January 10, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

How to Make a Patchwork Quilt Part 2 – Designing Your Quilt

Once you’ve got your 70 squares cut out the next part of making the quilt is to decide where to put each fabric square in the design. The best way to do this is to lay the squares out on the floor in the 7 x 10 layout of the quilt like this;


Stand back and take a look to see if it ‘looks’ right. If you’ve a mixture of fabrics this is the best way to decide how you’d like your quilt…

You may want to adjust some of the squares as there may be tow patterns the same next to each other, you may have a cluster of similar colours that need to be split up or you just can’t explain it but you don’t like some of the squares near each other! Change them around until you like what you see because this will be how your final quilt will look. Don’t worry if this takes you some time, it always takes me ages as I make a decision and then make it again many times!

If you have 2, 3 or 4 fabrics you may want to formalise your design a little more. If you’ve 2 fabrics you can do this;


This will be much quicker to design!

You can also play about with the designs like this…


Or this…


This with 3 colours…


Another one with 3 colours…


Using 4 colours. I think this looks a little like tartan!


The possibilities and combinations are really endless even with simple squares. If you’d rather draw them out like I have to give you a rough idea then that can be a quicker, and easier way, to ‘see’ your quilt.

Once you have a final design (and you can’t wait to get going as you’re all very excited –or is that just me?) then unless you have a large room that you can leave the squares on the floor and know that no one will touch them, you’ll need to be able to pick them up and take them to your sewing machine. In doing this though you may forget which squares need to go where. Before you pick up any of the squares look at your quilt and think of it as a grid with each row down being a letter of the alphabet and each row across being a number. A bit like this…


Using pieces of paper write each code for each square and pin it to the fabric so when you collect all the pieces in you’ll know exactly where they should all go. You can use ordinary pins or a safety pin if you’d rather. I then collect them in rows, so I’ll have all row A together and B, C etc. so they are all ready when I begin to sew.

So in this tutorial we’ve used our cut-out squares to make our design depending on what we’d like (remember it’s your quilt so there is no right or wrong when it comes to design) we’ve then made a grid and coded each square, writing this code on a piece of paper so we are able to remember where each square should be in the quilt. (I’ve just been given another tip by the lovely Kate Linehan -you can always take a photo so you have a perfect picture of how it should look!)

I hope that all fairly simple for you, do ask questions if it’s not.

Next week we will begin to sew them together. This really doesn’t take too long so your finished quilt top should be ready in about 2 weeks!

Click on this link for part 3.



  • Just to let you know that I have just started my first ever quilt. In fact, my first sewing project.

    Your instructions made me feel confident enough to have a go. I have the material, cut the squares and I will plan my design tomorrow. This is going to be a great success or a total mess. But I am going to give it a go.

    Thank you.

  • Hi.

    So I am trying this- crickey it looks big laid out. I think my cutting is a little out so thought I might cut out a square 20x20cm and fold the squares round and attach with paper clips and iron. Do you think this will work?

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