How to make a king-size quilt quicker: 4 strategies

The KING-SIZE quilt. If there’s one thing all quilters can agree on about king-size quilts, it’s this:

They’re big.

Cabin Flowers quilt
“Cabin Flowers” from
English Paper Piecingby Vicki Bellino

No way of getting around it, is there?

But does big have to equal overwhelming, unmanageable, or impossible? No way! In fact, getting to the finish line for a king-size quilt is just like completing any quilt: it’s all about how you plot the journey.

With an efficient plan and a straightforward pattern to focus on, you’ll find that making a king-size quilt can not only be a smooth, streamlined experience; it can be fun and rewarding. And the reward is an especially good one: a great-big-gorgeous quilt to grace the bed!

King-size quilt dimensions? It’s best to measure. King mattress sizes start at about 76″ x 80″ (around 72″ x 84″ for a California king), but that’s just taking the surface area of the mattress into account. If you want your quilt to have a drop on the sides or bottom, measure the distance from the top edge of the mattress to the point of the drop you want and add inches accordingly.

Learn how the four designers below simplified their king-size quilts. Let their beautiful designs inspire you to start a king-size quilt of your own.

 Strategy #1: BIG blocks

Building Blocks quilt
“Building Blocks” from Think Big by Amy Ellis

With pretty 18″ blocks like those shown in “Building Blocks,” speed is guaranteed. Combine large-scale prints with lots of dots in this colorful design—you’ll need to sew only 30 blocks to king-size it. Amy even includes charts for using the same block to make a pillow, baby quilt, throw, and quilts in twin, queen, and king sizes.

See all 10 big-block designs in Think Big >

Strategy #2: Large, showy prints

Sand Dollars quilt
“Sand Dollars” from Bloom Creek Quilts by Vicki Bellino

Sand Dollars quiltIf you’ve never made a king-size quilt before, this may be the one to breeze through first. Machine appliqué or fuse 38 “sand dollar” circles for the center of this seashore-inspired quilt. Then add rounds of big, beautiful borders that show off two coordinating large-scale prints. See the entire quilt at right—no pieced blocks or points to match!

See all 14 projects in Bloom Creek Quilts >

Strategy #3: Easy repeat blocks

Vintage Memories quilt
“Vintage Memories” from Bed and Breakfast Quilts by Mimi Dietrich

Setting Four Patch blocks and squares on point brings lively movement to this deceptively simple quilt. Repeat blocks are easy to chain piece, so you can spend more time playing with color and pattern. Follow Mimi’s lead and go retro with reproduction fabrics in shades of indigo blue, Turkey red, cheddar gold, and double pink—or see where your stash leads you.

See more king-size beauties in Bed and Breakfast Quilts >

Strategy #4: Strips, strips, strips!

Quilts from All about Strips
Clockwise from top left: “Candy Bar Lane,” “Kindred Spirit,” “Good Fortune,” and “Garden Mews” from
All about Strips by Susan Guzman

Starting with strips speeds up the creation of most any quilt. Notice that the quilts above don’t have any triangles. Those large square and rectangle shapes are perfect for showing off a fabric collection you’ve been saving for something truly special. Imagine your precious collection easily stripped and pieced into a king-size bed quilt—talk about oohs and aahs!

See all 15 generously sized quilts in All about Strips >

Scrap Quilts Fit for a QueenKing-size quilts, scrappy style

Prefer a scrappy bed quilt? Create 10 gorgeous bed quilts with scrap master Sally Schneider. Each pattern in Scrap Quilts Fit for a Queen comes with instructions for making it in multiple sizes, from lap to king. Let your scraps shine with Sally’s three strategies for making scrappy blocks, including her liberating “brown-bag” method.

What’s your king-size quilt count? Tell us in the comments!

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