How to design a quilt – 3 easy ways (+ sale)

Posted by on May 19, 2014, in quilting & sewing, ,

Following a quilt pattern provides a comfortable sense of security. You’ve got a clear idea where you’re headed and instructions on how to get there. Designing your own quilt, on the other hand, leads to unknown territory. Mapping out an original quilt design can be exhilarating—and for some of us, a little scary.

Is there a middle ground between following a pattern and designing solo? We surveyed the Martingale bookshelves and found three easy, guidance-filled approaches to designing your own quilt.

1. Design your own quilt pattern using a flexible blueprint

Hailed as a timeless classic, Judy Hopkins’s Design Your Own Quilts offers a flexible framework of 12 grid-based layouts, with a total of 49 layout variations to choose from. You build your quilt as you go, from focal point to background blocks to optional borders, letting each design choice guide the next. "An original result is virtually guaranteed," Judy says. "Two quiltmakers working from the same set of basic rules will produce two entirely different quilts."

From Design Your Own Quilts by Judy Hopkins
It’s easy to create a unique quilt when you start with the blueprint layouts in Design Your Own Quilts. "Martha Washington Star" (left) is based on Blueprint 1. "Blueprints" (right) is based on Blueprint 2.

In addition to grid layouts and block ideas, Judy offers a wealth of design tips. Like this one on successfully using bright fabrics in multicolored quilts:

Choosing quilt colors - intense hues in scrappy quilts

Learn more about Design Your Own Quilts here

2. Design your quilt with 1 simple shape that yields more than 50 pattern options

Quilts on the Double makes it easy to design your own quilt pattern. Just start with 2 super-simple strip sets. Cut them into triangles. Then choose from more than 50 layout options. Even better, the leftovers often leave you with enough pieces to make a second quilt! Plus, if you’re wowed by one of the 23 gorgeous quilts shown in the book, step-by-step instructions for making them are included.

Red white and blue quilts from Quilts on the Double
Quilts on the Double design options: Starting with the same strip-unit duo and many identical fabrics yields two quilts with distinctly different looks.

Learn more about Quilts on the Double here

3. Tackle a quilt challenge

When you’re ready to move past patterns and are instead looking for ideas and inspiration, seek out Quilt Challenge. Sharyn Craig and Pamela Mostek include challenge themes to get you started, plus inspiring photos of 58 quilts resulting from the authors’ own quilt challenges. You’ll find indispensable tips on setting up a quilt challenge with one or more friends (or you can enjoy challenges solo if you prefer).

Batiks plus vintage style fabrics - from Quilt Challenge by Sharyn Craig and Pam Mostek
What do you get when you combine batiks with vintage-look fabrics? A fabulous quilt challenge!

Learn more about Quilt Challenge: “What If” Ideas for Color and Design here

What’s your preference? Follow a pattern or design your own quilt? Tell us in the comments!

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