How to Add Solids to Your Quilts

Lately, I have been thinking about solids and if I should use more of them in my quilts. So, when RJR fabrics invited me to participate in their What Shade Are You? Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance to explore the option.


Many fabric manufacturers make it so convenient to buy complete collections with their offers of precuts and bundles. I am more than happy to take them up on that offer, especially when stacked up neatly and tied with a bow! But then I feel compelled to use the entire line in one quilt, which can lead to a busy mix of prints. A great way to calm the chaos is to add solid fabrics.


How do you  know which ones to add? Using this bundle of fabrics, I wanted to keep the solids “calm” so that the blues, aquas, cream and greens would be the focus and the red and yellow would serve as the pops of color. The Cotton Supreme solids from RJR Fabrics are wonderful, with a high quality weave and a lovely, soft feel. With over 175 colors to choose from, I was sure that I would be able to find what I was looking for.

I used the stripe as my starting point because it has a good mix of the colors and I knew that I would use it for the binding, When adding solids, they don’t have to match exactly, going a bit lighter or darker adds more interest, but do keep them in the same tone (the amount of gray in the colors). If I had thrown red and/or yellow into the mix, it would have defeated the purpose of adding the solids in the first place, which was to calm things down.

The cream and gray are neutrals, and adding neutrals is always a good idea. There are a lot of colors in the prints so I chose six blues/greens and two neutrals for a good representation of them. Sometimes, you just have to play and edit to get this right. It is ideal to keep the proportions of solids and prints in check – the solids should complement the prints, not overpower them.

Here they are all together:



And here is the resulting quilt top:

bright summery handmade quilt top with stars the sewing chick


The question of how much solid fabric to add is kind of a matter of personal preference and the look you are wanting to achieve. I like when things work out in even numbers, so with 30 blocks to make, I decided on a 2:1 ratio of prints to solids for the background squares – 20 print backgrounds and 10 solid ones. I used this same ratio for the center blocks and the star points. Having three different elements to each block also meant that I would be assured of having one solid fabric in every block (because the solids are 1/3 of the fabrics).



When it came time to lay the blocks out, I did my best to keep like colors, prints and backgrounds separate from each other, but it proved to be impossible! I would move one which then meant I had to move another one and then another! So in the end, I have some solid backgrounds next to each other and some prints diagonal from each other, but I had to stop moving them around at some point or I’d go mad!!



I used a great tutorial for the star blocks from Alison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew. I trimmed by blocks to 10 1/2″ which made for easy assembly of the rows and final quilt top. The overall size is 50″ x 60″, a perfect sofa snuggle quilt or a generous kids quilt.

I would love for you to add some solid fabrics to your next project, and RJR has graciously offered a fat quarter bundle of the colors I used to give away to one of my readers.


The color numbers included are: 090, 264, 242, 294, 169, 342, 228 and 155.

To win , you can enter up to three times by:

1. Leave me a comment on this post, maybe say what you would use the fabrics for.

2. Like RJR Fabrics on Facebook and leave me a second comment telling me you did.

3. Follow RJR Fabrics on Instagram and leave me an additional comment telling me you did.

::: U.S. and Canada entries only please and no P.O. boxes :::

I will leave entries open until Monday, March 16th and then choose a winner with Mr. Random.  Good luck!!

Thanks for visiting and Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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