Today’s post is from guest writer, Melanie Collette of Hello Melly Designs. Melanie is a talented fabric and quilt pattern designer – and therefore really experienced in making quilts. She has some helpful advice to share regarding determining what size quilt you need. She’s also designed an awesome free printable quilt size guide to have on hand.
But first, I just have to show off this amazing quilt Melanie just finished making using my Double Crossed quilt pattern combined with her Pure Delight fabric collection that is available in stores now. I think they’re pretty much a match made in heaven. And now, more from Melanie!
Hi Everyone! I’m Melanie from Hello Melly Designs. Something I love about quilting is that the effort results in a very useful and loveable product! Before beginning a quilt project, one of the main things to consider is quilt size in regards to its purpose. What is the intended destination for the quilt? Is it going on a bed, or is it for throwing on the back of a couch? Is the quilt for actual use or display? Will it be donated, or gifted? All of the answers to these questions will help determine the size of quilt you will want to make.
Luckily, many quilt patterns have multiple sizes available, and all quilt patterns will tell you what the finished size will be if sewn as instructed. However, you have probably noticed in comparing quilt patterns that not all specific larger quilt sizes are equal! There are so many reasons why the inches vary, like block size, block repeat, etc.
The important thing to know is that they vary only within a certain window of standard quilt sizes. Personally, I prefer throw quilts that can adequately cover a 6′ man (aka my husband) on a couch and baby quilts that are large enough to donate to organizations (typically 40″ wide at the smallest). Other than those arbitrary sizes, I follow standard bed sizes.
If the final destination of your quilt project is for a bed, the measurements you are aiming for need to be a bit more specific! If your goal is to finish with a quilt that perfectly fits your bed and frame to exact dimensions, the first thing you need to do is measure the mattress. Measure the length and width of the mattress.
Next, how do you want the quilt to hang off the bed? I have one daughter who sleeps like she’s fighting a bear and no quilt has ever stayed through the night… until I made a twin size that had a far enough drop and tuck. “Drop” is how far the quilt falls off the top of the mattress, and “Tuck” is the amount of quilt that- you guessed it!- tucks underneath. Now all the thrashing at night can’t pull off the quilt.
My other twin quilts have a sufficient drop to cover the mattress and hang just over the top of the bed frame. No tuck necessary!
Taking these examples into consideration, once you have measured length and width, decide what your drop will be (typically 10+”, typically the height of the mattress plus however more you want it to fall) and, if you want, the tuck (another 8″-10″) as well. Mattress heights have such a wide range, the drop can be quite the variety throughout your house!
If you are working from a quilt pattern and the size provided is a little too small for your specific measurements, there are a few things you can do to get to your desired size: add sashing, add borders, or add additional blocks.
As a pattern designer, I always reference standard quilt sizes in my planning. The standard sizes can vary depending on what source you are using, but they are always very similar. The standard sizes have enough drop to cover a standard sized mattress and have worked well for our family. Since I use a reference so often, I thought I’d share a fun printable version with you too!
Adapting existing patterns or even single blocks (like from the Riley Blake Designs Block Challenge) to be a different desired size does take effort, but with a standard guide it is much easier to begin. I encourage you to try it out! I’ve created a printable for you with the standard quilt sizes.
The printable gives the standard quilt size, as well as the standard mattress size.
Hopefully it is as good of a reference for you as I’ve found it to be!
Thanks, Melanie! You can also check out some of Melanie’s other projects here: