5 quilting patterns that you can make your own

July 29, 2015

Picking the perfect patchwork quilt pattern can be tricky. Here's four patterns that you can use, and how to make your own.

5 quilting patterns that you can make your own

1. Start with simple patterns

  • Each block in a simple pattern is usually made up of smaller square units called patches.
  • Depending on the design, the block is generally broken into 4, 9, 16 or 25 patches.
  • Each patch has the basic patchwork units: triangles, rectangles, circles, parts of circles — even trapezoids. These are cut from various fabrics and then sewn together.

2. The windmill

  • A simple, symmetrical four-patch block, that's formed by dividing each of the four patches into two triangles. Every other triangle is coloured with a dark value.
  • You can add variety by dividing every other triangle into two smaller ones and adding another colour.

3. Make a friendship star

  • A typical nine-patch block that alternates plain patches with other patches divided into triangles. Simple colours are used to emphasize the star motif.
  • Adding another colour to the design gives it a more intricate look without altering the basic pieces.

4. Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

  • This 16-patch block is a variation of the Drunkard's Path. New colours and layout give it a circular motif.
  • Changing colours and arrangement slightly but using identical cutting patterns creates an entirely different, more diffuse effect.

5. Make a pattern your own

  • You can change the look of a particular block by swapping the elements within the patches. You can also rearrange the patches within the block, or change the block's colour scheme.
  • Before choosing a patchwork design, first sketch out the possibilities on graph paper.
  • For each design being considered, you should draw out at least four full blocks.
  • Because differences in colour can change the whole look of a patchwork design, colour the experimental blocks before you begin your project.
  • An attractive quilt is the sum of many parts. Individual scraps of fabric assume a new value when combined in a patchwork.

The trick to picking a pattern is thinking about the whole piece instead of individual elements. Always envision with blocks of colours, so you can get an overall feel. That way, there may be less surprises when you're all finished.

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