Adapting A Quilt Design To Your Desired Bed Size


Discusses what options you have to adjust the size of your quilt pattern size does not match the dimensions of the bed you are making it for.

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Adapting A Quilt Design To Your Desired Bed Size

Once you have measured your bed and determined the size (read how) you would like to make your quilt, it is time to make adjustments to your chosen pattern so it will fit the dimensions you require. Many people find this intimidating and just give up. So, let’s talk about ways to make adjustments, then you can decide if you would like to tackle any of these techniques.

Adapting A Quilt Design To Your Desired Bed Size


Here is a pattern that we will use for our examples:

Original Quilt Pattern Size before adjustments


Adding Borders

This is likely the easiest way to add to your quilt. To keep the blocks or designs centered on the surface of the bed, borders should be added to the sides and bottom of the quilt (the part that will hang over the sides of the bed). Only add to the top of the quilt if you need to make the design bigger to fit the surface of the bed. Depending on how much you need to add, you can use just a few borders, or a lot. They can be plain, or you can include designs within the border that will compliment the rest of the quilt. Try varying the size of the borders to add interest.

Adjust Quilt Size by adding borders


Add Blocks

You can add blocks to the focal design if you need to add a lot to the length or width. If your need to add more to the width than to the length (which is likely, since you are adding to both sides, but just the bottom) you can add one extra row or two of blocks to the width of the design, but not the bottom. Make sure to include the same amount of sashing that is between the blocks in the original pattern.

Adjust Quilt Size by adding blocks


Increase Block Size

It can be tricky to enlarge or decrease the size of the blocks, but it can be done. You will need to understand seam allowances within the block design, but if you are going to tackle this project, you probably already do. Determine how much larger you need to make the pattern, and increase the blocks and/or sashing to fill the space. In our example, there is no sashing.

Adjust Quilt Size by increasing block size


Increase or add Sashing Between the Blocks

You can increase or add sashing between the blocks to achieve the dimensions you need. While it generally looks best to add consistently to the width and the length, it is not a requirement. For instance, you can add 1” to the size of the horizontal sashing, but 2” to the vertical sashing. This can help you reach your required size.

Adjust Quilt Size by adding sashes


Take Your Time

It takes time, calculations, and trial and error to change the size of a pattern. Think of it this way; you will be spending a lot of time creating this work of art. A little bit of extra effort up front will assure that you get exactly the quilt you want. So, get some paper, a pencil and an eraser and try some of the suggestions above. Even if you “can’t draw”, you can get a pretty good idea of how your design will look by sketching and looking at the ideas on paper.

Once you are ready, forge ahead and create that custom quilt!


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The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
Fabric that separates the patterns or blocks, framing them and making the quilt larger.

See Also: Strip
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