5 Tips and Tricks for Mixing and Matching Patterns

JUL 24, 2015

You've decided on a project, found a pattern and are ready for the most exciting step–selecting your fabrics! You dive into the Marketplace and find all the beautiful fabrics you could ever dream of! But you struggle with selecting a cohesive set of designs. Luckily–we've compiled a list of simple tips for mixing and matching patterns so you can create the most lovely project with expertly coordinating designs!

Stacks (Melon)All Flowers (Canary) both by Heidi Kenny

Select a cohesive color palette

Working with a color palette helps create consistency between your patterns and allows you to tell a story through your selection of colors. Perhaps you're working on a set of throw pillows to add the finishing touch to your new serene living room. You'll want to select a cool, calm color palette to reiterate the rest of your design choices and keep the theme cohesive. Exploring unusual color combinations allows you to add interest to a project through interjecting a pop of exciting pattern and color.

Reddies by Nicola Clare | Pretty Beetles – Peach by Imaginary Animals 

Play with simple + complex patterns

Pairing a simple design, like Reddies designed by Nicola Clare, with a more complex design, like Pretty Beetles – Peach designed by Imaginary Animals, is perfect for projects that require a focal print with supporting coordinates. Your focal print should have a more interesting and complex motif that draws more attention, while coordinating fabrics should support your main design.

Granite by Demigoutte | Marluna by Nadia Hassan

Experiment with balancing light + dark designs

The contrast between a light design with a dark print can make for a really exciting pairing. Take these two prints, for instance! We love the contrast between these two designs and how well they compliment each other. 

Good Vibes – Coral | Itty Bitties both designed by Crystal Manning

Create interest with varying the scale of designs

Combing patterns of varying scale is another easy way to pair patterns and create an interesting visual story with your project. Here we've paired a simple large scale design with a small ditzy print. We'd love to see a quilt featuring blocks using the large scale print with binding made from the smaller print!

Polka Dot – Sky Blue by Andrea Lauren | Vintage 1 by Kate Gabrielle

Pair traditional prints with graphic prints

Pairing a traditional motif, like a floral, with a simple graphic design, like a polka dot, creates a nice balanced pattern palette. Pick two obviously different patterns to make your combination look intentional. We like seeing a busier traditional print that is bold complemented by a graphic print that complements your focal print without over powering. 

We hope these tips and tricks and useful guidelines as you experiment with mixing and matching patterns. If all else fails, have fun with your design selection! Do you have any other go-to rules when choosing fabrics for a project? If so, please share in the comments below!

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