Quilt Strip Calculator

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Earlier this week we got a HUGE box of fabric that was given to us for charity quilts.  We were so excited that we have more goodies to work with and in turn can help more people.  The box was filled with polka dot fabric and the fabric is a linen.  I am a bit of a purist and didn’t want to mix the fabric with cotton as I want to make sure they’d wash up the same.


There are strips and strips and strips all a variety of sizes.  Our daughter quickly said-  “It would be perfect for quilt racing!”

Have you made a quilt race quilt before??  What you do is sew the strips together end to end.  Then you bring the long snake ends together, cut it in half and sew them together.  Keep cutting in half and sewing together.  If you haven’t made one before or want directions, here is a YouTube video that shows you how.

I thought the idea was wonderful so I started cutting strips.  The only problem…some strips were 2″ – some 2 1/2″ and some 3 1/2″.  So my question…how many strips did we need to make a charity quilt???  Well, Kayla is a math and computer whiz so she came up with a tool to calculate how many strips and it’s the neatest thing ever!!

Simply type in the information and it will let you know how many strips you need to cut to make the quilt size you want.  She is so ingenious that she embedded the calculator into this post and made it available for everyone to use.  Try it.


We put in the information to make a 60 x 80 quilt using 3 1/2″ strips….It says we need 42.666 strips total to make it.  Just round up and cut 43 strips.

We did end up with one problem though...this calculator will tell you how many strips BUT you can’t sew them like you would a jelly roll race quilt.  If you keep sewing in half, in half and in half, you’ll get an awkward size.

Here is our suggestion.  Sew the strips together making a long-long snake.  Then cut 18″ off one end.  Cut that long snake in half and sew the two pieces together.  Now cut the strips the width you want the quilt to finish at…then sew those strips together.

Feel free to stop back and use the calculator anytime.  We are putting a link in tutorial section on the right hand column of the blog…just look for Quilt Strip Calculator.


With the calculator to do the math, it was easy to quickly bundle up enough strips to make a 60″ x 80″ quilt race kit thanks to Kayla’s math and computer skills.

You can find MANY other free patterns on our site by looking under the free patterns tab at the top of the page under our banner.  Stop by again…

51 thoughts on “Quilt Strip Calculator

  1. Elaine M

    Very nice and helpful. Should look into making this an APP and selling it or packaging it with other sewing APPs.

  2. Dana D

    What process would you follow to sew them? If you sew the strips end-to-end then in half like the original project you are limited to certain dimensions, correct? Using your figures and the original method, I think you end up with a quilt that is 55″x112″. I ran into this problem when trying to convert the directions to make a queen-sized quilt from a jelly roll. Or have you come up with alternatives for sewing them together? I would LOVE to know how!

  3. DJ

    Oh my goodness, you wouldn’t believe the convolluted way that I figured out what I needed a couple years ago for a race quilt that I made. thank you so much.

  4. MaryBeth

    followed your link from Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice page. Your daughter is BRILLIANT!!!! Thanks for so generously sharing it with us.

  5. Janet in PHX

    I’ve made these several times. The quilt grows from 2 rows, to 4, 8, 16, 32 …
    Doesn’t the length of the quilt have to be 16 or 32 times the finish width of the strips? If you are going to use 2.5″ strips, it will end up being 64″ long (32 x 2″). It will only be shorter or longer if you add or remove strips after you make this last turn.

    Can you add a calculation for how long the initial single strip sewn together should be so we can use our scraps, which are varying lengths?
    I usually work backwards to figure out how many inches I need in order to receive a certain width quilt. The constant is that it will be comprised of 16 or 32 rows.

  6. Nancy Woodcock

    I have worked the numbers every way I could think of and I still can’t come out to 42.666.
    What do you divide by what?

  7. Laurie Giddings

    I can’t seem to get the calculator to work. I have tried linking to it and all I get is a “picture” of the calculator. Nothing is interactive. What am I doing wrong? I think this would be just what I am looking for! I have friends who have made this quilt and it turns out too long and skinny for my tastes. To be able to figure it so it is 60″ x 80″ would be GREAT!

    Thanks, Laurie

  8. Vicki Walker

    I can’t get the calculator to work. I see I am not the only one. Am I doing something wrong or what? Can you please help me?

  9. Darlene Campbell

    This is amazing. I have been fiddling with pen and paper for days, trying to figure out the best way to make the quilt larger. And I could have done it here in 20 seconds. Thank you for sharing this great tool.

  10. Janelle

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing your time and talent to gals like me who need gals like you! Thank you.

  11. Shirley Rowls

    Thanks for sharing this calculator. I teach for JoAnns Fabrics and this would be so helpful. We just finished doing a Jelly Roll quilt. This would have been so helpful. Is there a way you could make it available as a app or something that we could put on phone and have it for class.?


  12. Kristie

    I can’t use your calculator no matter where I’ve pulled it up. So how do I get the right link. About to make my first strip quilt. I’m a beginner to sewing. This is frustrating. I just need to know how many jelly rolls I need to a queen to king quilt.

    Thanks so much

  13. Carolyn

    is the width in the calculation with or without seam allowances
    my unseen strips are 2.5 but do I use that or 2 allowing for 1/4′ seams

    same questions for length of strips

  14. Erin

    Hi, Thank you for posting the calculator, but it didn’t work for me. The quilt came to an odd size instead of the measurements I plugged in. I used 2.5 inch strips and 1/4” seams. I just double checked using the calculator and I used the correct number and length of strips. Just thought I’d share–in case it helps others.

  15. Jaci

    Would you create a calculator to determine the size of a quilt, knowing the # and size of each strip that you have?

    For example, I have 34 strips – 2.5 inches each. What size quilt is created? Thanks.

  16. maureen sloggie


  17. Aina Kalns

    Thanks for the calculator, it came in handy to figure strips for a queen size bed. Actually, I like your method better for sewing the strips together. Being a perfectionist (not by choice, it’s a genetic trait), I can choose which strips to sew next to each other.

  18. Debbie White

    Hi i would love to make a quilt cover for a queen bed useing
    Jellyrolls by just sewing all the strips together
    I would like to know how many jelly rolls would i need for this
    I know you can buy jellyrolls of 20 and 40 strips
    I would like to know how many of 40 strips
    Do i need
    I was going to sew all the strips together for the top
    Hope someone can help me
    Thank you Debbie

  19. J Cochran

    Debbie White- I made a Queensize (90″x96″) jelly roll race quilt and used 109 strips. I divided the strips into 3 piles and sewed them into three sections that were 90″x32″. Then I sewed the three sections together to make the 90″x96″ quilt. I cut my own strips, but you can buy 3- 40 strip rolls and you will have a few extra. Sew each roll into a 90″x32″ section and then sew the sections together.

  20. J Cochran

    maureen sloggie- My notes say that if you have 6 different fabrics (for example) you will need 1 1/3 yds of each fabric to make a 90″x96″ Queen size quilt. So that would be 8 yds total? Plus 3/4 to 1 yard for the binding.

  21. Diane

    Hello. Could you please let me know how the access the calculator. I only get a picture of it. Thank you very much. :)

  22. Tuesday

    Hi Jo, love the idea of using your strip calculator but like others mention in the comments I’m unable to access it.
    Please could you advise of direct me to a link.
    Thank you
    Tuesday Greenidge

  23. Sandi

    A few years back, I had used the calculator and really, really liked it. I saved the link and even sent it to a friend. Then this year I wanted to use the calculator, pulled up the link and it didn’t work. I just kept circling back to the original article that said to click on the link on the right hand side of the page.

    Is the link now gone or has it changed? How can I get a link that works?

  24. Jeri

    I followed the directions above to find the calculator in tutorials and the link took me back to this same post where I cannot find a usable calculator?

  25. Kristina

    I was SO excited to find this…I am not a math person! But now I can’t get the calculator to load. I tried both Firefox and Chrome. Any chance you can get this up and running again?

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