It’s okay.  I’m used to it – and I really do understand.

Since I spend a good part of my work day surrounded by fabric and thinking about quilts, it stands to reason that you’d think I’m mostly playing.  I have to confess that today was one of those days as I was trying out – it sounds better than “playing” – with a new diversion.  (That sounds better than “toy.”)

At the top of the page, right under Cutting Table, do you see where it says Palette Builder?  .


It’s a link to a really cool widget – a palette builder.  What makes this one so great is that it’s color-coded to Moda Bella Solids – almost 300 of them!  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Color palettes are everywhere – if you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ve seen them by Design-Seeds, Color Palettes and others.


They’re pretty and they’re useful for decorating schemes – and maybe perhaps for finding or jump-starting a color scheme for a quilt.

But what if you want to make a quilt to go with a particular something – a Moda fabric, a piece of vintage or home dec fabric, your kid’s artwork or your grandmother’s hand-painted vase?  That’s where Palette Builder by Play Crafts is genius – and so much fun.  You wanted to be able to find the Bella Solids to go with your fabrics?  Here’s a great starting point.

The first thing to do is take a picture of your fabric – or whatever it is that you’d like to “match”.

Any kind of camera will work – cellphone, tablet, 35mm or point-and-shoots.  But – there’s a caveat.  The better your picture – the more accurate the colors and lighting, the better your results will be.  “Natural light” is best so long as there aren’t any shadows or glare.  And pay attention to what kind of background your fabric has as it can affect the exposure of the camera, thereby altering the accuracy of the color in the image – a light or white background for the fabric or item is usually best.  And no filters!

Upload your image – this is a picture of a fabric from the “coming soon” Aloha Girl collection by Fig Tree Quilts.  And voila!

Aloha Girl - Palette 1

Look closely at the image of the fabric – you should see six small white circles.  Each circle is focusing on a single color – it’s highlighting the color under that  specific point on the fabric.

Now look what happens to the palette when I move those circles…

Aloha Girl - Palette 2

Move the little circles and the colors change – as do the “corresponding” Bella Solids.

What this means is that if you’re trying to “match” colors in your fabric, you’re going to have to use the Palette Builder and a Bella Solids color card to find the best Bella solids for your purpose.

This is how the Bella Solids in the two palettes actually look with the Aloha Girl fabric.  (There are only five fabrics in the palette on the left because the Night Sky blue on the right is in both palettes.)

From the first palette, I like the Cobalt, Light Lime and Peach.  The Flax and Kansas Red… not so much.  In the second palette, I like the Geranium but it’s also a bit bright.  The Chartreuse, Canary, Pink and Snow are all good but I’m not completely sold on the Night Sky – it would depend on my pattern and what I needed this color for.  As for the Snow, it works but with very few exceptions, No. 60 Ivory always works best with Fig Tree fabrics.


Because the colors can vary based on the location of a dot – and the accuracy of the image – this really is a starting point.  It’s a good one but it’s not perfect.  So it’s a terrific tool to help build a color palette of complementary colors, and to help find good coordinating colors for Bella Solids.

Did I mention that the Palette Builder can also match your fabric to colors of Aurifil thread?


There are several things I think important to keep in mind as you start using Palette Builder:

  • While you can take the photos with your cellphone or tablet, moving the little circles works best on a desktop/laptop computer.
  • The palette can be saved to your computer.  Depending on your browser and settings, the file will either download into a default directory – probably Downloads – or open a file browser to let you choose where to save the image.
  • When I saved the palette, it saved it as a PNG. file.  I converted the files to JPEGs in Photoshop because that usually works best for blogging.
  • The saved palette will not show the little white dots – I used a screen-shot/snip to save these images/palettes because I wanted to be able to show you how moving the dots would change the palette.
  • When you save the palette, double-check the image to make sure the entire number is included.  On the image below, the last part of the number for Bella Solids Deep Burgundy had been cropped by Palette Builder.

It’s also fun to play with.

Roses-Palette Builder Snip



For more information about Palette Builder, I recommend visiting the Play Crafts website.  There are patterns, tutorials and other interesting, informative stuff.  You can have fun playing.

Me?  I’m off to take more pictures.

And work.  Right.

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16 thoughts on “Playing…

  1. OMG-have I been waiting for this! I NEVER know what solids work, I really do not have an eye for this. WOOT-WOOT! So much easier than digging around the moda site looking to see if the collection cards lists coordinating solids (most don’t).

  2. This is AWESOME!!!!!!! I sometimes find it a bit overwhelming to be searching and searching with my “swatch” of fabric to find just the “right” shade that I am looking for. To me, it is the least favorite thing in the quilting/decorating process. This tool will be make it soooo much easier in finding that palette to get us started with our projects; eliminating guesswork and make it less “stressful” for those of us that don’t have the knack for finding just the right colors. Thank you!!!!!!!!

  3. This is the most amazing tool ever! I have been pinning Design Seeds lately as quilt inspiration, but this is so much better! Love love love!

  4. Just great, now I have to stop everything and take a picture of everything I own to go and play with a new color matcher! If I move the computer to the kitchen table that means it is officially off limits for eating, so I do see an upside to playing on the computer all day!!

  5. I love this. Recently I just had to match some solids with a fabric collection online. When I got them in the mail some were different than what I thought I was looking at. I wish I had this tool in the beginning.

  6. Great information! I have never thought of using those Design Seeds palettes as a starting place for selecting fabrics for a quilt. Love this idea!

  7. Great tip. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog. It’s fun to hear what’s new, learn a new tip (clean my ruler!) and hear what’s really going on at the warehouse (note to self: time to buy new pins).

    Thanks for all you do, and keep writing!

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