How to Edit Colors of Quilt Mockups Using Adobe Illustrator

If you are a planner, or maybe have trouble picking fabrics for a quilt, check out this video tutorial showing you how to edit digital quilt mockups to test out various colors and swatches. This is an Adobe Illustrator tutorial.

This video tutorial on editing colors of digital quilt mockups is specifically geared towards Adobe Illustrator CC. You may be able to apply some of these tips to other color changing programs or apps, but I couldn't say for sure. If you are unfamiliar with Adobe Illustrator CC, read below for a quick explanation.

These mockups and video originally showed up in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group for the Modern Fans Sew-Along. It was based on the Modern Fans quilt pattern, available in the shop!

Two thing to note before launching into the steps: 

  1. I created this video in September of 2018. Adobe frequently updates and changes things in their program, but even if there are slight changes in the appearance of art boards or to the various Illustrator palettes, the concepts are basic enough that this video should still be applicable. 
  2. This tutorial assumes you are trying to edit the colors of a quilt mockup in a Suzy Quilts pattern. I can't say for sure how other designers layout their PDFs, so this may not work for other quilt patterns.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments if something doesn't make sense or if you can't seem to get something to work.

If you are a planner, or maybe have trouble picking fabrics for a quilt, check out this video tutorial showing you how to edit digital quilt mockups to test out various colors and swatches. This is an Adobe Illustrator tutorial.

How to Edit Colors of Quilt Mockups - Video Tutorial

If you are unfamiliar with Adobe Illustrator, here are a couple main points that will help familiarize you:

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  • Adobe Illustrator is a powerful software program that creates vector illustrations.
  • Vector illustrations are created using crazy smart math so that you can scale them up or down without any blurriness or resolution issues. If you've ever taken a photo, you know how things can look grainy as you scale them up. That's because photographs use dots of color or pixels to create the image. The closer you get, the wider the dots are from each other, which gives the grainy look – also known as a pixelated look. Vector illustrations will never look pixelated because they don't use pixels.
  • Most vector graphics can be edited using Adobe Illustrator – that's what we're going to do in this tutorial.
  • Adobe Illustrator is, unfortunately, not cheap. You can download a free trial or click here to see other purchasing options.

Step 1: Open the PDF in Illustrator

All Suzy Quilts patterns are multi-page digital PDFs. To open the quilt mockup in Illustrator, drag and drop or right click and open the PDF in Illustrator. A dialog box will pop up wanting to know which page you would like to open. Navigate to the page with the quilt mockup.

Step 2: Ungroup the page elements

Using the Direct Select tool, select the quilt mockup. To ungroup the mockup from the other elements on the page, cut the mockup and then re-paste onto the page. Delete all other elements on the page. 

Step 3: Delete all unnecessary strokes

Direct Select one of the strokes in the mockup. In the main toolbar at the top of the program, navigate to the Select tab. Select - Same Stroke Color. Once all of the unnecessary strokes are selected, click Delete.

Step 4: Select different elements in the quilt and change the colors

Using either the Select Tool or the Magic Wand tool, select different elements of the quilt mockup and freely change their colors. At this point you can even drag and drop a fabric image into the open Illustrator file and create a color swatch.

To create a fabric color swatch, hold down shift and scale the fabric image down until it is accurately proportional to the quilt mockup (hold down shift so the image stays proportional.) With the image selected, navigate to the Links palette. Embed that fabric image link. Once the link is embedded, you can drag and drop it into your Swatches palette. That fabric image now magically repeats itself and looks (kinda) like how the fabric will look!


If at any point you feel lost using Adobe Illustrator, just Google your question. There are thousands of tutorials about this program, so I have no doubt you'll find what you're looking for. Even if you get stumped right in the beginning, type exactly what you want to know into a Google search. Eg. "Where is the Select Tool in Adobe Illustrator CC?"

If you're anything like me, learning new technology comes with a steep learning curve – so take your time. If it makes you feel better, you can picture 19 year old Suzy learning a much older version of this program in college while stress eating pretzels and drinking unhealthy amounts of Red Bull. Getting a graphic design degree wasn't pretty in the beginning. Don't be like that. 

If you are a planner, or maybe have trouble picking fabrics for a quilt, check out this video tutorial showing you how to edit digital quilt mockups to test out various colors and swatches. This is an Adobe Illustrator tutorial.

5 thoughts on “How to Edit Colors of Quilt Mockups Using Adobe Illustrator

  1. Nora Boyd says:

    Great blog this month- loved the melon pattern- i tried to use the SUZYQUILTS20 code to get the discount on the soil iron but it said it wasn’t valid. Can you help me figure this out.
    Thanks
    Nora

  2. Ruth says:

    Thanks so much for the Illustrator help! That’s super useful.
    On a different note, I clicked on the solid color stacks under Suzy’s favorite fabrics (right hand side), and got a message that it would not connect to Amazon.

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