How To Mix Fabric Patterns

One of my passions is fabrics, and one of my favorite things to do is picking out fabrics for my clients.  I love going through fabric books, and finding just the right combination of fabrics for a project.  If you sometimes have trouble deciding which fabrics go together,  I’m going to share with you my five tips for how to mix fabric patterns.

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5 Tips For Mixing Fabric Patterns from

How To Mix Fabric Patterns

Before I go into the tips for mixing fabric patterns, I just want to say that these are only guidelines that I like to follow.  As they say – rules are made to be broken.

I created a video which shows examples of mixing and matching fabrics.  The 5 tips are also written out below the video.

Tip #1 – Use odd numbers. Just like they say to use odd numbers for grouping plants or accessories, it’s best to use odd numbers when picking out fabrics too.  You want to have at least 3 and no more than 5 in one room.

The first fabric should be a large, bold print that has at least 2 or 3 colors in it.

The second fabric should be a smaller scale than the first fabric.  A geometric, stripe or plaid works well.

The third fabric should be a tone-on-tone fabric that reads as a solid.

Tip #2 – Pick two or three of the colors from the first fabric to accent.  If you have several colors in your large main fabric, then pick just 2 or three to use in the other fabrics.

Tip #3 – Don’t mix formal and informal fabrics.  If you have an informal linen fabric, for instance, don’t mix it with a formal, shiny silk fabric.

Tip #4 – Choose the same tone or intensity in all of the fabrics.  As an example – you wouldn’t want to mix a muted pastel fabric with one that had  vibrant jewel tones.

Tip #5 – Vary the scale of the fabric patterns from large to small.  It looks better if you use large scale fabrics with ones that are smaller in scale.  I would stay away from using all large prints, or all small prints.

I’m joining these parties.

Savvy Southern Style

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  1. Does the large bold selection have to be the fabric that is used the most in a room? I’m planning on sewing drapery, duvet cover and shams so wondering if the large bold pattern has to be used on the drapery or can I just use it for the shams?

    1. No, it doesn’t have to be the fabric used the most in the room. Sometimes a big bold pattern is best on smaller items like shams.

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