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See Color Combinations in a New Light

Combining aesthetically pleasing fabric colors and prints for a quilted or color-blocked garment takes a special eye. I’ve discovered that a child’s kaleidoscope is a great tool to use for choosing harmonious colors and establishing a pleasing palette. Here’s how:

Buy a kaleidoscope without any color chips, as you’ll want the fabrics to be the only images reflected and fragmented in the mirrors. You can find a kaleidoscope in a toy store. They’re often stocked in the children’s party favor section.

I usually arrange three or four different fabrics so they touch or overlap. More than four confuses my ability to really see the collection.

I view the fabrics through the kaleidoscope by moving it slowly across my selections until the mirrors reflect all of the fabrics. Then I rotate the scope and observe the color combinations through the eyehole.

Through the kaleidoscope, I discern the dominant color(s), evaluate the contrast, and choose the ratio of one color to another. By adding and subtracting fabrics, I ultimately find a balance between contrast, tone, color, and pattern, and achieve a handsome combination that suits me.

—Carolyn Rehbaum, Altamonte Springs, Florida

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  1. User avater
    [email protected] | | #1

    This is a great tip, thank you! I sometimes have trouble with colors that seem to look great together, so this should really help.

  2. osewviolet | | #2

    What an interesting idea. I have one of those plain mirror kaleidoscopes left over from my children's childhood. I just kept it for novelty's sake, but I intend to put it to use now. I want to experiment with color blocking as a way to use up scrap fabric. This tip will be a great help.

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