English Country Garden BOM – Choosing Your Fabric

The English Country Garden BOM starts tomorrow! If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about and are curious, it’s a free applique block of the month for those who like the look of applique but want an accessible way to approach it. Read more here and check back tomorrow for the first pattern.

The BOM lends itself well to scraps, which I’m all about this year it seems. The flowers in the series will be a range of colours, blue, yellow, red… so I thought it might be worth putting together a post with possibilities for background fabric choices so the colours really pop in the applique as that’s where the focus is.


The four fabrics in the background are examples of the sort of fabrics you may be considering using in the background piecing. Most of the flowers will be high saturation or high volume fabrics (examples of the scraps are laid over the top) so you want these to still stand out.

Here are my feelings on these picks- for proper colour theory I suggest you check out Jeni’s blog posts.

Backing #1
This fabric has lots of colours going on and a vibrant pattern too. Fabrics like this may interfere with the impact of your applique. If you want to use fabrics with several colours in the print to make up your backgrounds, you maybe would want to consider using just solids for your applique, and use completely different colours- preferably complementary colours- in the background for maximum impact.

Backing #2
Tone on tone or blender fabrics minimise the distraction from the background and also give the eye a bit of a rest, making your quilt more visually appealing- in my opinion! Fabrics such as this red dot allow you to use fabrics that aren’t necessarily plain, but again, if your flower has a lot of yellow in it- for instance- you will want to avoid a yellow blender so choose carefully.

Backing #3 or #4
Even better than just looking at complementary colours is also considering the value too. Black and white are the most extreme examples of this but you could choose to go very dark or very light with your background picks (you could choose very dark orange, or very pastelly pink instead for example). I personally have selected the combination below, I’m using very dark blender fabrics: black, navy and brown. These will ensure that the saturated and more vibrant colours will pop, but a low volume background will work in a similar way too, however bear in mind that the first flower is a daisy, so the focus will be on the white petals. None of the flowers are navy, black or brown so I’m playing it safe!


The idea of this BOM is that it uses such small pieces and it’s not designed to be perfectly coordinated (unless you have a fat eighth bundle you’re dying to use btw, I’m not stopping you at all!) so you could mix up your backgrounds each month. My advice would be to pick the applique fabrics for the block first (like I have above) and them place them on a few potential background fabrics and see what you think.

See you tomorrow!!

P.S. Found my memory card, phew!


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