Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 1: Selecting and Preparing Materials

This is Part One of my Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along.  For an introduction to this tutorial and to see the finished book and a table of contents for all the parts, see this post.

Your first step is to collect the fabric, perhaps the most challenging (but fun) part!

Basic Information

Materials List:
A 1/4 yard each of black, red, blue,  orange, purple, yellow, green, brown, pink, and gray.  (A 1/4 yard will give you plenty leftover).
prints:  5 prints for each color (5 is best but you could probably get by with 3-4 and yes, that’s 50 fabric prints in total)  You’ll need just a scrap of each, approximately 2-3 inches wide and 13 inches long at the longest.  (Most can be shorter than that.)
muslin: white, about 1/2 yard, if your muslin is 60″ wide; if it’s 44″, then 3/4 yard.
extras: a few scraps of medium-weight fusible interfacing (like Pellon 808 – Craft Fuse) and embroidery floss in red, blue, orange, purple, green, pink

Fabric Type and Quality:  This project is best suited to quilting weight cottons, although I’ll also be using one or two flannel prints plus a fake suede. 🙂  I think it’s nice to have a little bit of texture contrast.  For your solids, I recommend you buy Kona Cotton or another solid of similar quality.  The cheaper solids (from Joann’s for example) are such poor quality that they are really difficult to work with.  The extra money is entirely worth it.  I also recommend buying a more expensive muslin.  Even though it won’t be visible in the book, it will be easier to sew with.  I bought a muslin that was $10-11 a yard (rather than the $2.99/yard stuff).  Of course, use coupons at Joann’s (as I did) if you shop there!

Fabric Preparation: I prefer to pre-wash all my fabric.  You don’t have to but be sure that all your fabric is in the same condition (i.e. either washed or not washed).

Cutting Instructions:  Cut ten 8.5 x 8.5-inch squares of muslin.  Cut two 9 x 9 inch squares of muslin.  All other cutting will be done as you are sewing.  Keep the muslin scraps for the embroidery.

Where To Find Fabric

  1. Now is the time to call on all your friends who sew to “shop”in their stashes!
  2. Post what you want/need on sewing forums.  You may find people who are willing to trade fabric with you (either locally or through the mail).
  3. I’ve found some fabric at Joann Fabrics, including the stars, lemons, lilacs, cherries, and frogs (pictures below) and many of the smaller prints.
  4. There are many fabric shops online which offer TONS of cute fabric.  You’ll have to restrain yourself from ordering the whole store!  A few to try include Pink Chalk, Fabric Worm, Purl Soho, and Hawthorne ThreadsEtsy also has lots of fabric sellers.

Inspiration and Tips

Here’s the pile of fabric that I’ll be using:

045 (800x534)030 (533x800)028 (800x533)029 (800x533)

Also, I like to have at least one print per color that is an object to be discussed.

031 (800x534)green turtles, green frogs, pink owls, red cars, red cherries, geese (on a gray background), elephants (on brown)

032 (800x534)blue birds, yellow lemons, purple bees, purple lilacs, blue trucks, black and white zebras, orange ducks

Some Additional Tips to Think About When Selecting Prints

When selecting prints, keep in mind the overall feeling of the fabric.  You want the color to be obvious when looking at it.  For example, clearly these fabrics are black and white.

041 (800x534)

However, what is this?  Orange or blue?  (For the record, I don’t have enough good blue options, so I’m going to use it although the orange is too strong to make it a good choice.)

036 (800x533)

I’m going to fussy cut this one so that the red vehicles are the obvious focal point, even though there is so much white in the background.  So the red should win out.

042 (800x534)

I’m also going to cut this one so that the purple is the prominent color.

043 (800x534)

Although the brown is only the background in this one, I’m going to use it because I don’t have any other cute brown prints.

040 (800x534)

The same is true for this gray one.

039 (800x534)

The next four I did not end up using:

Is this brown or green or red? ((Too hard to tell so don’t use it.)

037 (800x533)

Is this blue or yellow or red? ((Too hard to tell so don’t use it.)

038 (800x534)

Is this blue or yellow? ((Too hard to tell so don’t use it.)

035 (800x534)

Is this purple or ??? (Too hard to tell so don’t use it.)

034 (800x533)

Here are my solids:

033 (800x533)All Kona Cotton (with the Kona color names in parentheses): gray (Coal), pink (Bright Pink), brown (Chocolate), green (Leprechaun), yellow (Buttercup), purple (Mulberry), orange (School Bus), blue (Surf), red (Red), black (Black).

(I have a Kona Color Card so I have fun dreaming about owning all 243 colors!  Joann doesn’t have many so you’ll have to buy them online or at your local quilt store.)

Last but not least, my embroidery thread, which I attempted to match to my solids.

001 (800x533) (2)

DMC 3347, 321, 268, 947, 798, 602.  (Not perfect but I refuse to buy anymore!)

Have fun collecting fabric!  I’ll be back in 2-3 weeks to start sewing pages!

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4 Responses to Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 1: Selecting and Preparing Materials

  1. Pingback: Color Book Sew-Along/Tutorial | Salmon and Souvlaki

  2. Pingback: Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 1, bonus material: some more fabric tips | Salmon and Souvlaki

  3. Pingback: Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along: Stop Cutting! | Salmon and Souvlaki

  4. Pingback: Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 1, bonus material, continued: more fabric inspiration | Salmon and Souvlaki

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