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Thread: How much fabric for a quilt????

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    I am new to quilting and have picked out two easy patterns (one being a tube quilt). My problem is that I have no idea how much fabric to buy for each color. I suppose I could fill in with accenting strips between and around the blocks if it isn't big enough, but don't have any idea where to start. I am not making a bed covering but it is a queen size bed and I would hope they could use it as a blanket.
    Thanks for any help I can get....

  2. #2
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    There's no easy answer for this that I know of. A quilt that uses two fabrics in large patches might take 3 yards of each fabric while a quilt that uses the same two fabrics in very small patches could require five or six yards of each.

    If you're using six or eight or twelve fabrics, it becomes even more complicated - and if you're going for a really scrappy look, you might just want to buy 30 or 40 different fat quarters.

    The only way I know how to figure this out is lots of math.

    If you draw a full-size template of your block, you can figure out the number of square inches of each fabric in the block. (include the amount of inch-age in the seam allowances.) Multiply that by the number of the blocks that you will need for the quilt to get the number of square inches of that fabric that you will need.

    Divide that number by 1515, which is the number of square inches in a yard of fabric measuring 36 X 42 to find out how many yards you need.

    If the answer for that fabric is 1.119, for instance, rounding up to the nearest quarter yard would mean you need 1 yards of that fabric.

    Go to the next one - say the answer is .287 - you would buy a half-yard of that fabric.

    Or you could divide the square inches by 378, which is the number of square inches in a quarter-yard of fabric.

    It's cumbersome and tedious - if you're good at math, maybe you have a way that's easier. I'm not any good at it, but I have a calculator, so I can plod along when I have to. :)

    You could instead think in terms of fat quarters and go for an estimate that's a little bit closer than a WAG. :) If you arranged 30 fat quarters in a 5 X 6 grid and sewed them together, it would measure roughly 106 X 108 - just about perfect for a king-size bed, if all you were going to do was sew fat quarters together.

    But, by the time you cut it into patches, you've probably got just about the right size for a queen bed.

    So, okay, 30 quarter-yards equal 7-1/2 yards. If you're using only two fabrics in roughly equal amounts, you need 3-3/4 yards each. (I would buy four yds, myself, because I don't want to run out.)

    If you're wanting four fabrics in roughly equal amounts, you need two yards each. (rounding up) Eight fabrics, one yard each. Twelve fabrics, 3/4 yd each.

    Hope that makes sense. :) Have fun with it!

  3. #3
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    WOW thepolyparrott, I considered trying to answer this post but put a watch to see how anyone else would address this. You are great. I just guess, granted, an educated guess after years of quilting, but still a guess!:):)

  4. #4
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    If you purchased a pattern for the whole quilt, it should contain information on fabric requirements. If it's only a block, there are some on-line sites where you can build a quilt by selecting a block and colors then you can purchase a pattern with instructions...that site is quiltivate.com...there are also many programs you can purchase to use on your home computer, or, if you enjoy math, you can calculate your own fabric requirements.

    Which situation do you have?

  5. #5
    Senior Member merrylouw's Avatar
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    Wow, Polyparrot, that is very good, IF you're good at math! For a beginner like McBride, I think it might be better to choose an easy pattern (for a complete quilt), and get the amount called for on the pattern. Or, take your practices to a local quilt shop and ask for help in figuring it out. Just my opinion and what worked for me when I was new.

  6. #6
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Yes, I would definitely buy a pattern that includes yardage requirements - or I would use EQ to figure out how much of each one I need. (I'm insane about EQ!)

    But, she's already bought the patterns she wants to use, so the only thing I could think to do was tell her a couple of ways to get to the estimates.

    Cumbersome, I know. :oops:

  7. #7
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    Doesn't it say how much you need of each fabric on the pattern? I thought it would.

  8. #8
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    if you picked up patterns...don't they tell you what you need? i've been quilting for years and every pattern i ever saw had a list of required fabrics and how much of each...i would really be wondering about a quilt pattern that did not give you a supply list???

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