Quilt layouts can be very simple – or very complex.
When I design a quilt pattern I always make up a sample – usually a simple grid.
But if you think of my quilt patterns as patterns for collections of blocks that you can put together any way you like – it opens up all kinds of other possibilities!
In this video I show a few different quilt layouts you can use for almost any of my patterns. It’s a long video because I’m talking you through the whole process, but you can scroll past the video to see lots of examples with shorter descriptions.
So, I started out by showing a simple grid. Most of my quilt patterns default to this, and you can simplify the ones that don’t by just leaving out any half or double size blocks. Here’s an example using the Wild Flowers quilt pattern.
This kind of grid is the easiest to sew up. Just sew together all the blocks in each row, then sew all the rows together. Easy peasy.
You can fancy up the quilt design a little bit by adding in some blocks from other patterns (almost all my patterns are designed for 10-inch squares so it’s easy to mix and match) or – if it’s a quilt with faces – by adding some Fancy Doodads accessories.
This is a great way for you to add some of your own creativity, but still have a quilt that’s really easy to assemble.
What if you’re in a hurry?
You can make a quilt where you only applique half the blocks. The other blocks are just quilted. Here’s a great example of that with an Arctic Chill quilt made by Lisa.
Maybe you want to add sashing to your quilt!
That’s really easy to do – it’s still a simple grid assembly. The hardest part is the math to figure out how the sashing changes the number of blocks needed and how much fabric you need to buy – and I’ve done all that for you in this post.
Here’s a fairy traditional grid and border layout. I used the Noisy Farm pattern but left out all the half blocks, and added sashing.
You can also just add sashing between rows or columns instead of sashing around each block. I built that design into the Dinosaurs pattern.
But you can do that with any pattern!
Of course, you can set your quilt in long stripes without adding sashing – and you don’t have to have that stripe filled up with applique either. Look at the fun striped quilt Linda made with the Mix & Match Monsters pattern!
Your stripes can go tall too, instead of wide. Here’s the morning glory block from the Wild Flowers pattern repeated in tall stripes with sashing between them.
You can also add wonky faux sashing to any quilt.
All the blocks are off-kilter and irregular so it looks like it would be really hard to assemble, but actually it’s still just a simple grid. Here’s an example made by Kathleen of a bunch of blocks from the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club (plus a couple of chickens of her own design), set with wonky sashing.
Bonus! See how the tree frog’s toes hang outside of his block?
You can make any applique bust out of its block using this tutorial.
Here are a few more fun examples.
One more fun setting that looks complicated but is actually still a simple grid assembly. . .
A Polaroid quilt!
There’s a tutorial showing how to do that here.
Now, on to the most complicated thing you can do to vary the setting of your quilt (which still isn’t really hard to do). You can break up that simple grid.
You can do that in two ways.
The first way is designed into some of my patterns – using double-size blocks. You can see that in the Sea Creatures pattern.
Double-size blocks are pretty hard to do if the pattern doesn’t already include those sizes. But it’s REALLY EASY (and even more effective) to add some half-size blocks to any pattern.
Half-blocks are included in the Woodland Critters pattern.
The Beep Beep pattern too.
Word blocks like these are one of my favorite ways to add half blocks to a quilt pattern that doesn’t include them. There’s a free ABC applique pattern here that you can use to add sounds, names, birth dates, and more. Here’s a version of the Bunches of Bears pattern where I added words.
And here’s a Wild Flowers quilt with a quote added.
The hardest part about working with this broken grid is sewing the squares together, and the final quilting.
This post – How to Assemble an Alternate Grid – has a video showing how to break up that alternate grid for easy sewing with no Y-seams. That will allow you to create any grid you like, for total open-ended design.
If you’re unsure about coming up with your own layout, use these sample layouts below as templates. Just sub in your own square blocks and your own half blocks from whatever pattern you’re working with.
I’ve added some red lines showing the chunks you’ll break things up into for sewing.
Sew each chunk together as an individual unit. Then sew the units together as follows:
- Sew #3 to #4
- Sew #5 to #3/4
- Sew #6 to #3/4/5
- Sew #1 to #3/4/5/6
- Sew #2 to #1/3/4/5/6
Sew the chunks together as follows:
- Sew #6 to #7
- Sew #5 to #6/7
- Sew #8 to #5/6/7
- Sew #4 to #3
- Sew #8/5/6/7 to #4/3
- Sew #1 to #2
- Sew #1/2 to #9
- Sew #8/5/6/7/4/3 to #1/2/9
This post has a video showing how to quilt a quilt with an alternate grid, since you don’t have continuous lines crossing the entire quilt.
The suggestions here are really just the tip of the iceberg. If you do a unique quilt layout I’d love to see it! Share a photo in the Shiny Happy People group. 🙂