Studio Notes: Creating a Squishy Swatch Card Quilt
How can you say “no” to all of Art Gallery Fabrics’ latest Pure Solids bundles? I know I can’t! This is why I have created a squishy swatch card showcasing all 134 vibrant and bold Pure Solids with my Blooming Scraps quilt pattern. Each bundle is carefully curated to match your color mood - Harvesting, Sprouting, Crystallizing, Hibernating, Blossoming and Summering - and comes with 22 to 23 colors.
Working with more than 100 fabrics at a time and planning its placement for a squishy swatch card quilt can be overwhelming. And this is where I come in. The following blog post shares a few tips on how to prepare and stay organized throughout your squishy swatch card making journey.
Cut & Label As You Go
To keep things in order and avoid confusion throughout construction, cut and label your fabrics as you go.
Stack up to 5 layers of fabric and cut multiple fabrics at a time. This is going to speed the cutting step of the quilt making process. For this to be successful, make sure the blade on the rotary cutter is sharp. A sharp rotary cutter should be able to cut up to 5 layers of fabrics in one sweeping motion without sections still attached.
Once all the squares from a bundle are cut, use painter’s or masking tape and a pen or marker to label each square by color. In addition to labeling the color, leave enough room on the tape for up to 1 letter and 2 numbers. The additional space on the tape to accommodates these 3 characters and will be covered in the following section.
When writing out the colors on the tape, do not tape and write it directly on the fabric. This is because the ink may go through the fabric. Instead, rip a small section of the tape. Lightly place it on your work surface, write out the color and then tape it on the right side of the fabric. By placing the tape on the right side of the fabric, the label remains visible as you piece the blocks. And an added bonus of using tape is, you can sew over it without breaking the sewing needle.
When working with painter’s or masking tape you’ll need to be careful when pressing. Make sure the tape is removed before pressing. The adhesive on the tape may transfer on to the fabric permanently. Place the tape back when pressing is complete to stay organized and reduce confusion. If at any point the tape falls off while working, write out the name of color on a fresh piece of tape.
Alternatively, you could use bits of scrap paper and pins to label the fabrics. However, the pins may get in the way and create a less flat surface as you construct the blocks.
Below are the names of the fabrics by Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids bundle to make labeling of the fabrics easier:
- Row 1: Georgia Peach, Apricot Crepe, Peach Street, Sweet Macadamia, Blushing, Terracotta Tile
- Row 2: Desert Dune, Apple Cider, Sienna Brick, Chocolate, Candied Cherry, Ruby
- Row 3: London Red, Aurora Red, Tiger Lily, Dried Carrot, Burnt Orange, Mandarin
- Row 4: Sweet Tangerine, Summer Sun, Raw Gold, Gingerbread
- Row 1: Forest Night, Dried Moss, Golden Bronze, Garden Fern, Eucalyptus, Patina Green
- Row 2: Fresh Sage, Sweet Mint, Pistachio Cream, Light Citron, Lemonade, Dark Citron
- Row 3: Appletini, Olive Oil, Empire Yellow, Canary, Lemon Tart, Aurus
- Row 4: Turmeric, Honey, Banana Cream, Honeydew
- Row 1: Nocturnal, Night Sea, Heart of the Ocean, Denim Blue, Parisian Blue, Aero Blue
- Row 2: Tranquil Waters, Periwinkle, Atmospheric, Blueberry Zest, Hydrangea, Royal Cobalt
- Row 3: Amethyst, Purple Pansy, Wisteria, Lavender Water, Fields of Lavender, Bewitched
- Row 4: Sweet Fig, Potter’s Clay, Mauvelous, Sugar Plum
- Row 1: Coffee Bean, Vintage Walnut, English Toffee, Mink, Smooth Pebble, Macchiato
- Row 2: Toasty Walnut, Vanilla custard, Sandstone, Gentle Feather, Light Grey, Latte
- Row 3: Creme De La Creme, White Linen, Snow, Celestial, Mystic Grey, Ash
- Row 4: Steel, Moonstone, Magnetism, Caviar
- Row 1: Ethereal Pink, Cotton Candy, Crystal Pink, Quartz Pink, Blossomed, Cinnamon
- Row 2: Miami Sunset, Grapefruit, Coral Reef, Flamingo, Cherry Lip Gloss, Dragon Fruit
- Row 3: Spiceberry, Weathered Brick, Dried Roses, Cabernet, Plum Reserve, Purple Wine
- Row 4: Verve Violet, Very Berry, Raspberry Rose, Fuchsia, Sweet Pink
- Row 1: Warm Wave, Mirage Blue, Icy Mint, Fresh Water, Cozumel Blue, Maldives
- Row 2: Tile Blue, Mediteraneo, Ocean Waves, Crystalline, Pacific, Ocean Fog
- Row 3: Northern Waters, Swimming Pool, Source, Zambia Stone, Secret Lagoon, Evergreen
- Row 4: Hunter Fields, Peacock, Emerald, Jade Cream, Tender Green
If you’re creating a squishy swatch card using the Blooming Scraps quilt pattern, follow the lap size quilt (finished size 45in x 75in) instructions. The lap size requires a total of 135 blocks and there are 134 Pure Solid fabrics. You have full creative freedom over what fabric to use to complete the final quilt block.
This step involves laying out all the cut squares and seeing where they will be positioned on the quilt before sewing the blocks together. Make sure you have plenty of space on the floor, desk or wall to do this.
This is going to vary from quilt pattern to quilt pattern. If you are following the Blooming Scraps quilt pattern, imagine a 9 by 15 square grid whilst auditioning the fabric placement. As previously mentioned, one of the squares can be completed by a fabric of your choice or a repeat of your favorite Pure Solids as there are not enough colors to cover 135 blocks that the pattern calls for.
Before you dive into ordering the cut squares in order, group them by key color groups such as red, orange, pink, purple, green, blue, purple, brown, etc. This is going to make it easier and faster to sort through and order over 100 colors.
Tip for Blooming Scraps makers: If you want to plan with a design wall but do not have one to work with, use the batting intended for the project (at least 53in x 83in) or a scrap piece of batting that measures at least (32 in x 50in). Stick the batting on the wall with heavy duty painters tape. From there play around with different placements with the squares. The Warm Company cotton batting was used in this example.
Once you have finalized your layout, label each row of the grid with a letter and each column of the grid with a number. With a pen or marker, go back to each square, label it by the corresponding grid letter and number. These identifiers are going to help you quickly identify where each color belongs when it comes to piecing all the quilt blocks to form the quilt top.
Identifiers are going to vary from quilt to quilt, depending on personal preference. I ordered the colors in a zigzag pattern instead of left to right for better flow.
For ease, below is how I’ve ordered my Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids colors. The text in brackets correspond to the identifiers in the images above:
- Row A: Ruby (A1), London Red (A2), Aurora Red (A3), Desert Dunes (A4), Terracotta Tile (A5), Apricot Crepe (A6), Dried Carrot (A7), Apple Cider (A8), Sienna Brick (A9), Chocolate (A10), Gingerbread (A11), Raw Gold (A12), Summer Sun (A13), Mandarin (A14), Sweet Tangerine (A15)
- Row B: Sweet Pink (B1), Quartz Pink (B2), Blushing (B3), Cotton Candy (B4), Ethereal Pink (B5), Lavender Water (B6), Crystal Pink (B7), Blossomed (B8), Grapefruit (B9), Cinnamon (B10), Miami Sunset (B11), Coral Reef (B12), Flamingo (B13), Tiger Lily (B14), Burnt Orange (B15)
- Row C: Fuchsia (C1), Raspberry Rose (C2), Cherry Lip Gloss (C3), Dragon Fruit (C4), Spice Berry (C5), Candied Cherry (C6), Weathered Brick (C7), Dried Rose (C8), Very Berry (C9), Verve Violet (C10), Purple Wine (C11), Plum Reserve (C12), Cabernet (C13), Nocturnal (C14), Night Sea (C15)
- Row D: Bewitched (D1), Sweet Fig (D2), Sugar Plum (D3), Mauvelous (D4), Fields of Lavender (D5), Atmospheric (D6), Periwinkle (D7), Crystalline (D8), Tranquil Waters (D9), Aero Blue (D10), Parisian Blue (D11), Denim Blue (D12), Blueberry (D13), Royal Cobalt (D14), Heart of the Ocean (D15)
- Row E: Wisteria (E1), Purple Pansy (E2), Amethyst (E3), Hydrangea (E4), Mediterraneo (E5), Northern Waters (E6), Spruce (E7), Swimming Pool (E8), Ocean Waves (E9), Ocean Fog (E10), Pacific (E11), Sweet Mint (E12), Icy Mint (E13), Tender Green (E14), Fresh Sage (E15)
- Row F: Emerald (F1), Secret Lagoon (F2), Peacock (F3), Eucalyptus (F4), Hunter Fields (F5), Zambia Stone (F6), Evergreen (F7), Tile Blue (F8), Maldives (F9), Cozumel Blue (F10), Mirage Blue (F11), Fresh Water (F12), Warm Wave (F13), Pistachio Cream (F14), Patina Green (F15)
- Row G: Jade Cream (G1), Lemonade (G2), Dark Citron (G3), Appletini (G4), Light Citron (G5), Honey Dew (G6), Banana Cream (G7), Olive Oil (G8), Canary (G9), Empire Yellow (G10), Lemon Tart (G11), Aurus (G12), Turmeric (G13), Honey (G14), Golden Bronze (G15)
- Row H: Light Gray (H1), Mystic Gray (H2), Gentle Feather (H3), Ash (H4), Potter’s Clay (H5), Mink (H6), Smooth Pebble (H7), Steel (H8), Moonstone (H9), Magnetism (H10), Coffee Bean (H11), Caviar (H12), Forest Night (H13), Garden Fern (H14), Dried Moss (H15)
- Row I: Celestial (I1), Snow (I2), White Linen (I3), Creme De La Creme (I4), Sweet Macadamia (I5), Latte (I6), Sandstone (I7), Vanilla Custard (I8), Macchiato (I9), Peach Street (I10), Georgia Peach (I11), Toasty Walnut (I12), English Toffee (I13), Vintage Walnut (I14)*
*As previously noted, you can use any fabric to complete the final quilt block in the Blossoming Scraps Quilt pattern. This is because there are a total of 134 Pure Solids colors and the pattern asks to create a total of 135 quilt blocks.
Before you dismantle the layout and start sewing, take a photo of it as well in case your labels fall off or go missing as you work.
Hope this blog post brightens your day. And remember, cut and label as you go, and plan ahead when you’re tackling your squishy Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids swatch card. If you liked the quilt pattern used in this example, Blooming Scraps quilt, it can be found here.