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National Sewing Month 2012: Personalizing a Quilt Pattern

We’re celebrating the last few days of our National Sewing Month Blog Series, and today we’ve got a special post on quilting for all of our quilters out there! Our friend Deanna from WeddingDressBlue is here to tell you how to easily adjust a quilt pattern to fit your needs. With her simple tips and formulas, you can make any block quilt any size you need. Whether you want to scale down a bed quilt or supersize a baby quilt, you’ll be able to figure out how! She also shares secrets about how to adjust a quilt block for smaller pieces of fabric, so you can use your stash efficiently.

Remember, if you’re looking to score our huge mystery prize, leave a comment at the bottom of this post and every post with National Sewing Month 2012 in the headline. You’ll be automatically entered to win. We’re picking a winner this Saturday so stay tuned!

Now let’s hear from Deanna!

How often do you see a quilt and say, “I love it, BUT…it’s a twin, and I need a baby quilt” or “it’s a baby quilt, and I have a queen-sized bed.”  Well, there is a solution to that—it just takes a little math and the quilt can be yours.

This is Deanna from WeddingDressBlue here to share a little very non-scary quilters’ math to show you how to make that great quilt idea a perfect quilt idea.

The Hundred Patch Charm Quilt you may have seen on FaveQuilts is a great example.  Here is the original pattern:

Hundred Patch Charm Quilt

It finished at 75 x 99″.

But what if I want a couch quilt, like Cindy did?

Hundred Patch Charm Quilt

Or what if I have a lot of 2-1/2” squares and the pattern calls for 2”?  Do I really have to recut all those squares?  NO!  Birgit didn’t; she just changed up the pattern a bit.

Hundred Patch Charm Quilt

Or, what if I, the original designer of the quilt, decide that I really need a queen size quilt?  Can I do that?  YES!

Hundred Patch Charm Quilt

First of all, you need to know what size quilt you want to make. My favorite reference for quilt sizes is this chart.

Some patterns are written for multiple sizes, and that is a big help. If your pattern isn’t, you can arm yourself with a little information and make the changes yourself.  You need to decide what you plan to change. If it is overall size, you will just add or subtract blocks from the pattern. Most patterns have the block size included and will say something like “Block Size: 12″ finished.” This means you can change the size 12 inches at a time by adding or subtracting blocks from the original pattern. That is what I did in the Hundred Patch modification above: I added four blocks to create a wider quilt. The finished size of the larger Hundred Patch is 99” x 99”.

The slightly more complex change is a change in the size of the pieces or components in the quilt. When Lillian changed from 2” to 1-1/2” starting squares, she used the quilters’ rule: “subtract ¼” all the way around.”  Because quilters use a ¼” seam allowance standard, you can figure the finished size of any square or rectangle by subtracting the seam allowances from the size of the cut piece. So 1-1/2” squares will finish at 1”.  How many of those squares do you have? That is how many inches across the quilt will be.

You can check this math with other size squares. Do you have 2-1/2” squares? They finish at 2”. Do you have 2” squares? Yep, 1-1/2”.

So, next time you face an almost-perfect quilt pattern, be brave and change things up a bit to make it your own.

Do you have any tips for personalizing a quilt? Share them below, or leave a comment to enter the giveaway!