A Grunge by any other name…

Grunge.  I think a fabric this cool deserves a better name.  I know it describes the fabric – that kind of smudged, painterly, drop-cloth kind of look.  But “grunge”?  Grunge.  It’s so much better than that.


Grunge is the creation of Rachel Benchley and it has been part of every Basic Grey collection since her first – Urban Couture –  in 2008.  It became a Moda Basic a few years ago with new colors being added every year.  (Thirty beautiful new colors are on the way to shops this summer.)

If you’re not familiar with Grunge, it’s a unique fabric that is dyed first, then printed on one side to create a unique, textured look.  While the printing is the same for all Grunge fabrics, the final look of them can vary widely depending on the number of colors applied, the subtlety or contrast of those colors, and so on.


As you can probably guess, cutting a fat quarter into 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares will yield a fair amount of variety in the look and color of the squares.  It’s what makes Grunge so unique – and so cool.  It can also be used on the wrong-side as a solid – either on its own because it’s the perfect color or just to add a little variety to a Grunge project.

The reason I’m making sure you know everything there is to know about Grunge is because it is the “fabric of choice” for Carmen Arevalo of Kamola Krafts in Madrid, Spain.  While I’ve not met Carmen, Christine de Viron shared her work with us at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City.


Working without a pattern, Carmen creates amazing three-dimensional looking quilts like this “Stairs in Perspective”.  The fabrics?  Carmen loves using Grunge because the texture of the fabric helps create the illusion of depth in the quilts.


The detail in the quilts is quite spectacular – notice how many of the steps have edging on one or two sides to add to the appearance of depth.  Those fabrics are all Grunge.  The stones and the clothing are the only prints used in the quilt.

So looking at this quilt and the other Grunge quilts we’ve shared – David Bowie and Katy Perry – don’t you agree that such an awesomely versatile fabric should be named something… cooler.  Hipper.  Less “grunge-y”.

Except it is kind of memorable.  And with 729 colors, it’s probably too late to change it now.

It’s also not like I don’t have a track record for coming up with quirky names for things that make no sense to anybody but me.

Note to Self:  If it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it.

Thank you, Carmen.  And thank you Christine and Josh for sharing Carmen’s work.

Happy Friday!


P.S.  There aren’t really 729 colors of Grunge.  I think there are 130 with the addition of the new colors, but with all the variety of the texture and using the other side, I think I could float my “729 color boat” long enough to at least get it out of the dock.  🙂 


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17 thoughts on “A Grunge by any other name…

  1. I fell in love with Grunge fabric the first time I saw it and use it in more of my quilts all the time. It is my go to fabric when I start planning a new project.

  2. I love Grunge – it’s my “go-to” fabric choice instead of solids. Although the name is quirky, I rather like it – it’s a good descriptor of the fabric and a non-traditional name. Thanks for sharing Carmen Arevalo’s work!

  3. I am addicted to grunge, in all its beautiful colors. I am thrilled with the new wide back gruge fabrics.

  4. Grunge is my favorite background fabric…so happy that there will be more colors! And I think I Need one of those swatch books so I always pick the perfect Grunge!

  5. I stock almost all the colors in Grunge collection in my quilt shop. It is surprising that it is usually the fabric needed to compliment other fabrics when choosing for a quilt. They work great for modern quilts when you want the color and design to speak the loudest.

  6. I absolutely adore Grunge… I agree such pretty fabric needs a better name but I would probably still call it grunge. you know old dog… hard to teach new tricks…LOL

  7. I loved Grunge the first time I saw it and I like the painterly look of it. I also think the name is cool and catchy. It’s also been very luck for me! Of the 4 quilts I’ve made with Grunge: one was shown at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, one was in QuiltCon 2015 and International Quilt Fest, one won Best Use of Color and best of all – one won 1st place in the Triangle Challenge at QuiltCon 2016!!

  8. We won’t remember it if it didn’t have such a unique name “grunge” is perfect for the fabric line and I buy it all the time. It works in with everything. Color me grunge – that’s HAPPY!

  9. I loved Grunge paper before there was fabric! It is my favorite!!! The only problem is that I want it in every color!!!!!

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