Like most quilters, I love shopping for fabric! Vibrant batiks, bold solids, soft blenders—you name it, I’m hooked! There are more prints available today than at any time in history, and in my opinion, there are no ugly fabrics, just ones that haven’t found the right quilt yet. However, there is one category of fabric that I am really drawn to, but I have a very hard time incorporating into my quilts: novelty prints. Seasonal themes, baby prints, text-based designs—they all catch my eye…and over-populate my stash! Here are some ideas for using those novelty prints (instead of just buying them):
Make an “I-Spy” Quilt
This is the king of all novelty-print-stash-busting ideas: make an “I-Spy” quilt for a little one in your life, and when you’re together, use it to learn new words, play a game of “can you find the ___?”, and so on. PJ Anderson’s “Eye Spy” (left) can be found in Sweet ‘n Sassy Templates Diamond Quilts.
Make a Themed Quilt
Your grandson is a football player. Your niece is a trombone player in the marching band. You have been collecting prints with sports and music themes. But what to do with them? Use them all together in a quilt with a simple setting that showcases the recipient’s passion! Quilts for Men by the Editors at Landauer has a lot of great ideas for using novelty prints.
Create a Focus Block
So you have that eye-popping print, but it just isn’t playing nicely with other fabrics in a pieced block like a pinwheel. Or maybe you’d lose the look of the print if you cut it into small units to piece a block. Try fussy-cutting it or using larger pieces of the print to make blocks with a central focus. Dodi Lee Poulsen’s “Orange Table Mat” can be found in Fresh Picked for all seasons.
Make a Small Project
One great way to use up novelty prints is to make a set of coasters, mug rugs, napkins, or placemats. These small projects don’t take much time, they can bust through your stash in a flash, and you can even use them to practice or improve your techniques. You could also use novelty prints to make small sculptural objects like the pears on the left (designed by Dodi Lee Poulsen). Seriously, fabric pears made out of pear fabric…have you ever seen anything more meta? Check out these pears, and lots of other free projects over on our Free Quilting Projects page.
Do you collect novelty prints? How do you use them in your quilts? Tell us about your favorite themes and techniques in the comments below!