Low-Volume Fabric

Posted on February 21, 2019 by prairiemoonquilts in Inspiration

I’ve been asked several times what I mean when I say “low-volume fabric”, so today I thought I’d address that, especially since I just recently mentioned that I want to reorganize my fabric stash to include a low-volume bin.

Low-volume fabric is basically just fabric that has low color value. They are usually prints, and the backgrounds of these prints are generally white, cream, or gray, although if light enough, other colors could qualify. The designs in the prints on these backgrounds are usually fairly understated, so that these prints can be used to create light areas in a quilt where you don’t want to use a solid light color — it really does add a lot of interest.

Here is an example of some of the low-volume fabrics in my own stash (the ones on the right are all from Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s new line of neutrals with RJR Fabrics):

And here are a few blocks I’ve made using low-volume fabrics as backgrounds. These blocks are from my Summertime Sampler BOM. You can purchase the pattern booklet through Sew Sweet Quilt Shop.

I just showed you this block yesterday, and I’ve used low-volume fabrics for the tiny strips between the prints.

I’m using low-volume prints as the backgrounds for my Tile Quilt blocks:

And I used them to make this scrappy version of my Happily Ever After quilt (see more of it HERE):

I also used all low-volume prints to create the light area of my Log Cabin Challenge quilt (you can see the entire quilt and more pictures HERE):

Low-volume fabrics are not restricted to quilts that look modern. Here’s an example of how I’ve used them in a reproduction-fabric quilt as the background (this is my Mayflowers pattern):

Allison Harris over at Cluck Cluck Sew has a great article explaining more about low-volume fabric, so go check it out for more information and more examples of low-volume fabrics, including some shopping tips!

I hope this helps clear it up a bit. While “low-volume” is a relatively new way of describing such fabrics, low-volume fabrics are nowhere near new, and I have several vintage quilts that use low-volume fabrics in them as well. Back then they just called them “light fabric” — teehee!

If you haven’t jumped in and tried any low-volume prints in your quilts yet, I encourage you to give them a try sometime. They really can add more interest to your quilts!

7 responses to “Low-Volume Fabric”

  1. Judy S. says:

    I love the look these fabrics give.

  2. Tia says:

    I really love your Log Cabin Challenge Quilt! Thanks for the info on low-volume fabric. 🙂

  3. Shirley Guier says:

    Great explanation!

  4. Wendy says:

    So many gorgeous quilts! Love low volume prints; they are fun to work with.

  5. Suelynn Williams says:

    Thanks for showing examples – your explanations was great!

  6. Randy Menninghaus says:

    I have been collecting with low volume in mind. I really like contrast in most of my quilts. I was surprised recently with some day of the dead fabric that I have had for AGES and how it works and reads as low volume in the right setting. SURPRISE…

  7. Marlene Clausen says:

    These are what I call “chasing the rainbow” fabrics. I am always looking for good sales on them. Just bought a bolt by Windham Fabrics for $2.99/yd (I buy wholesale). Honestly, I never have enough!!

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