Ask Jo: Making a Quilt Smaller

Often times blog readers ask questions that I think others might be interested in as well.  I answer them on the blog.

We’ve had tons of love over our quilt  “On the Bright Side” that was featured in American Patchwork and Quilting.  If you are an Instagram user and follow All People Quilt, you’ve likely seen that some people have already finished their quilts!  That’s ambitious!!


A question about the quilt came in from Cookiewoje.  She askes:  “My question is about our bright side quilt pattern I found in American patchwork & quilting magazine by better homes & garden February issue. I’m interested in the pattern but it’s for a king size quilt I would like to sew a queen size. Do you have the dimensions for that size or way to figure it myself? Any help will do.”

It’s ironic that this question came in as we’ve also had so many people comment and say thanks for making this king sized.  It goes to show that people make quilts their own.

In answer to Cookiewoje’s question…UGH.  It’s a bit hard.

There’s the quilt all laid out.  (photos courtesy of American Patchwork and Quilting)

The block for this is 12″ finished.  The quilt is symmetrical.  For every block that comes off of one side, a block has to come off the opposite side.  So the 96″ quilt would go down to being 72″.
APQ0218_CV1DG-3Personally I think a queen size is bigger than that.

SO…that leaves another option.  Make the center of the quilt.  Make it the 72″ x 72″.  That will be a 6 x 6 setting meaning 36 blocks.

Next you’d need to make some pieced “borders” to bring the quilt up to the size you want.  You’ll have to lay the quilt on the floor or design wall.  You will have to look and see what type of square or star is needed to complete the pattern.  Each square of the quilt is 3″ finished-so cut them at 3 1/2″.  You will need to work symmetrically so for every square you add on the side you will need to add it to the opposite side…same for top and bottom.  If you use this method, all of the white pieces will be 3 1/2″ square.

Adding one border will bring the quilt to 78″ x 78″.
Adding two 84″ x 84″.
Adding three 90″ x 90″.

I hope that helps….Adjusting patterns isn’t always easy.

10 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Making a Quilt Smaller”

  1. Personally, I make my quilts about 98″ x 98″ for a queen bed. It acts more like a spread, but there’s less arguing over who stole the blankets. We slept in a California king once in a hotel. Might as well have had separate beds it was so large! (We’re both kind of short, but still…)

  2. Jo (and Cookie)—If the size of that quilt is 96” square, I would leave it that size. I agree with Tina, I make my queen sized quilts that size. If you do the math, a queen mattress is 60” x 80”, so with a 96” quilt you would have an 18” drop on the sides. With today’s extra thick mattresses you need that to cover the mattress and box spring. Personally, I make my king quilts about 120– I like a long drop.

  3. If the length of the quilt was okay, maybe you could stop the width by leaving off the last four rows of squares on each side. The body of the pattern wouldn’t change.

  4. My question is: i am sewing a rag qulit and i know i have to wash and dry it, do i wash the quilt by itself or with a few towels. Thank you

  5. Beautiful quilt and very generous and helpful article describing the ways to change the measurements of On The Bright Side or any other quilt. Thanks

  6. Thank you, thank you, Jo and ladies for you r comments. I am single and have a double size bed and always like queen size spreads and quilts. That is my reason for this question. The answers all of you gave me are terrific.


  7. What an amazing quilt… Those little stars are just precious! I would just make the size indicated in the pattern… I prefer a larger quilt… and we have a thick mattress with a 3 inch memory foam on top of it… it annoys me when the the blanket hangs below the quilt when I make the bed.

    I let my subscription for this magazine run out , because I rarely make anything from the magazine… but I may need to hunt down this issue. Why do I feel the need to cancel a subscription to a magazine because I don’t make any of the quilts…. I need to look at it as entertainment, research or therapy,…

  8. Pingback: Ask Jo: This and That | Jo's Country Junction

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