Finding Colour Confidence with Kristina Green of Fabric Bubb

Finding Colour Confidence | Kristina of Fabric Bubb & choosing colours online

We’re six weeks in and things are getting a little less theory and a little more practical!  {Or, in keeping with the travel theme, this is the part where we discuss the best way to get your super heavy luggage off that moving carousel while maintaining your dignity.  Haha!}  In my opinion, there are times where you could be the most colour confident person in the whole world but still stuff it up majorly {technically speaking} when buying fabric online because of the difference between ‘real life’ and what you see on the screen in front of you. 

And, if you’re like me, you’ve probably had at least one experience buying fabric online or something else at least, only to have it turn up and not be what you expected.  A big one for me was a rug for our living room.   I loved it when I saw it online.  Yep, that’s the one, I said to myself.  And {WHAT} a bargain!  Only $400 for one that big!  It was navy blue and cream with contrasting flecks of a gold-mustard colour, and a bit of teal here and there.

Or so I thought.

It arrived and I excitedly tore off the wrapping to very disappointingly find a cream and TEAL rug.  Not navy blue at all.  Lots and lots {and lots} of teal.  I still have that much hated rug.  It taunts me every day.  And since then I’ve been very scared about buying online because I can’t afford to spend money on things I hate when they arrive on my doorstep.  

Now let me introduce the person who is going to help us both with buying fabric online!  Her name is Kristina Green and she owns an online fabric store called Fabric Bubb.  Kristina is, without a doubt, a native of the land of Colour Confidence.   Her Instagram feed is proof of this.  The way she puts together fabric bundles for her store makes me want to {buy. it. all!}.

Finding Colour Confidence with Katrina Green of Fabric Bubb
The lovely Kristina!

As an owner of an online store, and a confident colour user, I knew that Kristina would be the {perfect} person to give us some tips on buying fabric online and choosing colours with confidence!  Over to you, Kristina!

Interview with Kristina Green of Fabric Bubb

What inspired you to start Fabric Bubb? 

Interestingly, I never intended to own a fabric store, that was never ‘the dream’, it just happened. Like many of us after I found out I was pregnant I did not like the fabric options available, particularly for boys, in the stores, so I taught myself to sew and started making my own things. Which lead to me manufacturing baby goods for others and in order to provide more fabric options I started buying wholesale and selling fabric on the side to my other business. But buying fabric is addicting (as we all know) and the response to our fabric shop was beyond what we expected so it grew and grew. Eventually I had to give up the manufacturing business and began focusing on fabric full time. We launched our own website and the rest is history.

Do you have a favourite colour? 

Ummm this is tough. It changes. Probably depending on my mood and what it is for. Usually I tell people purple. But I don’t mean purple. I mean plum. A good dark plum color (like Kona in Berry). There is no love for lavender or a royal purple over here when I say purple. Definitely plum. I tend to be drawn towards bold, jewel-toned colors. But you won’t find any in my house. I use/select/am drawn towards certain colors depending on their purpose as I think all colors are lovely and each has their place. Even *gasp* brown. I love them all. And white, the absence of color has its uses too. I love how colors change with other colors, how it can affect your mood and how it can remind you of places or people.

Finding Colour Confidence with Katrina Green of Fabric Bubb
Image credit: Fabric Bubb

You describe Fabric Bubb as “thoughtfully curated”.  Can you explain what this means in regards to the colours and prints you choose for your store?

Sure, everything I sell in my store is selected because I love it and can see myself using it for projects that I want to make.  There are tons of fabrics available and being pushed on fabric shops to sell, and I won’t buy them if I don’t love them.  Just because a certain person makes it or it is asked for, if I don’t love it, I won’t select it for the store. 

My goal is for my store to feel like an extension of my stash; cohesive and true to me.  It’s my selection of what I think is the best to offer and therefore is very thoughtfully put together.  I think that the amount of fabric out there can be overwhelming so I select only my favorites, not what they say ‘will sell well’ or because everyone else is selling it.  Occasionally I’ll get prints that my oldest son loves as he loves to browse the fabrics we choose from, but it doesn’t happen often 🙂

What things do you consider when choosing colours and prints for a bundle of fabric?

This is actually tough to answer as I don’t use a formula – they just come together naturally for me.  Either I’ll see a bolt stand out and I’ll start playing around with things that could go with it just because I love doing that and if I like it then I’ll share what I come up with.  Other times I’ll see an order I am inspired by and think it would look even better with a few more prints (or change a few here and there).  Or I’ll just want to pull things that are all the same color. 

So I can’t really quantify a formula for how I put them together.  It’s more I start with one, pull out a color and find something that I think goes, and then pick another color and just keep pulling.  Sometimes when trying to create a bundle, the ones that don’t work with it actually go together better, so I’ll start pulling a new bundle from the one I started with.  It almost always starts with one (sometimes two) main prints and then I just keep expanding on it with supportive prints.

What colours do you think should be part of every fabric stash?

It depends on the person and what they are drawn to and use the most. If you don’t like blue and don’t find yourself using blue, then don’t get blue. If you love white and black then get a lot of white and black, etc.  I find it helpful to always have a little of every color and then more of what you love most. 

I have some of every color and in different values.  For example, with peach I have solid peach, peach with some white and white with a little peach.  That way when I need peach I have different options all using peach.  I think that it’s more important to have a lot of smaller geometric and low volume prints as you can use them easily to support main prints or novelty prints.  I find myself constantly using ‘basics’, like stripes, polka dots, tiny hearts, flecks of something, lines, etc – ‘low key’ prints that aren’t loud and have a small/minimal scale.  They can so easily be used with louder prints to calm them down and I find basics to be invaluable – probably why my shop has a lot of them.

Do you have any tips for people who want to develop their sense and understanding of colour?

I would recommend coloring. There are tons of adult coloring books out there {Wife-made edit: Check out Rad & Happy!}, so get one that has patterns/shapes that speak to you and just color them.  Soon you’ll get a really good feeling of what colors look good together or how changing a color here or there can change the whole picture.  You can also photocopy a page and color it with different colors each time to see how that changes things.  There are classes and books about colour too, but I think coloring is the best way to go to develop your own sense of it.  Plus its easy to do with or around kids because they’ll just want to color with you.

Buying fabric online can be daunting because of the difference in the colours that we see on our screen and what they are in real life.  Do you have any tips for how to successfully curate a bundle of fabrics when purchasing from an online store?

Yes, I completely agree, it can be hard to buy online and with different dye lots happening it can be problematic if you need more of something.  But I think it is also hard to buy in the store cause you have to leave your house (haha!) {I like your thinking Kristina!!!} and the lighting can play tricks on you – so you might choose something based on what you see in the store and then you get outside or to your house and it doesn’t match.  I would definitely suggest looking at all the pictures provided by the store.  But it does get easier once you get more comfortable with it and manufacturers/designers start to become predictable as to what to expect when you order their fabric.

Kristina’s tips for buying fabric online

These are tricks that I used prior to owning a shop (and still use for when I am buying fabric online).  It really depends on what/how you are buying, but it kinda falls into two camps for me:

A. You just love a print…

Then the manufacturer’s picture is a really good representation, because in this case, you’re buying the print, not necessarily the colors.  If I like the print, I like the print, and if the peach is a tad different to the manufacturer’s picture it isn’t a huge deal as I just love the pattern.  But with social media and blogs, with a little research you can usually find a good picture of the print prior to purchasing if the online shop doesn’t have one.  And most of the manufacturer pictures are really close to what you get in real life.

B. You’re buying prints to match each other or to create a bundle…

In this case, if matching is THE important thing, then there are some tricks that I use when buying fabric online:

  • Buy coordinating prints from the same collection as they are designed to match.
  • Buy from the same manufacturer as the colors you’re trying to match tend to be made in the same way and will more likely match than not.
  • If crossing manufacturers, I would suggest not trying to match colors unless you want a gradient of that color, then they purposefully don’t match but create the shade that you’re after.
  • Buy a pre-made bundle that the shop has curated as they match each other or at least go together.
  • Email and ask the shop owner if the selections go together.

I think one of the hardest things is matching solids to prints to have an exact match. And for that, I’d suggest getting a solids swatch card.  First, buy the main fabric, then use your swatch card to select the coordinating solids.

And I am always willing to help people match, so feel free to email me and ask!

Thank you Kristina!  So many helpful tips to use when buying fabric online next!  {And let’s be honest, it won’t be too far away ;)}

But before we head off again after this Fabric Bubb lay over, I asked Kristina if she would also share her tips on curating a bundle of mixed prints and colours, because getting confident with colour in the quilting world also means getting confident with working with lots of colourful prints! 

As I mentioned in this earlier post, Anna Maria Horner discusses this in her Creating Colour Palettes CreativeBug class, but it’s always good to hear different perspectives, so here are Kristina’s tips!

Finding Colour Confidence with Wife-made

Kristina’s tips for curating a bundle of mixed prints and colours

  • When selecting your main prints remember that mixing a number of strong prints together can be difficult as they compete for attention.  For example, if you have a floral and a geometric pattern together, do they compete for attention?  If so, which one wins?  If you want the floral to be the focus but it is overwhelmed by the geometric, reconsider the geometric print.
  • If you have multiple strong prints, be sure to mix in some minimal and low volume prints to balance it out.
  • From your main prints choose a couple of colours that you would like to feature, then select a range of solids and low value fabrics in these colours.
  • Another alternative is to choose one or two colours from the main prints that you would like to feature and then select a gradient palette in those colours {like we discussed in this post with Meghan of Then Came June!}.
  • Make sure you have a balance of small, medium and large prints in your selection.
  • Trust your eye and go with your gut!  Does the selection look pleasing to the eye?  What is your gut telling you about the selections?  Do any stand out too much?
  • When in doubt, get the colouring in out!

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