What is Low Volume Quilting?

Dear Sewfie,

What is “Low Volume” quilting? Apparently, its a “thing”. I’ve been hearing a lot about it, but I don’t get it.

– Volume What?

Dear Volume Impaired,
Contrary to what the name would imply, Low Volume quilting is not a bunch of lazy quilters that only make one quilt every five years. It’s actually a term referring to what types of colors and prints are used in the fabric selection.

Some describe Low Volume fabrics as low contrast, using a lot of white, light grey and pastels while avoiding bright or saturated colors.

A nice example of a Low Volume quilt

This isn’t a totally accurate description because although Low Volume fabrics are pale fabrics, with mostly white, cream or pastel backgrounds, they often have accents of brighter or darker colors thrown in for interest. These fabrics can vary from the lightest tone-on-tone fabrics, to text fabrics printed on a light background, to light floral fabrics.

Tips for working with Low Volume fabrics

  • Variety – When choosing Low Volume fabrics, be sure to gather a variety of different types of prints: soft polka dots, light floral prints, tone-on-tone fabrics, soft text prints, and geometrics are all good choices. Even a bold pattern like a chevron can work as a Low Volume fabric if the colors are light enough.
Tone-on-tone and even chevrons can be considered low volume
  • Scarcity – Try using Low Volume backgrounds in just a few blocks from a quilt or sampler. Using just a touch of these fabrics will make the quilt a bit more modern with a touch of whimsy.
  • Fun Prints – Look for fun Low Volume prints such as line drawings of flowers, trees, branches or bikes, or even cartoonish animal prints and text prints.
  • Practice – Try using Low Volume fabrics in a smaller project such as a pillow, table runner, or wall hanging before moving on to working with these fabrics in a larger quilt project.

    Any easy way to get started with low volume quilting could be a sampler pillow made up of 2 1/4″ “mini’s”
Warm Stitches,


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