Fabric Stash

What’s in a Solid

After my post yesterday, I had a number of questions about the differences in solids.  With so many choices it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide on the best course of action when choosing a solid..do you go for the perfect color, weight, manufacturer?  Where to start!

I certainly haven’t worked with all of the solids on the market but, I have worked with a lot of them and here are my thoughts.

I’m gonna start with Kona Cotton Solids.

With 243 different colors available, Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cottons certainly has the most color options.  And you may have seen the new Kona Cotton book just released by Stash books:

Robert Kaufman is also releasing a special Bounty of Basics bundle featuring all of the solids used in the new book…pretty cool.

So, aside from the myriad of color choices, what makes Kona Cottons so special?  For me, the pull is definitely in the number of colors available.  I like the color graduations offered–solids with fewer colors available don’t offer the same small jumps in color graduation.  Having small changes in color makes it easier to get that perfect shade that I’m looking for.  Kona Cotton Solids are easy to find online & the color cards are now much easier to purchase than they have been in the past–I highly recommend color cards!  I always keep on hand Kona Cotton in White and Kona Cotton in Snow–I purchase several yards of each during my LQS’s sales.

If you are unfamiliar with Kona Snow, it is that perfect shade of Creamy White–no starkness as with White, but not ivory enough to be off white or cream.  I used Kona snow in these projects:

Now, the not so good thing about Kona Cottons Solids…the dye lots can vary.  I’ve noticed this especially with the darker colors, greys for instance.  So you want to make sure to purchase in the quantities you need.  I’ve never had any trouble with Kona Snow which I purchase a ton of at different times but I have with several greys.

Now, onto Moda Bella Solids. 

I love working with Bella Solids!  Weightwise, they are similiar to Kona Cottons–the Bella Solids are just a bit more lightweight and slightly silkier.

Bella Solids are offered in 157 different colors.

My absolute favorite thing about Bella Solids is that they coordinate perfectly with Moda’s lines of fabric.

This is a screen shot of the Vintage Modern PDF of fabric swatches available online.  Do you see the solids listed on the left?–Those are the solids which perfectly match Vintage Modern.  No need to match them yourself–purchase any of those and they are sure to match–this is especially handy if you are purchasing fabrics online.  Moda has started listing the coordinating solids on all of their online swatch pages….very handy!  If you are working with Moda fabrics you are always going to have a great coordinating solid.

RJR Cotton Supreme Solids

I’ve been working with RJR’s line of solids on several different projects recently.  The weight of these fabrics is beautiful–very similiar to Bella Solids–the RJR solids have a light sheen to them which is so pretty.  Both the Bella Solids and the RJR Solids are “drapier” than the Kona solids.

Cotton Supreme Solids are available in 156 colors.  41 of these colors are solids that coordinate with Robyn Pandolph’s lines of fabric for RJR.  The remaining 115 colors are wonderful–very warm shades which I am always drawn to–lots of sherbety goodness.

I hadn’t worked with Cotton Supreme Solids a lot previously but I will definitely be adding more into my stash of solids.  The weight/hand of these fabrics and the color choices available are wonderful.

Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids

I just picked up a Cotton Couture Color Card a couple weeks ago which you may remember.

Cotton Couture Solids are lightweight and even more drapey than either the Cotton Supreme Solids or the Bella Solids.  If you have worked with Sandi Henderson’s Secret Garden Fabrics or even Art Gallery Fabrics, that is the weight of these solids.

Cotton Couture Solids come in 85 colors–and the colors are like a little jewelry box of shades.  I found a perfect Watermelon shade which I had been looking for–I love when I can find the color in my head translated onto fabric.

I haven’t had a chance to work with these solids that much.  I did use one of the shades of white for my French Roses Quilt:

The weight of that quilt is fantastic–Cotton Couture solids scream summer time.

FYI, Color Cards for Kona, Bella, & Cotton Couture can all be found at Fat Quarter Shop.

Art Gallery Pure Elements Solids

I love these solids!

These are lightweight solids just like the Cotton Couture Solids–very drapey–with a beautiful sheen.

They mix beautifully with the Art Gallery Prints and are of the same weight.  While, there are only 33 colors of Pure Elements Solids, the colors offered are fantastic–no primary colors–just beautiful jewel tones.

 Free Spirit also has a great line of solids.

This is a mix of Kona/Bella/Free Spirit Solids.

I haven’t used the Free Spirit solids as often as the other solids.  But, they are equally great and have 100 different colors to choose from.  These solids will coordinate with many of your favorite Free Spirit lines of fabric.  Hawthorne Threads carries a color card of these solids.

Whew!  I hope that answers some of your questions about solids!  These are the solids that I use most often.  I’ve been very happy with all of them.  With the rise of solids being used in quilts(as opposed to tone on tones) I am sure that we will be seeing larger solids collections and more fabric companies expanding the solids offered.  The right solid color choice can certainly make or break your quilt so I really can’t say enough about purchasing the color cards available.  It makes choosing the right solid so much easier!

Comments (22)

  • Thank you, Corey, for this extensive research! The solids are gorgeous!! The powerful color “punch” of solids in quilts and textile art is rich, and the surface texture provided by the quilting is spectacular on solid fabrics.

    Aren’t we blessed to have such a rich selection – solids AND prints – to use?

  • So informative that I am bookmarking this post – thank you!

  • Whew, is right! Great run down! I have to say that I’ll check the softer choices first when looking for a solid. I think that the Kona’s are kinda rough. LOVE Art Gallery’s feel. The rest are somewhere in-between Kona and Art Gallery. Of course, when you need a matching color, you go with what works.

    robin 🙂

  • Whew – Thank you so very much for such a indepth explanation of solids. I will certainly try other brands of solids other than Kona as more shops are carrying other brands other than Kona Cotton which I love especially the Snow. The reason I love Kona Snow is because of the weight and finding a white which is a good weight is hard to find. So I will give he other brands a try.

  • so helpful!! Thanks Corey!!

  • Great breakdown!!!
    I lean toward Kona for the selection, availability, and price. Plus, my thing with solids is I like them to have the same hand as the prints I’m working with. Otherwise, if I pair a regular print with a more drapey solid, it makes it a little harder to work with.

  • I’m new to quilting and have yet to finish my first one, but pretty fabrics make my heart sing. I love all of your posts and look forward to having the money to purchase more fabrics one day! I’m definitely pinning this to look at again in the future. Love it!!

  • This is great and just what I’ve been looking for. I’ve always wondered at the differences, and now you’ve told me. Thanks!

  • I am so happy with this post! Those of us newer to quilting can use this help. I honestly didn’t know the difference. Now I can make some great buys. Thank you so mich. I’m printing this up for my use.

  • Thank you! Very helpful info, especially for online shopping.

  • Lots of info! Thank you!

  • I am a fairly new quilter and this is awesome information! Thank you! I am bookmarking it for future reference.

    Also – I LOVE the quilt with the Tan and Snow stripes and large squares of color. Is this one of your patterns that I can purchase?
    Thank you!~

  • thanks for sharing all that great information.

  • Since I find myself sewing nearly everything with solids lately, this is a post full of great information!

  • Loving the color tutorial, I have been having to pick quite a bit of plain colored fabric this spring, it wasn’t as fun or easy as other fabric shopping. This truly helps!! Your French Roses Quilt is stunning will you be sharing the pattern to this quilt?? I would love to recreate this for myself. thanks

    • The pattern is French Roses by Heather French. =)

  • What a great post. Thanks for all the wonderful information.

  • Thanks Corey for the great explanation. I will be forwarding this page onto my quilting group so that they can all learn more about solids.

  • WOW this is great!!! Thanks for the info!

  • Thank you so much for all the effort you put into this post. I really enjoyed reading it and I know it will be very helpful!

  • I know it’s been quite awhile sense you posted this but wanted to thank you anyway. I googled the difference between bella and kona and this was at the top. I didn’t even think of the other companies. Thanks so much! I will bookmark this for reference.

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