Ask Jo: Making Quilt Larger than the Pattern

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days…

Donna asked:
Have you ever developed instructions for a queen size Bands of Color or Brick House?  I love your blog!!  Thanks.”

The short answer is, “No, I haven’t but I’m willing to give it a shot”.

This is our Bands of Color quilt…This is the original quilt has gone by two different names so don’t let the name trip you up.  It’s called Rainbow Connection as it appeared in our book.  (You can buy our book with the pattern HERE.)


The pattern is written for the throw size quilt.  To make it queen-sized would be no problem.  Just keep adding white and then another border of color until the top is to the size that you need.

I didn’t go and find the book but if I remember correctly, it’s 70″ x 70″.

I would continue adding the bands in the exact same order.  If you add an orange and yellow band then the quilt would be, 90″ x 90″.  If you added two more beyond that, green and teal, it would be 110″ x 110″.

For every band of color, 6″ is added to the quit.  For every white border, 4″ is added to the quilt.

Everyone has a different definition of what a queen-sized is so if someone would like to make it larger, they’ll need to do the calculations themselves.

On the Brick House quilt… This is our quilt.  You can find the free pattern for it HERE.

As is, it is 72″ x 90″.

My personal idea of a queen-sized quilt is around 100″ x 100″.

If we are working with that in mind, and know that the finished blocks are 4″ x 6″ then we can do a little math.

If it is 72″ now, we can add 7 more rows (7 x 4 = 28) and get 100″ wide.

We can add two more blocks to each column.  Currently, the quilt is 90″ long…by adding two blocks ( 2 x 6 = 12) we’d have 12″ more making it 102″ long.

Some people don’t like square quilts and prefer them more rectangular.  In that case, you might want to add another block to each column.

If quilt math challenges you, it’s okay….it still challenges me some too.  Here is a little more to help you learn to figure it out yourself.

Here is what I do.  I figure out the block size.  For us and the Brick House quilt, it is 4″ x 6″.

Ask yourself, “how WIDE do I want my quilt to be?”  We’ll say the answer is 100″.

Take 100 divided by the WIDTH of the block.  For us that is 4″.  100 divided by 4 is 25.  So we need 25 columns to make a 100″ wide quilt.

Now ask yourself, “how LONG do I want my quilt to be?”  We’ll say the answer is 100″.

Take 100 divided by the LENGTH of the block.  For us, that is 6″.  100 divided by 6 is 16.6.  It doesn’t come out evenly.  We are going to round up to 17.

So to make the quilt 100″ x 102″, we’d need to make 25 columns and in each column, we would need to have 17 blocks.

Here is a completely different scenario
If you have an 8″ x 8″ FINISHED block and you want a quilt about 90″ x 90″. Divide 90″ by 8″.  The answer is 11.25.  I typically round up…I like large quilts.  I’d get 12 by rounding.  Then I take 12 x 8 and get 96″.  If the quilt is square as we suggested you have to make 144 blocks that are finished at 8″ square to get a quilt that is 96″ square.

If borders are involved there is more math….we’ll save that for another day should a question arrive about that.

I hope that helps Donna.  I would love to see pictures of your quilts when they are finished.  I love sharing them here on the blog.

If you have a question you’d like answered, or if I’ve missed your question, as always, drop me a note at

3 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Making Quilt Larger than the Pattern”

  1. Judith Fairchild

    Good teaching. I like the suggestion for making the ribbon quilt larger. To make a twin size. I would have to make the square quilt simply with at least a 15 inch drape on each side. I’m just guessing right now.

  2. Judith Fairchild

    I did check twin size XL would be 80″ so my ribbon quilt would be 12 rows by 14 rows slightly longer than 80″
    It will be a quick fun quilt.

  3. I am ever so glad my grade school teacher really taught the math!! I rarely buy a pattern for the directions :) I buy it for the picture. I can pretty much do the drafting either in my head or on a scratch paper. Saying that I have your book and LOVE it!! I also have so many of your quilts floating around in my head waiting to jump to the cutting table…thank you Jo!

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