Many assume quilting is just a creative outlet full of pretty fabric. However, to successfully make a quilt, you must have an eye for design and a mathematical brain. You need to know how to pick out lovely fabric and how to calculate how much of that fabric you’ll need for your quilt. Learn the basics of quilt calculations below.
Know the Quilt Size
The first part of calculating the required quilt fabric is knowing what size quilt you plan to make. Most quilts come in standard mattress sizes, which have specific measurements. You can use these measurements to create a rough idea of how much fabric you’ll need. For example, if you want to make a quilt for a queen-sized mattress, you’ll need enough material to cover an 86 in. by 93 in. (218 cm. by 246 cm.) space. If you want the quilt to drape over the ends of the mattress, you’ll need to add a few extra inches/centimeters to that area.
Calculate Top Fabric
You’ll need to measure out the fabric for the top of your quilt as well as the back. Sketch out a scaled version of your quilt top so you can calculate the top first. If you need 86 in. by 93 in., like our example above, you can break that square footage into smaller sections. You can divide them into whatever shape you prefer, but squares are often the easiest to work with. Don’t forget to factor in the seam allowance and borders in your sketch.
After you’re done sketching, count your squares. Multiply the number of squares by the inch measurements they take up. Add in the measurements for any borders or extra pieces you plan to add. Now you know how much fabric you need for the top of your quilt.
Calculate Back Fabric
Although the front and back of the quilt are technically the same sizes, you need more fabric for the back of your quilt. The back of the quilt tends to pull in as you stitch all the layers of the quilt together, so you need more fabric to compensate for that pull and keep the top of the quilt flat. Add two inches of extra fabric to the perimeter of the top of the quilt to calculate the bottom or back of the quilt.
Calculating the fabric you’ll need for your quilt sounds complicated, but any quilter can do it. Make your scale sketch, draw your scale shapes, and then start counting and multiplying. Once you know how much fabric you need, you can buy what you need in person or online. Here at Lindley General Store, we have fabric for sale in Canada that you can easily sort through and purchase online. You can peruse everything from seasonal to licensed fabrics to make the quilt of your dreams.