How to Mix Large Scale Prints (without it looking like a hot mess!)

How to Mix Large Scale Prints (without it looking like a hot mess!)

Let's talk PATTERN!!!

We all have those fabrics in our stash. The show stoppers. Those prints that practically jumped off the shelves at the fabric store and into your cart!

They are large in scale, bold, and so pretty, you're a little nervous to cut into them!

What if if doesn't look good cut into tiny pieces?

What if it looks too wild paired with other prints? 

Now, in a previous post, I shared how you can use small, medium, and large-scale prints in your palettes to create a really balanced look.

Today, I want to share how you can include multiple large-scale prints in the same quilt to achieve a really interesting, patterned look!

Let's dive in!

Now, when we're playing with large-scale prints (like the 3 large scale prints shown in this photo), we want to strike a balance between a fun, patterned look, and a hot mess where the fabrics are all so attention-grabbing that they compete with one another. 

And your perfect balance will likely look different than mine or your other quilty friends. Some of us want A LOT of visual interest with pattern on pattern on pattern, while others prefer subtlety and like using pattern in small doses. Neither is right or wrong, it's all a matter of preference. 

For those of you who enjoy a more patterned look, but want to make sure the patterns aren't competing with one another, take a look at this palette I pulled together.


1. Start with a "Show-Stopper"

I started with the fabric on the left: big, beautiful, and colorful! Make sure it's a fabric that really lights you up.


2. Grab another "Show-Stopper" (or 2) with common colors

Then I found another large-scale print (the second one with what look like green beads) that had colors in common with the first. Now these are both large-scale, and thus attention-grabbing, but since they have colors in common, for me, it isn't too much.

Next I found that third large-scale print (the one in the middle), and again, chose one that had colors in common with the others, and added it to the mix. 

Notice that those 3 prints, while all being large-scale and "flow-y", they still are very different-looking prints. So there is enough contrast between them that the patterns won't start to run together, in my opinion. 


3. Fill in with Supporting Actors 

Now, to fill out this palette, I added in some small-scale, "blender" prints and a solid. This is the BEST way to help those show-stoppers to really stand out. Think of these as supporting actors, they help the others to really shine. 

Very often quilters will get stuck because they've chosen a few "show-stoppers", but feel like their pattern is missing something or too busy. The answer is fill out that palette with Supporting Actors: solids, textured solids, blenders, small-scale prints.


There you have it! Create a fun, patterned look without the patterns competing with one another. 

If you'd like to dive into color deeply, we have a full Color Curriculum in Meander that is GOOD. We'd love to have you join our creative community, click here to learn more!

Now, we'd love to hear from you: do you have some of those "show-stoppers" laying around that you haven't known how to use? Do you lean more to the wild/patterned side of the spectrum or the subtle/minimalist side? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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I tend to use large scale prints in my quilting and then they look lonely. Don’t always have the right blender to get the look I want and support the large scale print. I really don’t like cutting my large scale prints in small pieces. Any suggestions? I have not used your fused collage yet but will over the summer. Sandy

Sandy Holland

This is gorgeous but what pattern would you make with it? How do you showcase the big prints – not cutting them too small? How do you blend it all together in a project?


Would love a pic of how you put them together . A visual helps me .

Rea Wilson

I love picking out these kinds of fabrics. But then, hiwxdo I put them all in a quilt? Or are these just for a scrappy design?
Thanks for sharing. I love your work but don’t have time right now to take your course.


Great article on how to use large print fabrics! I have made all kinds or purchases and then found it difficult to figure out how to use them. This gives me a method to select and use these prints. Awesome!!!

Lillylith Green

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