Tone on Tone Fabric

Tone-on-tone fabric is a two colored patterned fabric . From a distance it reads as a solid. Up close it adds ‘interest’ to a quilt. Jinny Beyer has one of the largest collections of tone-on-tone fabric.

Tone-on-tone fabric is great to use to add interest and texture to your quilt.  The three fabrics on the right are considered tone-on-tone.

Learn what tone-on-tone fabric looks like.

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Tone on Tone Fabric
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TRANSCRIPT: Tone-on-Tone Fabric

Tone on tone refers to the fabric’s color scheme which usually is made up of one color family but different tints, shades, or tones have been used so that from a distance, these shades, tints, or tones, blend together and the fabric looks like a solid. So you can see in the fabrics pictured here that there’s either two colors, or in this case there’s about three, I think this one also  has about three different shades or tones of, in this case pink or yellow and from a distance these would all blend together and you would see yellow or you would just see this pinkish color rather than the print. So I’m also going to add to the definition of tone on tone that usually it’s a small scale print, and I’ll show you what I mean by that.

So here’s this brown fabric and you can see that it definitely has different shades or tones of brown in this fabric, but the print is rather large and the contrast between these browns is quite high. And so from a distance this probably would not read as a solid, you would still see that print. So I’m going to put up another fabric here and it’s navy blue with little white dots and the print is very small. And, once again, white is not necessarily a shade or tint or a tone of blue but from a distance if you look at this fabric it would look like a navy blue fabric. So I think you could probably get away with calling this a tone on tone but let me find another one. This one is also navy and white, relatively small print; but you’ll notice the way the print is situated from a distance this is not going to look like a tone on tone print.

So quilters like to use these tone on tone prints because the add interest and texture to a quilt. This is not to say that instead of using a solid, you must use a tone on tone fabric; there’s really no right or wrong way, this is more your personal preference. So if you can’t find a solid color that looks right, you might want to try one of these tone on tones.


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