Marvella QAL - Week 1 Part 1

Welcome to the Marvella Quilt-Along!!!

Hi everyone and welcome to the party! I’m so excited to be hosing a quilt-along for this pattern. It’s a really fun one to make, trust me this will be my 6th one!

Hopefully you’ve all already picked up a copy of the pattern. But sometimes life gets in the way, time runs away from you, and things get pushed to the bottom of the to do list. If you haven’t you gotten a copy yet, no shame. Just click here.

Okay so now that we’ve all got the pattern, it’s time to start making decisions. I always feel like the beginning of the quilt-making process is riddled with decisions. What fabric will I use for the top? What’s my background fabric? Do these colors go together? Should I get my binding fabric now or wait? What about the backing? How am I even going to quilt this?

Before you go down the question rabbit hole, take a breath, and let me help you out with some of these questions. Since this is the first week, there’s a lot to cover and it’s just too much for one email. So in this email you’ll find tips for fabric selection and then I’ll send a second email later today that covers tips for cutting.

First things first, you need to decide which size you’re going to make. This quilt-along incorporates all four sizes, so you’re golden no mater what you pick. It’s important to decide on size first because that’s what will determine how many different fabrics you’ll need to select. I’ll be working on a large throw, but I’m adding a sixth row because the bundle I’m using had a few extra fat quarters.

Now that you've picked what size you’re going with, it’s time to start picking out fabrics. This is usually my favorite part of the process, but I know it can be overwhelming for others. So here are some tips to help you.

1. The fabric requirements for the Feature Fabrics are given as fat quarters and half-yard cuts. You only need to follow ONE of these options. But you could also use a combination of fat quarters and half-yards. If you plan to do this remember that each block needs one fat quarter. And one half-yard equals two fat quarters. So for example, the Small Throw is 16 blocks which means you could use any of the following options:

  • 16 fat quarters

  • 8 half-yards

  • 8 fat quarters and 4 half-yards

  • 12 fat quarters and 2 half-yards

  • 4 fat quarters and 6 half-yards

Hopefully you’ve caught on to how that math works. However, if that confused you, just pretend I didn’t explain it and go with either the fat quarter OR the half-yard option.

2. The easiest way to make sure that all your fabrics will work together is to use a designer bundle. This is the method I’m using for my quilt-along version. I’ve been holding onto a Tula Pink Spirit Animal fat quarter bundle for a while and decided it’s time to use it! Because all these fabric are not only by the same designer, but are from the same collection, I know they’ll all work great together! You can find fat quarter bundles for lots of different designers and collections.

There are also online retailers who “curate” bundles that take out all the guesswork of picking your fabrics. Cottoneer, FabricBubb, and Pink Door Fabrics are a few of my favorites! (These are not sponsors of the QAL, just companies I personally enjoy ordering from.)

Remember to check that the number of fat quarters in the bundle matches the size you’ve selected. My bundle had 23 fabrics, so I added one more fat quarter of my favorite print to make it 24. (I know this isn’t one of the sizes listed, but I figured it was easier to add another row of block to the large throw than to try and cut out three of these beautiful prints!)

3. Another easy option is the monochromatic palette. That’s what I did for the very first Marvella I ever made. This options easy because you pick a color, maybe your favorite, and then just get fabrics/prints in varying tones of this color. For this option, I’d select an equal number of light, medium, and dark shades.

4. If you want to incorporate multiple colors, try picking just a few and then using different shades of those colors. That’s what I did for the version above. I picked four colors: pink, orange, blue, and purple and then gathered 4 fat quarters of each color.

5. And then there’s the rouge option of lots of different colors/prints. And that is a great option as well. If you need some inspiration, head to Pinterst and search “Color Palette.” So many great photos will come up and the possibilities are endless. And that’s sorta what I did for the cover version of this quilt.

6. If you follow the cutting diagrams, directional prints WILL work for this pattern. As you would expect, it takes a little extra attention to make sure everything ends up the correct way, but it is possible.

7. MOST IMPORTANTLY: if you’re using fat quarters, make sure that they are true fat quarters, meaning they are at least 18”x21”. The pieces you’ll need to cut fit perfectly into a fat quarter. So if you’re fat quarter is a little short, you may not be able to cut all the pieces out that you need to. In all the versions I’ve made, this has yet to happen to me. But just to be safe, I wanted to make you aware.

8. Once you’ve got your fabrics selected, it’s a good time to use the Quilt By Numbers diagram to help plan out each of the block combinations. Remember that each fat quarter will be Color A in one block, Color B in another, and Color C in a third block. Each half-yard will be Color A in two blocks, Color B in two blocks, and Color C in two blocks.

Look at that, we’ve already addressed three of the big questions you have to answer before you start sewing! You should now know what size you’re making, what fabrics you’re using, and finally what combination you’ll use for each block.

I’ll be sending an email in just a little bit with cutting tips as well as more information about this week’s post “prompt” and prize!

But for now, it’s time to pull out your iron and get your fabric ready to be cut up!