Why Low-Volume Prints Are Perfect for Pattern Lovers


Solid quilting fabrics aren't everyone's jam. But some designs really do need a neutral, non-distracting fabric to make the piecing or quilting shine. What's a pattern-lover to do?

The simple solution: low-volume fabrics. These prints act a lot like simple neutrals in an overall palette, but they bring a little extra flair, thanks to a subtle secondary design.

These low-key beauties work great as the background for a quilt, or anywhere else you'd usually use a solid color. But there's no need to keep them confined to the background — it can be just as fun to put your low-volume stash in the spotlight!

Finding low-volume fabrics

Look for hidden gems in your favorite collections

Lots of quilt fabric collections (think: fat quarter bundles) include colorful prints and coordinating low-volume fabrics. Plus, you can always mix and match low-volume prints from different collections.

Pick a low-volume bundle

With low-volume fabrics back in vogue, more and more fabric companies are offering special bundles featuring only low-volume prints.

Save your scraps!

Every quilter knows that little bits of light fabric can go a long way. Whenever you work with these fabrics, save your scraps in one bin dedicated to low-volumes. If you cut them into useful sizes (say, 2½" strips or 5" squares) before you store them, you'll be ahead of the game when you reach for them later.

Don't leave the solids out

Even though solids don't technically qualify as "low volume," you can easily mix them into a project that uses lots of low-volume fabrics. Just make sure you have more prints than solids to keep the stark single-color fabrics from taking over.

Put them to use!

Let the scraps do the talking

Making something scrappy? A smorgasbord of low-volume fabrics will add an eclectic touch to your piecing.

Use them for smaller units

Swap in low-volume prints instead of solids for half-square triangles, four-patch and nine-patch blocks. You'll get a whole new kind of texture and dimension!

Get creative!

If you have a few larger pieces of low-volume fabric, put them together to piece a unique quilt back. If you only have teeny strips, you can create a scrappy low-volume binding. Wondering what to do with wonky shapes? Hello, appliqué backgrounds!

Start a free trial for unlimited access to every project, pattern, recipe and tutorial on Bluprint.
Overhead shot of scissors, pins, rotary cutter, thread, thimbles, and two black and white quilt blocks laid out in a grid on a pale pink background
Are you sure to want to remove this?
This one's a classic, but that doesn't make it boring! This beauty has plenty to offer all on its own, or combined with other blocks for a statement-making accent. Best of all, it's totally beginner-friendly: nothing more than squares and half-square triangles here!
Emily Dennis
Stack and Whack
Are you sure to want to remove this?
Besides being really fun to say, the “stack and whack” is a great trick for cutting quilting fabric quickly.
Lauren Lang
hands quilting matisse inspired applique quilt
Are you sure to want to remove this?
Let's be honest, with so many amazing fabric artists all over Instagram, it's impossible to pick favorites. But that doesn't mean you can't try! Here are five very different artists we're loving seeing in our feeds.
Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill
Now Reading
Why Low-Volume Prints Are Perfect for Pattern Lovers