The Right Fabric Isn’t Always The Obvious Choice

Lazies, Sometimes it’s hard to know what a fabric will bring to your project until the work is done and all the players are in place. But then it’s too late to make a change. Let’s take a look at another auditioning technique to see how your fabric options might work in your final design.

miranda-tan-fabric miranda-striped-fabric
Floral and tan fabric to the left. Floral with striped fabric to the right.

Our Project: Miranda Day Bag
We are working once again with the Sketchbook line by Yolanda Fundora. Above, I’ve laid out the feature fabric for the body of the bag and I’m auditioning two fabrics for the faux binding/lining combo around the top edge of the bag.

Tan Fabric:
I like the warmth and calm that the tan brings to the black floral. Look how yummy that is. It is supporting and visually easy on the eye, making the black fabric stand out as the feature. The fabrics coordinate nicely. I love these two fabrics together.

Striped Fabric:
I love stripes. Visually dynamic. Emphasizes the red color in the floral pattern. But, I’m not sure who’s in charge here. The stripe is competing for my visual attention rather than supporting the black fabric the way the tan does. Stripe is not as warm as the tan fabric. It’s a bit of a challenge compared to the tan fabric.


Squint and Cover Test
I’ve laid out the two test fabrics along with the floral fabric for the body of the bag and the red/orange fabric for the base of the bag. Stand back, hold out your hand like you are going to stop traffic and visually cover half the image and close one eye.

On The Move
Now move your hand back and forth to see only one fabric combo at a time and see which you like better. Both combinations work. Again the tan is softer and warmer. But now the red seems balanced in strength with the floral, supported by the red/orange fabric.

Stand Back and Squint!
Finally, stand back at least five feet from your computer and squint if you like – look how the tan fabric fades away. You can’t see the paisley print any longer. All you see is tan. It has no individual character other than color. The stripe, however, holds it’s own and somehow transforms into a delicate detail or accent from further away.

Final Choice:
I chose the red striped fabric.

I’ve mocked-up an image showing the tan simply pasted on top of the finished bag. And it’s fine, it works, it’s lovely, it blends and coordinates. Below that is the finished bag using the striped fabric. The red stripe is dynamic and actually blends more that the tan based on pulling in the red/orange fabric at the base of the bag.



I think both combinations are lovely. However, I couldn’t visualize how each fabric might turn out on the bag until I put more of the picture together by laying them out and auditioning them. I could have gone further and put scraps in place for the handles and the flap closure.

Sometimes a little auditioning time is worth it when we see the final result. I walk through all of these techniques regularly as I plan and dream about projects. And time and time again, I let the fabric tell me who wants to come out and play. Apparently, I’m just the help.