Sewing Patterns, Pattern Review, Sewing Classes, Sewing Machines and Sewing Machine Reviews!
Platinum Sponsor: Stylish Fabric
Over 20,000 of high quality reorderable fabric

[SIGNUP - FREE Membership & 1 FREE Sewing Lesson ]
[Sewing Classes|Shopping Bag Your Shopping Bag|Login|Help]
Sewing Review and Pattern Reviews Sewing Knowledge Base Sewing Patterns Sewing Classes & Sewing Lessons Sewing Machine & Embroidery Machinery Sewing Message Boards Sewing merchants Blog Help/FAQ About Pattern Review

Advanced Search
New to PR?
Find a member
MY Stuff
Friends of PR Benefits
My Pattern Reviews
My Account
Edit Profile
My Page
Photo Album
Wish List
Pattern Catalog
Deal Corner
Sewing Machines
Sewing Machine Central
Compare Sewing Machines
Sewing Machine & Serger Reviews
Embroidery Machines
Sewing Reviews
Sewing Patterns
Review Gallery
Sewing Books
Sewing Supplies
Sewing Websites
Sewing Stores
Sewing Class Reviews
Sewing Expo Reviews
Sewing Tips & Techniques
Sewing Podcasts
Fabric Glossary
Sewing Review Requests
Read All Review Requests
Add a Review Request
Live Chats
Chat Room
Chat Schedule
Chat Transcripts
Sewing Classifieds
See all Classifieds
Add a Classified
Sewing Contests
all contests
contest gallery
Favorite Links
reviews with comments
merchant gallery
article archive
newsletter archive
Craft Resources
contact info
shipping rates
returns & refunds
Platinum Sponsor - Stylish Fabric
Stylish Fabric
Quilting: Calculating number of blocks and yardage (Tip/Technique)
Viewed 5133 times
Review rated Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 10 people   
Posted by: Irene Q
Friend of PR
About Irene Q starstarstarstar
Member since: 3/19/04
Reviews written: 123
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 96 people
tips added: 12
Bio: more...
Report a problem with this review
Posted on: 11/28/06 2:41 PM
This is a post I wrote for the message boards to answer the question: "I want to make a queen size quilt made entirely of 4" squares. How many squares do I need?"

First, you need to decide what size to make the quilt. According to some notes I have from a quilt book, a queen size quilt is about 84"x92"; my Lands' End catalog says their queen size quilts are 96"x98" - so somewhere around those sizes. A lot depends on how much you want it to hang down on the sides (half way with a bed skirt, or to the floor) and whether it goes over the pillows (and tucks under them). If you quilt heavily the quilt can shrink up a bit, so it's better to plan to make it an inch or two larger just in case.

Let's go with 84x92. To get the number of 4" squares, divide each dimension by 4. That gives 21 squares across, 23 squares down for a grand total of 21x23 = 483 squares. Having an odd number of squares in a row is usually desirable - it just looks more balanced - but once it's on the bed it really doesn't matter. You can just sew these together and bind it without any kind of border, or add a plain 1" or 2" strip around the outside as a simple border. I think the border helps stabilize the quilt top before you go to quilt it, but it's a personal decision. If you use a 2" border you could eliminate one row and one column of squares (20x22 = 440 squares).

To cut the squares, you'll cut a 4.5" strip of fabric (.5" for the seam allowances!) and then cut that into 4.5" squares. Although quilting fabric is supposed to be 45" wide, it's often less especially if you preshrink; plus you'll be cutting off the selvages. I usually plan on 42" wide, which is 21" wide when it's folded. You'll get 21/4.5 = 4 squares out of one thickness, which means 8 squares out of a double thickness. You'll probably be able to squeeze one more square out of the folded piece that's left over, but to be safe don't count it in the total.

OK, that means that to get your 483 squares, you'll need to cut (483/8 = 60.375, round up to 61) 61 strips of fabric. This can be 61 different fabrics or 20 different fabrics, or just a few - it's up to you! You'll need at least a quarter yard of each fabric to get one strip (or cut two strips from a fat quarter). Of course you can cut individual squares from scraps, too.

If you're going to be using a limited number of fabrics, here's how to calculate the yardage to buy. Let's say you'll be choosing 8 fabrics. 61/8 = 7.625 strips of each fabric, round that up to 8 strips. 8x4.5 = 36" of each fabric, which is exactly a yard. Don't buy a yard - by the time you preshrink and straighten the ends, it won't be enough. Get either 1.25 or 1.5 yards of each fabric just to be safe. This also gives you a little extra, in case of cutting mistakes(!). Personally, I like to use a lot of different fabrics and I go ahead and cut a full strip of each fabric even if it means I have extra squares at the end. When you start to arrange the squares you may find that one fabric doesn't work as well as the others and you can just leave it out.

Don't cut the binding, or the border if you decide to have one, until the quilt top is assembled. By the time everything is sewn together it probably won't be exactly the right size (this is true for all of us!), so just measure the finished size and cut the borders to match.

Merchants on PR
Patterns from the Past
vintage sewing patterns
Elliott Berman Textiles
Fabrics for Greater Ideas
Gwyn Hug
Fabric Shopping Help!

<< Previous Next >>

Add Tip/Technique    Read All Tip/Techniques

5 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
j222b said...
Oh my!! Thanks so much for this!!
11/28/06 10:17 PM
granny geek said...
great information...thank you!
11/29/06 0:24 AM
sabrinatf said...
Irene, I already said it, but it's worth saying again! Thank you! Thank you!
11/29/06 2:32 PM
Skeeter45 said...
This is wonderful! I was always afraid to even begin aproject this large for fear I wouldn't have enough squares o finish. Irene, your directions were very clear. Perfect!
12/10/06 10:19 AM
whomper said...
Bless you for this! I have just been trying to figure this out with 4-inch blocks.
8/7/09 11:49 AM

Copyright © 2014® , OSATech, Inc. All rights reserved.
Conditions of Use | Posting Guidelines | Privacy Policy | Contact Us