How to Build a Proper Stash, Part 2

Hello quilty friends!

This week, I am going to talk about my favorite category, PRINTS!! Prints are the star of the show…the scene stealer…the main attraction. 

You don’t even know how hard it was for me to resist making prints the part 1 of this blog series, but I didn’t for one very important reason—this is about stash building—not bundle curating.

What’s the difference?  I’ll answer that with a question of my own. How many of you have bins full of fabrics you love and when it comes time to make a quilt—nothing coordinates?  My guess is you fell prey to the same thing I did when I was first buying fabrics—you bought prints you loved and are not buying the solids and other “supporting players” you need to keep on hand so you can use that stash. 

It’s easy to do.  It’s easy to know if you love a print when you see it.  Whether you love florals (like me) or saw the cutest bumble bee fabric ever—prints are seductive.  The hardest part is holding back that impulse and really focusing on the “basic” and sometimes harder-to-coordinate solids.  That’s why solids were part 1.  Part of having a successful, useful stash is laying the groundwork—having solids in colors you enjoy using so that when you bring home that Mr. Bumble Bee print…ta-da!!  You can make a quilt using your stash!  You can coordinate a successful fabric pull for a simple quilt with a nice blend of solids or a nice print and some solids. See?  Already halfway there! 

I won’t be giving advice today on how to know which prints to buy.  Chances are, you already know what you lean towards.  But when it comes to prints I have some handy tips for keeping that stash user friendly.

My number one rule is pay attention to scale.  Scale is the size of the print.  A well rounded stash has varying scale.  I personally love a big, bold print—like the navy and purple floral shown near the middle of the picture above.  😍 (That print is Full Bloom by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics). 

But the problem is that larger prints can’t be friends with every quilt pattern.  If your pattern uses small pieces, your print may get cut off or you may end up with pieces where the print doesn’t show at all.  This is a mistake I made a few times before I learned that I had to curb my passion for big prints 😄

Try to keep scale in mind when you purchase prints and buy varying sizes.  This alone will save you headaches down the road.  Whether you love mini prints or large prints, make sure you are mixing up those sizes! Take it from someone who knows 😁

On my website, every fabric swatch is shown as an 8.5" square swatch.  This keeps the scale consistent.  However, if you ever have any questions about scale, you can always feel free to ask me.  I'm always happy to help. 

Another good rule is to try to vary your prints.  It can be easy to keep buying the same style of print over and over—but let yourself out of your box once in a while.  Pairing your classic floral with a geometric print can be unexpected and beautiful.  It's important to know your style, but it's equally important to be a little unpredictable now and then.  It keeps things fresh and exciting.

In the picture above, these prints are all in a similar color way, but a fruit print, some florals, and some geometric prints can look beautifully coordinated. Also, notice the variation in scale?  That’s what makes this part of a winning stash 😁

Another tip I have for you is to pay attention to the designers of your favorite prints.  Knowing who your favorite designers are can really take the guesswork out of what to buy. I personally am a big fan of Sharon Holland and Bonnie Christine.  So whenever they release a new collection, I’m more likely to buy a bundle of it since I know it will coordinate with what I already have on hand.  Designers are the true experts of color and will often create their collections in colors that will coordinate with prior collections.  The bottom line is to learn about what you love so you aren’t overwhelmed once you are in the store or shopping online.

Lastly, prints are also a great way to help find your solids if this is something you are still having trouble doing.  When you buy a print, consider buying two sets of solids to pull out the different colors in it.  (You can see Part 1 of this blog series for an example of that). 

You will probably only use one set at a time, but now you have an extra option for another quilt and you can reuse that print fabric and it will still look totally different. This is key to stash building and how you can start to get a coordinated stash growing.

As your print collection grows, take time to revisit them and see if any prints coordinate color wise and try to store them together.  Scrappy quilts are glorious and look best when they are a patchwork of prints❤️

Next week, we will be kicking it up a notch to talk about my other favorites—blenders!  Blenders are the secret weapon to a professional quilting stash.  So keep an eye open for that post next week and I promise to have some beautiful blender mini bundles listed on Monday for the Monday Mini Special 🙌

Follow me on Instagram for all the latest bundles and news and let me know what your favorite prints are!  I’m all ears and would love to know more about you and your signature style!  You can find me @midlife_quilter.  If you haven’t already, subscribe to my newsletter to save 10% off your first order of $35 or more 👍 

Happy quilting!






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