add a little Background Sparkle

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for your warm response to my Drummer Boy Dresden pattern. I know we’re going to enjoy making the quilt together in the upcoming summer sew-along!

Drummer Boy Pattern cover.jpg

Have you already taken a peak at the pattern? Check out the Color Concepts section, where I introduce the design concept of background sparkle. This is when we use a variety of similar fabrics for our background, instead of a singular, consistent fabric. Do you see what fun it adds to Joy Martin’s Drummer Boy Dresden quilt?

I’ve long been drawn to quilts that have layers of interest. With such quilts, you might first be impressed by the overarching patchwork pattern, until you also notice something unexpected about the individual blocks. Or, at first you’re drawn to the major color themes and then you discover additional underscoring color patterns. Quilts that make you look again and again tend to have these layers of interest that draw you in. Background sparkle can do that too!

I used this concept for my Sour Pickle quilt, way back when, and in the same way for my just-finished Full Scrappy Cross Roads quilt.

Autumn Fading Starbright Stars. Stitched in Color.jpg

You can also use solids to create background sparkle. Vary the solid tones just enough to add depth, while maintaining an overall color, as with my Autumn Fading quilt.

I encourage you to sew some background sparkle into your Drummer Boy Dresden quilt! The pattern is written with fabric requirements to encourage background diversity. You can use even more background fabrics than called for, of course! I’m using about 15 different low volume prints for my version. A regular quarter yard cut of any fabric will give you plenty of yardage to run with.

Need some help with sourcing your background fabrics? I’ve created Background Sparkle custom bundles at three of my sponsor stores just for you!


This bundle includes lots of the prints I’ll be using myself, including those Sea Farer birds. Swoon! All fabrics are by Cotton & Steel.


This one is playful, with text prints, swoopy curves and cutesy birds. Enjoy a mixture of super pale tones for a delicate sparkle.


Looking for something more sophisticated? I created this classy bundle with fabrics from Art Gallery and Zen Chic. The simple, yet modern motifs will sparkle along with whatever you find in your stash!

Full sew-along details will be announced on Monday! Today, I hope to send you into the weekend dreaming about how your background will sparkle. Get your pattern and gather your fabrics. The Drummer Boy Dresden sew-along starts in June!