how to mix patterns when decorating - nesting


I don't know about you but after the Christmas decor is put away my living room is always in need of a little freshening up.  We spend so much time in there that I thought a bit of color would help chase the winter blues away and make the room feel more warm and inviting.

And what better way to add color quickly and inexpensively than to add a few new throw pillows.
 But wait, have you priced pillows lately?  There is nothing inexpensive about them, even on sale these beauties from Joann's were nearly $20.00 dollars a piece.

So I decided instead to use these pillows as my inspiration and see what fabric was available to make them up myself.  (Even if you are not a sewer pillows are so easy that anyone who can borrow a sewing machine can put them together in no time.)

I headed over to the decorating fabric section of Joann's and started pulling out bolts of fabric that made me smile, especially at the sale price of $6.99 per yard.

This was my first cut...

I really wasn't thinking about pattern or scale at this point just pretty fabric.

I spread the material out on the counter and started making my design choices...

1. Color - I always start with the fabric with the most color in it and make sure the other fabrics have at least one of those colors as well.  In this case they all did.  Then I decide on a universal background neutral, in this case white, and again, all the fabric met the criteria.

Then I move on to the next design element...

2.  Scale - A good rule of thumb is one large scale, one small scale and one graphic.  As I looked at the fabric I knew I had too many large scale prints so I began eliminating those.  Next I started paring down the all over prints and decided the large scale floral was too much for the pillows I wanted to make and put it to the side.  (I love the fabric though so I may go back and grab for another project down the road.)

These were my final three.  One all over print, one large graphic and one small graphic.

I was hoping to add a bit of blue with a focal print and found this pretty, whimsical bird fabric.  It met all the criteria except a very important one, price.  It was $21.99 a yard on sale for $19.99.  Too expensive for my budget and because it was on sale I couldn't use my 40% off coupon.  I hate when that happens.  (In the end I had something at home that works perfectly so I'm glad I didn't buy it.)

Of course, as I was heading to the cashier after my fabric was cut I ran into to this adorable tea towel on sale and had to add it to the mix.  In the end, these are the fabrics I decided on and I absolutely love them.

I will take pictures and make notes as I sew the pillows together and share a quick tutorial soon.  Let me know if this helped you feel braver about mixing patterns.

Until then here's another look at my inspiration pillows.  I did a pretty good job duplicating the feel, don't you think?

If you're still intimidated by the thought of it, just look to the designers ready made items for ideas, they've already done the hard work for you.

xo, Patty

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  1. The fabrics you picked are so pretty and remind me of spring. I need that since we are in the middle of a snow storm where I am!

  2. I love how cheerful your colors and patterns are. I can't wait to see the finished pillows :)

  3. Patty, Your choice of fabrics is certainly cheery. That make you feel happy. We need that brightness when we are faced with gray days. Blessings to you.,xoxo,Susie

  4. Hello, just found your Blog, and what a cheerful blog it is today, such bright vibrant colours, makes you smile just looking at them. Woo xx

  5. Hello, just found your Blog, and what a cheerful blog it is today, such bright vibrant colours, makes you smile just looking at them. Woo xx

  6. Those are gorgeous! I love the colors!

  7. Very wise to make your own. The price of pillows is ridiculous! I do buy a good many thrifting, but only if I can wash them! Lovely fabrics you chose. My new orange pillow would be right at home there!
    xo Kris

  8. That is the reason I don't have any new throw pillows - they are so expensive! Unfortunately, I can't sew. Not even on a sewing machine (which, of course, I don't even have). So, when I need new pillows, I just either wait for a sale or look for them at thrift stores. I can't wait to see what you whip up - I love the colors and pattern you chose!

  9. Have you ever looked at all of the pillow covers they have at Hobby Lobby? They are all different sizes, and many are only $4.99 to about 11.99. The nice thing is you only have to store the pillow covers (most have zippers or are the envelope closures) so you don't end up w/ a lot of pillows. With a few different pillow forms/ sizes, you can get a variety. They are SO pretty, and after each holiday or season, they go on markdowns!! Yours are so pretty. Love the colors Just thought I would mention the pillow covers!!


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