped a photo and already have a quilt in mind!

Finding inspiration from your surroundings


Colors inspired from the planter box. When I use these fabrics, I will be reminded of the wonderful trip to the coast with my family. The fabrics are mainly from the Flower Sugar collection by Lecien Fabrics.

Create a Custom Bundle

Another approach for finding inspiration is to find a fabric print that you love and build your bundle around it. Browse until you see a print that really catches your eye. Make sure you love the colors from this initial print, as it will be the guide for choosing coordinating prints.

Then start cherry-picking prints from other collections that have coordinating colors or specific prints that complement the first. Include a variety of small, medium and large scale prints, depending on your project.

All these fabrics were inspired from the initial print above them.

You can enter to win an ebook copy of Quilt As-You-Go Made Vintage HERE. Good luck!

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