Text Prints and Low Volume

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about text prints and “low volume” fabrics. These types of fabrics seem to be making a comeback in today’s quilts and are useful in a variety of ways. As I’ve recently started using these fabrics more and more, I’ve realized that my great-great grandmother used a lot of low-volume fabrics in some of her quilts made back in the 1930’s…I guess Grandma knew best!
Pictured below are a few different text prints from the recent Sweetwater collections Sew, Mama, Sew! and Notebook.  I’ve been using the text prints from these collections and others in several of my works in progress. I just love the effect you get when mixing these prints with every other type of fabric. The use of text prints seems to immediately create a “vintagey” and yet very up-to-date feeling in a quilt.

“Low volume” refers to prints that read nearly as solids in a black and white photograph. Bundles of a variety of these types of fabric have recently been appearing for sale in shops. Being able to purchase a collection of these fabrics makes it easy for the quilter to have a variety of different backgrounds from different collections for use in their projects. “Low volume” fabrics don’t have to be just grey-scale or beige either–soft colors combined with creams and white also work well as low volume fabrics. Light ginghams and polka dots on light backgrounds are also good choices when building a low volume fabric bundle.

The fabrics below are from Vintage Modern, Sew, Mama Sew, 2wenty Thr3e, Oink a Doodle Moo, and Sunwashed. Low volume fabrics appear in fabric groups that range from traditional to modern, and by combining these types of prints from a variety of collections a gorgeous arrangement of background fabrics can be collected.

Text prints aren’t just in black and white these days, either. Aneela Hoey’s new Posy collection has beautiful text prints in gorgeous spring shades. Her “chickens and flowers” print works as a wonderful “low volume” fabric, too.

And of course with Zen Chic’s new Comma collection we find bold colors combined with low volume backgrounds and prints.

Summersville by Lucie Summers for Moda also contains a variety of text and low volume fabrics perfect for mixing in with any project. Summersville Spring, a recent release by the same designer, also contains some fabrics in this category.

Whether your quilt fabric choices are bold and bright or soft and subtle, using text prints and low volume fabrics can make quilts “sparkle.” Text and low volume prints work especially well as scrappy backgrounds, applique’ backgrounds, and borders. If you haven’t already experimented with using these fabrics in your quilts, now just might be the time to have fun with text and low volume!

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5 thoughts on “Text Prints and Low Volume

  1. I thought the name of the collection you referred to as ‘Sew, Mama Sew’ was actually named “Mama Said Sew”. (In case anyone was looking to purchase it.)

  2. Cute blog piece, I had no idea that the low volume text prints were used in the 1930’s and are vintage. That is really neat. 🙂

    I have to piggy-back on the above comments. The Sweetwater lines referenced are actually “Mama Said Sew”, “Noteworthy”, and “Sunkissed”. 🙂

  3. Love the text fabrics so much! I had not heard of ‘low volume’ until I read it just now. I will be adding these to my next projects!

    Thanks for the information!

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