Simple tricks for making a properly sized quilt

July 29, 2015

Once you've worked out the block for the design of your quilt, you'll need to make a draft to get the right size. Here's how:

Simple tricks for making a properly sized quilt

Determine your quilt’s dimensions

Most quilts are made to hang down to the bottom of the mattress. A coordinated ruffle can be added to cover the base of the bed. As a rough guide, use the following standard mattress sizes to estimate dimensions of a quilt:

  • Cot: 69 x 130 centimetres/27 x 31 inches
  • Single bed: 92 x 188 centimetres/three x six feet
  • Double: 138 x 188 centimetres/4 1/2 x 6 feet
  • Queen: 153 x 203 centimetres/5 x 6 1/2 feet
  • King: 183 x 203 centimetres/6 x 6 1/2 feet.

The size formula

The formula for quilt sizes is:

  • Length equals bed length plus the hang at foot and the pillow tuck
  • Width equals bed width plus twice the side hang

Playing with the formula

  • For a pillow tuck, an additional 35 centimetres (13 3/4 inches) is required.
  • The quilt measurements you calculate are approximations that can vary somewhat to fit the size of individual patchwork blocks.
  • Select a size that's appropriate for your design and will allow the top to be pieced together entirely out of complete blocks.
  • Fit as many full blocks as possible into the desired quilt dimensions.
  • If, on the first try, the quilt dimensions are not an exact multiple of the block size, adust the block size or quilt size until they are.
  • You can also add sashing strips or borders to make up the difference.
  • When choosing a block size, make sure the block measurements are easily divisible by the number of patches contained in the block.

Draw up the pattern

  • Before cutting fabric, or starting any other work, draw the quilt design to scale on graph paper. Use it as an overarching view of the design and as a work guide.
  • The guide should indicate exactly how many blocks you'll need, and the dimensions of any sashing strips or borders. This information lets you know how much fabric you need.
  • At this stage, you can start planning colours and where you're going to place light, medium and dark fabrics.
  • Place tracing paper over your graph paper drawing, and experiment with coloured pencils or felt-tip pens.
  • You may also wish to make a mock-up of the full-size block by gluing the required fabric shapes to a piece of paper.

Quilts take a lot of preparation and planning, including setting out the dimensions. Think about where the quilt is going, and what other features it may have, before you start the work. That way, you can make the right-sized quilt.

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