Make Selecting Fabric Easier

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Here’s the situation: You have a sewing project in mind and it’s going to be a gift for someone.

Maybe you’re going to make drink coasters (also called mug rugs) or pajama bottoms.

Could be the gift will be a lanyard or a pillowcase.

Regardless of the project, there comes a point when you’ll need to decide on fabric. For many people, this can be one of the hardest parts of sewing.

With so many options, selecting the perfect fabric can be overwhelming.

However, there is one decision that will make fabric selection easier.

Choose a Themed Fabric!

Think about the person who will receive the wonderful gift you’re going to make. What are their likes and dislikes? (You don’t want to select a fabric that showcases something they hate.)

Consider the following:

  • Sports teams
  • Disney characters
  • Holidays
  • Seasons
  • Flowers
  • Toys
  • Cartoon characters
  • Animals
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Transportation
  • and the list goes on

After you decide on a theme that will work for your gift, it’s time to go shopping.

Where to Buy Fabrics with a Theme

There are several places I’ve bought fabric with a particular theme or concept.

Most of them are online because it’s easy and pretty quick to search for a particular fabric.

When I search online I go to:

  • Joann
  • I’ve searched on Etsy and have found several shops that have what I’m looking for.
  • Spoonflower
  • Sometimes I Google the fabric theme I’m looking for. It never fails, I always get results from a variety of online shops that allow me to easily compare prices.

Themed Fabric Projects

A Special Quilt

When my niece was getting ready to turn 5 years old, she told her grandmother (my mom) that she wanted her 5-year quilt to have princesses, fairies, cats, fish, and purple on it.

My mother is very talented when it comes to quilting and this request didn’t stump her. Her creative juices started flowing.

The cats and fish were created through machine piecing blocks. Fabric was the solution to princesses, fairies, and purple.

Mom used Disney themed fabric for the princess and fairies and a sparkly purple for the sashing.

cat quilt blocks made with Disney princess fabric

The faces for the cats were hand-sewn but that’s a whole other story!

PJ Bottoms for My Sister

Years ago my sister and I took our mother to a quilt store that was about 2 hours from where we live.

At the time, my sister was talking about learning to sew. As she was looking around she found a pajama bottom pattern that she liked.

She picked it up and started looking for fabric. Pink fabric with cute little brown birds caught her eye. (She loves pink and birds.) She didn’t need to look any further.

Sadly, she hasn’t learned how to sew yet but I helped her out. That’s a whole other story, too!

Fabric Drink Coasters

The principal and assistant principals at my school are all big sports fans. They each have a different football team they support.

Last year, I was in charge of the gifts my team was going to give them on Boss’s Day.

Wanting to indulge my love for sewing and give them a gift that was personal and practical, I decided to make drink coasters and use fabric for each of their favorite sports teams. I even made a bag to hold the coasters. They were a big hit!

fabric drink coasters made with a sports themed fabric

Also, I had quite a bit of fabric leftover from my sister’s pajama bottoms. I decided to fussy cut the birds and make a set of coasters for her birthday. They were so cute, I almost kept them for myself.

Fabric drink coasters made with bird and flower fabric.

Face Masks

The spring of 2020 brought about a big change in the way we could safely interact with others.

With the introduction of wearing required face masks in many parts of the country, home sewists quickly discovered a variety of ways to make face masks for family and friends.

Using themed fabric to make these face masks is one way to personalize and have fun making them.


Every school year, I purchase a ready-made lanyard and wear it all year long.

This year, I wanted to do something different and use my sewing skills to make my own lanyards.

I wasn’t sure what kind of fabric I wanted so I headed to my local Joann store. Standing in front of the wall of fabric, I was overwhelmed. Then I turned my head and saw they had put together a row of holiday fabrics.

Why was I looking for just one fabric?!

I made the decision to use a different fabric for each month to represent seasons or a specific holiday.

Right away my fabric selection became easier because I was looking for something specific.

Bowl of lanyards

Don’t let fabric selection paralyze you after finding a project you want to make.

Looking for fabric with a theme is one easy way to make the selection process easier.

Let’s Connect

My goal at The Ruffled Purse is to support, empower, and inspire you to sew and make wonderful things for yourself, your home, and others.

Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at and we can work together to get it figured out!

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