How to Change a Quilt Pattern

Posted by Ruth on 5 December 2012 | 0 Comments

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As a quilt designer I know it is impossible to make a quilt pattern to the size everyone wants because everyone's needs are different. However, just because a quilt is one size, it does not mean you cannot make it another.

Adding additional borders to a quilt can change the size. This is the easiest way to add inches to a quilt. Decide how much larger you want your quilt first. Then divide the difference in two to divide between both sides. For example: If you need your quilt to be 6" larger, you'll be adding a 3" border so cut strips 3" + 1/2" seam allowance. 

Renate, one of my students in Twisted Bargello, added additional borders to Cherry Blossoms to make it larger.

Renate's Cherry Blossoms

For an applique quilt, if you want to increase the design it is easy enough to enlarge the pieces. In fact, a while ago I wrote a blog article about a useful tool to help you do just that. You can find it here: How to enlarge applique templates.

Adding more blocks to a quilt or multiple borders can be a little more tricky only because you are required to do some calculations. Unfortunately, it is not a matter of simply doubling the cutting instructions to make a quilt twice as big. When making changes to a block size for example, you must first remove the seam allowance then make the calculation after which you add the seam allowance back on again.

If you are not great with calculations, then you will need some help with this. Susan Henderson did just that while learning to make Bargello in Spring in Jennifer's class. Jennifer helped her make the design she liked into a size for her needs. They repeated the design and enlarged the borders.

Susan's Spring Bargello

JoAnn Hayes enlarged her Simply Sunflowers quilt in my class after I made the necessary calculations for the background blocks and enlarged the applique templates.

JoAnn Hayes's Sunflowers

If you have an idea, why not try it. You are not only limited to changing the size of a quilt, you can also make other changes. Here are some photos of what other quilters have done.

Jennifer Houlden made a two color Color Connection quilt (original is three).

Jennifer Houlden's Color Connection

Christine Peipmeier turned her Bargello in Autumn into a tote.

Christine Peipmeier Bargello Tote

Another student added a zodiac applique to a denim jacket. Unfortunately I cannot recall her name as it was several years ago, but if you do recognise who's jacket this is, please let me know so I can credit her wonderful talent.

Zodiac jacket

How about telling me about something you've made a change to or send me a photo - I'd love to see.


Resources for this blog post:

Cherry Blossoms quilt pattern
Bargello in Spring quilt pattern
Simply Sunflowers Online Class and quilt pattern
Color Connections quilt pattern
Bargello in Autumn quilt pattern
Signs of the Zodiac quilt pattern

Read more about Jennifer Houlden and her quilt classes.
Find out more about the Academy of Quilting, online classes.

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting


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