People Colors fabric bundles are back in stock!


Fish Quilt Step 3 – Use Fabric Print Wisely

ing Fabric Print Wisely - applique fish showing using a striped fabric for the fins and tail

Want to learn how to make a quilt with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make a quilt from start to finish using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.

It’s the easiest, most fun way to make an applique quilt. You can do it!

The Fish Quilt pattern is finished!

In this post I showed how I quilted my background blocks.

In this post I talked about choosing fabric – especially the color.

Today I’m talking about using the print wisely on the fabric I chose.

I’m using examples from the Fish quilt pattern – but this applies to choosing and using your fabric print for any quilt. Here’s just one example of a block from the Wild Flowers quilt pattern that uses stripes really well.

red and white applique tulip - showing how to make the fabric print (stripes) do extra duty for you

So – back to the fish. In addition to the crosshatch and tiny polkadots prints I used from the Rainbow Brights fabric bundle, I also used the Little Stripes fabric bundle. It’s those stripes I want to focus on today.

When you’re working with stripes, you really want to pay attention to the way you position the applique pieces. I actually do that with all kinds of fabrics. See how the crosshatching on Gerald’s body runs at an angle, and on the spot and his tail it runs straight up and down?

Yellow fish on a blue background - Fish Quilt - Gerald - from Shiny Happy World

I actually did that on purpose, but most people don’t even notice it.

That’s not the case with bolder patterns like these stripes. You really have to think about how those stripes will run.

On Hank here I made the stripes run horizontally.

Striped yellow fish on a blue background - one block from the Fish applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

On Charlie I chose vertically.

Striped green fish on a blue background - one block from the Fish applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

You could use striped fabric on some fish and skip the smaller applique stripes, Like Louis here.

Striped turquoise fish on a blue background - one block from the Fish applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

If you wanted to simplify that fish, just skip the purple applique stripes and use a striped fabric set vertically for his body. Easy peasy!

On Angelina I used the stripes to mimic the way a lot of fins have ribs in them, and how the angle of the ribs change – kind of sweeping back as the fish moves through the water.

pretty pink fish on a blue background - one block from the Fish applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World - showing how to use fabric print effectively

In both of her fins, the stripes are parallel with the front edge of the fin.

I fully admit that that last example may be overthinking things a bit. 🙂

But I do stand by the notion that when your fabric print is bold, you need to put some thought into how you use it in your applique.

Have fun with your fish! And play with pattern! I can’t wait to see what kinds of prints you use for your fish. I hope you’ll posts photos as you go in the Shiny Happy People Facebook group.

You can order the Fish Quilt pattern here.

You can read about how I quilted my background blocks here.

You can read about how I chose my fish colors here.

You can read about how I did my final quilting (bubbles!) here.

Happy stitching!

Try one of our newest quilt patterns! Get the Liz Llama pattern here. Or join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club to get a new block every month. 🙂


  1. Noel Quentin SAYS...

    Thank you so much for the explanation and examples of the effects of color and prints on the overall visual success of the images!
    I just finished the flowers quilt and used lots of bold batiks and small geometrics, and I realized that even with flower petals, those tricks matter!