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Choosing Fabrics for Whale's Tail

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased Whale’s Tail! I am so happy you love this design as much as I do. Today I want to go over some tips for choosing fabrics for this pattern. It’s not a hard one to shop for, and you may even already have some great fabrics in your stash that would work for the smaller sizes. 

Whale’s Tail is currently on sale for 20% off during the launch week! Grab this new pattern for the perfect quick summer sew. 


whales tail fabric requirements

To Gradient or Not To Gradient

When I initially designed this quilt, I had a gradient of colours in mind. I love how a gradient brings this quilt to life and makes it feel like it has movement. Whether you choose to have your gradient go from dark to light or light to dark, it makes the whale’s tail feel like it is diving. 

Whales tail quilt gradient

When I first tried this design without the gradient I was surprised to find that it still works! I chose a variety of colours for this wall hanging size and it really pops.  

whales tail quilt no gradient

In fact, I learned that you can do pretty much anything with this design, as long as there is a strong contrast between the fabrics on the whale’s tail and the background. That is the key to making this design work. 

whales tail colour mockups

Sample Fabrics

We used all Art Gallery Pure Solids for our quilt samples. Here are the fabrics used so you can re-create the sample quilts! If you want to purchase a kit, check out Piece Fabric Co

Pillow Size 20" x 20"
A - Desert Dunes
B - Terracotta Tile
C - Raw Gold
D - Evergreen
Wall Hanging Size 30" x 30"
A - Turmeric
B - Sienna Brick
C - Nocturnal
D - Latte
Throw Size 60" x 60"
A - Atmoshperic
B - Night Sea
C - Nocturnal
D - Periwinkle
Bed Size 90" x 100"
A - Ocean Waves
B - Swimming Pool
C - Zambia Strone
D - Evergreen



Working with Prints

Does Whale’s Tail work with prints? You bet it does! We didn’t use any prints in the photoshoot because the solids were looking so dreamy, but actually, Whale’s Tail works really well with prints - even directional ones!

Whales Tail quilt with prints

We included a tip in the pattern so you know how to cut your curved templates if you are working with directional printed fabric. 


When it comes to choosing prints, aquatic designs are an obvious choice. I love the variety of ocean-themed prints out there - you can even find quite a few whale-specific prints! I'm planning to make the baby size of Whale's Tail using a fun coral print for the background. For the tail I chose fish, life rings, and mermaids. The backing will be this large-scale sealife print! 

 whales tale quilt printed fabric

If you are making the larger sizes of the Whale’s Tail quilt, you might consider a large-scale print. The pieces are quite large and they can really support a large-scale design. 

Using Scraps

If you wanted more variety in your Whale’s Tail quilt, you could opt to try a scrappy version. In this case, you would cut the curved templates out of different fabrics, ideally grouping the colours together to create delineation between the three tails, but you could also just let the three tails blend together. See the mockups below for an example. 

The smaller sizes of Whale’s Tail do not require a lot of fabric, so they work really well for scrapbusting. Try the pillow cover or the wall hanging, or make the pillow cover as a smaller wall hanging! It makes a great gift for a loved one or an excellent home decor project for yourself. 


Design Your Own

We’ve got Whale’s Tail (and all of our quilt patterns) up on Quilt Ink! You can colour your own design digitally and save it for reference later. It’s so much fun to play with! 

whales tail quilt ink

If you have any questions about choosing fabrics for the Whale’s Tail quilt, don’t hesitate to ask! I would be happy to advise. 

Whale’s Tail is currently on sale for 20% off during the launch week! Grab this new pattern for the perfect quick summer sew.