Fabric Selection for Mexico Quilt: Color, Value and Pattern

 As you will notice in the photos above, the pattern includes this nifty black and white drawing of the quilt design.  I suggest that you photocopy a few of these and then you can color and play with different combos to find the one you like best.

Also, this post may not make much sense if you have not purchased the pattern.  I wanted to have these resources for the pattern here on my blog so that I can keep adding to them.  Pattern can be found through the SHOP link on the top of my blog.

Today I'm talking about fabric choices to maximize the impact of this quilt pattern.

When choosing fabrics for your Mexico Quilt, there are three things you will want to consider.

Color, Value, and Pattern.

Let's start with Color (or hue)

When you saw this pattern, did you have a mental image of the colors you wanted to use?  Have you had a color scheme grab your attention lately, one that's just been waiting on the back of your mental shelf?  If so, your job is easy!

Sometimes though, the dizzying array of choices can be overwhelming.  There are so many places you can begin.  Browse your Pinterest boards for color combos.  Or go to your fabric shelf and look for a fabric that speaks to you.

With this pattern, you can simplify the process by thinking in terms of four different fabric colors you will choose.  You will have your focus fabric (Color #1)  For my original quilt, I knew I was going to use black.  I wanted it to really stand out.  I also knew that Color #2 would be white.  You should think of this one as being a background fabric.  It should be a definite different color than Color #1.  To start out, think of this color as being some kind of a neutral.  Of course, as you start pulling your fabrics together, you may decide to get more adventurous and exchange the neutral for another color.

Your last two colors (Colots #3 and #4) will be where you will add more fun and contrasting colors.  My favorite part of this quilt is the unexpected color that pops out in Color #4.  It only appears on the left hand side of the quilt, and I think it adds a fun and whimsical touch to make it a completely different color than the rest of the quilt.

Now we'll go on to Value.

Value, in very simple terms, is the lightness or darkness of a fabric.  So if you had a stack of fabrics, in an array of colors, and took a black and white photo, the different shades of grey would indicate the value of each fabric.  Value is equally as important as color when choosing the fabrics for your quilt.  Most of the time, its not the actual value of the fabric that matters, but how it compares in value to the other fabrics you've chosen for your quilt.

In my quilt, Color #1 and Color #2, in black and white, are as opposite as you can get.  This obviously makes the design stand out very well.  When choosing your Color #1, you will want to make sure that it is a distinctly different value than your other fabrics.

Color #3 and #4 are medium values.  They are secondary patterns.  You don't want them to be quite as noticeable as your main strip.  The difference in the value of these two fabrics may not be noticeable.  I wanted my Color #4 to be slightly lighter value in this quilt, and I think I may have accomplished that, but again it wasn't super important.  You just want to be sure that either the value or the color are different, so that these two rows will contrast each other somewhat.

In the middle photo above, you can see how I've played with completely changing the values around.  Obviously the sky is the limit!  If you want a softer muted quilt, you could go with similar values for all your Colors.

Finally, we'll talk Pattern.

What is pattern?  I think of florals, geometrics, stripes and polka dots.  Solids are also patterns, or rather lack of patterns.

In this quilt, my original vision included all solids.  It's a clean graphic design, and solids work very well for this type of quilt.  I have a hard time sticking with this though, since there are too many patterned fabrics that I am in love with.  So I find that a bit of pattern, even in a graphic quilt like this, softens it and makes it more interesting.  I used a black floral for my black print in this quilt (originally because I didn't have enough solid black, but in the end I like it much better than a solid)

I also made a scrappy version of this quilt which is full of pattern!  In this case, the overall design of the quilt takes second place to the patterns of the fabric.  (I'll talk more about making scrappy versions in another post.)

I hope this has given you a bit of help in choosing fabrics for your Mexico quilt! 


  1. Wow, love this! Photocopying the pattern and coloring it is a great way to experiment with what works!

  2. this is certainly a lovely quilt! thanks for the suggestions. you really have a way with color and print!