When working with any fabric, there are things to keep in mind. Color can be a matter of personal taste over anything else. Length is going to be based on the project’s needs. Contrast and value have objective elements to them. These lend themselves to specific guidelines on their use.
Contrast and value are all about light and projection. Light, medium, and dark are what it concerns itself with. Learning to see these in fabrics is important because it opens up a whole new area to your selection and sewing process.
Why is contrast important?
Contrast makes the design clearer, gives it overall depth. It’s why artists add shadows and darken colours on paintings. Without contrast, the design loses the illusion of being three dimensional and the pieces blend into a bland, uninteresting whole.
One thing to remember is that contrast is relative. A medium-yellow with a dark brown background will be bad. There’s not much visual difference between the two. The difference is too subtle.
On the other hand, if you use the same yellow and pair a light grey background, the result is sharper. The differences are more pronounced. The values in the colours are greater, the contrast easier to see.
In general, forming a block for contrast follows certain guidelines. You can adjust and ignore these as you get better and develop sharper eyes for aesthetics. For beginners, sticking by them can help you build the skills needed.
A light should be contrasted with dark. A medium may work too, but the contrast may not be enough. Bright colours offer no contrast or very little, which is only occasionally useful.
For medium colours, you’re kind of stuck in the middle. Another medium hue provides a low contrast, instead of blending. For contrast, you want to use light or dark colours. The contrast can be subtle at times, so colour choice plays a bigger role here.