The fabric value is the relationship of one fabric color to another with respect to lightness and darkness.
Fabric value is often overlooked when choosing fabric. Most of us go to the fabric store thinking about color rather than value. Quilters need to include a mix of fabrics of different values (lights, mediums, and darks) in order to define the pattern of the block.
In the top photo, different values have been used in the same pattern producing two different looking blocks. In the photo below, the contrast between values is greatest in the block on the left. The greater the contrast between the values, the more the pattern will stand out. The block on the right has less contrast between the values. Its pattern is more subdued.
Learn how fabric value is relative to the fabric that it is placed next to in the quilt.
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TRANSCRIPT: Fabric Value
Value refers to how light or dark a fabric is in relationship to the fabric that you’re comparing it to. So what does this mean? When I’m looking at these two fabrics, the red is definitely darker than this beige, but if I were to take this red out and add this beige, then this would be the light and this would be the dark, when I’m comparing these two fabrics. So it’s important to realize that, when you’re looking for fabric for your quilt, you need not to just look for color but you also need to look for fabrics of different values.
So let’s look at these two quilt blocks here. In both quilt blocks I’ve used red, gold, and beige, but you can see they look a little bit different. In this block the difference in value between this beige and this gold is much greater than the difference in value between these two. These two fabrics are pretty close in value and you notice that those parts sort of fade into the background, where in this block they are more crisp and they stand out. So neither one of these is correct, it’s just something that you need to look for and realize that value is going to make your block look a little bit different. So let me show you another block here. In this block, instead of using a light fabric in the four corners, I’ve used a dark fabric, which gives another whole appearance to the block. So value is very important when working on different patch work.