Color Theory - Guide To Creating Color Palettes

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

{Hello! Thrilled to have Erin from Sew at Home Mummy back with us today to share more color inspiration tips. Earlier this month she shared Inspiration Board, and showcased a gorgeous color-of-the-year inspired collection of emerald goodness. She's here again today sharing more color palette tools & ideas and why quilters/sewers/designers might want to take hold of these opportunities to explore colors. She inspired me to create this little graphic above with some of her chosen hues...}

Color Palettes
More and more now I’m relying on creating color palettes as a jumping-off point for my sewing projects, especially given the fact I’m starting to use more and more solids – which, for me, is more difficult to pair with one another given that you don’t have a patterned fabric as a starting point or reference.

My favorite online tool for creating a complete color palette is called

The user can upload an image and create a color palette by selecting colors within the photo. You can then save the customized color palette, and download the image to your desktop for further use. This app is a lot of fun to play with – upload any photo and have an amazing inspirational palette in minutes.

Another favorite online color palette tool is from Design Seeds. Adjust an RGB scale and palettes are automatically brought up for you. You can also search by themes such as seasons, plant life, and vintage categories (to name a few).

I played with the RGB scale a bit to generate an emerald search and here’s the palette the site came up with for me:

I thought it would be fun to create and share a collection of fabrics with you based around the color ‘emerald’, and using one of these color palette building tools as inspiration. I chose to go with the ColourLovers palette I created as a starting point, and here’s what I came up with:


Curated Bundle: 

From top left: Notting Hill Tartan (Joel Dewberry); Simply Color Lime Ombre (V and Co.); Flea Market Fancy Medallion (Denyse Schmidt); Kona Daffodil; Mod Prints Maze in Lagoon (Michael Miller); Kona Willow; Oval Elements in Emerald Coast (Pat Bravo); Kona Everglade; Lavinia – Honore in Mint (Michael Miller)

Now – what about a bundle combining both inspirational palettes, in all solids? 

From top left: Kona Willow (Robert Kaufman), Riley Blake Jade (Riley Blake Designs), Kona Daffodil (RK), Kona Coffee (RK), Kona Mulberry (RK), Kona Petunia (RK), Riley Blake Barn Door (RBD), Bella Blush (moda), Kona Woodrose (RK)

As the modern quilting movement gains increasing popularity, and we start working with solids more exclusively, quilters may need to become more cognisant of new trends in color and in how to apply those trends to the composition of their quilts. The nature of working with more solids or solids as a primary fabric within our quilts means we don’t always have that ‘focal’ patterned fabric we used as a ‘jumping off’ point – the fabric we paired all other secondary pieces with. Because of this, as we work with simpler “basics” fabrics such as solids the color pairing and matching will fall more in our own hands rather than in the fabric designer’s of patterned fabrics, as we the quilter take the visionary role from color selection, fabric pairings through to quilt composition.

Using trends such as the Color of the Year in conjunction with color palette tools will no doubt make for some very modern quilting, with almost unlimited possibilities.

Erin Davis

-------> Thank you for welcoming Erin! We'd love to hear your thoughts about these color tools and ideas.