You know how you sometimes fall in love with a particular pattern and then you find out it’s not available in your desired dimension? Such a heartbreaker. What if we tell you that there are a few ways that you can modify a quilt pattern to fit your desired dimension without compromising most of the design.

Once you have measured your bedsheets (or whatever you plan to make) size and compared it to the expected output size of your pattern, it’s time to make up for the difference. Here are a few tips on how you can do it.

## Modify A Quilt Pattern To Fit Tip #1: Add Borders

This is probably the least complicated method. You would want to keep the pattern design in the center so adding a border on all sides, with evenly sized intervals is one way to go. You can copy one design from the actual pattern and turn it into a border or you can get creative and think of your own border design to match the pattern.

## Modify A Quilt Pattern To Fit Tip #2: Add Blocks

Almost (again, just almost) all quilting patterns are based on blocks. If you are looking into extending the size of a pattern, you can add blocks of the same size as what’s in the pattern on both sides if you are looking into increasing width and/ or add blocks on top and bottom if you are looking to increase width.

## Modify A Quilt Pattern To Fit Tip #3: Add Sashing Between Blocks

When doing this, the easiest way is to add or double the size of space between each block in order for you to add sashing or “insider border”. Once done on all partitions in between all blocks, this will significantly spread out the pattern hence also increase the size.

If you are looking into doing the opposite (decrease pattern size), you can decrease the block size or omit a row from both sides but to be truthful, making a pattern smaller can be more challenging as opposed to making it bigger. However, it is still very doable, you just have to let your creative side out.

I am BEYOND useless when it comes to math, but I’ve learned a way to size blocks that’s easy, and it works! I found it on the internet a long time ago but don’t know who came up with it. You need a copier and a calculator. Don’t get scared, if I can do this, anybody can. Believe me, it IS easy. I was the kid in high school (50+ years ago) who the math/algebra teacher took pity on and gave a final grade of 75 so I could graduate – I was hopeless!

OK, here we go. Let’s say you have print copy of a 12” block, but you want to scale it down to a 10” block. To do this, you need to tell your copier what percentage to use for reduction. So how the heck do you figure that out? – beats me! Well, here’s what I’ve learned: Use the size you WANT- 10, plug it into your calculator and divide it by 12, the size you HAVE. What pops up will be something on the order of 0.83333333333 – Yikes! Well, since this isn’t rocket science, just move the decimal point two digits to the right and you’ve got 83.3%. (keep the .3 for reasonable accuracy). Set your copier to reduce to 83.3% and bingo! You’ve got a 10” block! Slide your square quilting ruler over it and you should be able to easily figure out your piece dimensions WITHOUT seam allowances. Now that wasn’t too bad was it?

But what if you want to make it bigger? And it’s a rectangular block? Eeek! Once again, here’s how it’s done. Suppose you have a 6” wide x 7½” tall rectangle block that you want to make at least 8” wide but don’t know how tall that will be and still retain the correct proportions. Scary. OK, what do you have? A 6” width that needs to be 8” wide. Divide the 8 (what you WANT) by 6 (what you HAVE) and you’ll get 1.333. Shove that decimal point over two digits and you’ve got the enlargement percentage that you need to put in your copier – 133.3% (again with that .3 thing), which will give you your 8” wide rectangle (actually 799.8, but we’re not building a 95-story skyscraper here!) So how tall will it be? In this case, if you can multiply the original height (7.5) by the percentage to enlarge it (133.3%) you’ll find out it will be a block that’s 10” tall. This same formula would also work if you were looking to make your block taller first, rather than wider. And of course, it will work for a square.

The key here is always start with the number (inches) of the size you WANT, to do the math correctly. If your numbers are coming out wrong; double check that you didn’t swap your “WANT” number for your “HAVE” number. (I goof this up regularly). Lastly, ALL these numbers are WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES! Don’t try to add them in until after you’ve sized your block and your pieces, or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Ask me how I know this…..ha-ha.

What WOULD we do without calculators?!?

Wow Suzanne! Great info!!!

I think these are all great ideas and very helpful to someone who has never quilts before or even sewn. I also think that Charlene Cairn should not be about bashing anyone. It’s truly not Gods way of doing thins. God bless you ladies

Thank you for the tips. I love the quilt pattern and was wondering if there is link on your site for me to purchase it please?

Hi Irene, sorry, unfortunately, we don’t have that pattern on our site.

Everyone has to start somewhere! Not everyone is born knowing how to quilt!! Even person number one had to learn it at some point in their life!

I am BEYOND useless when it comes to math but I’ve learned a way to size blocks that is easy, and it works! I found it on the internet a long time ago but don’t know who came up with it. You need a copier and a calculator. Don’t get scared, if I can do this, anybody can. I was the kid in high school (50+ years ago) who the math/algebra teacher took pity on and gave a final grade of 75 so I could graduate – I was hopeless!

OK, here we go. Let’s say you have print copy of a 12” block, but you want to scale it down to a 10” block. To do this, you need to tell your copier what percentage to use for reduction. So how the heck do you figure that out? – beats me! Well, here’s what I’ve learned: Use the size you want – 10, plug it into your calculator and divide it by 12, the size you have. What pops up will be something on the order of 0.83333333333 – Yikes! Well, since this isn’t rocket science, just move the decimal point two digits to the right and you’ve got 83.3%. (keep the .3 for reasonable accuracy). Set your copier to reduce to 83.3% and bingo! You’ve got a 10” block! Slide your square quilting ruler over it and you should be able to easily figure out your piece dimensions WITHOUT seam allowances. That wasn’t too bad now was it?

But what if you want to make it bigger? And it’s a rectangular block? Eeek! Once again, here’s how it’s done. Suppose you have a 6” wide x 7½” tall rectangle block that you want to make at least 8” wide but don’t know how tall that should be to still retain the correct proportions. Scary. OK, what do you have? A 6” width that needs to be 8” wide. Divide the 8 (what you want) by 6 (what you have) and you’ll get 1.333. Shove that decimal point over two digits and you’ve got the enlargement percentage that you need to put in your copier – 133.3% (again with that .3 thing), which will give you your 8” wide rectangle (actually 799.8, but we’re not building a 95-story skyscraper here!) So how tall will it be? In this case, you multiply the original height (7.5) by the percentage to enlarge it (133.3%) and find out you’ll get a block that’s 10” tall. This same formula would also work if you were looking to make your block taller first, rather than wider.

The key here is always start with the number (inches) of the size you WANT, to do the math correctly. If your numbers are coming out wrong; double check that you didn’t swap your “WANT” number for your “HAVE” number. (I goof this up regularly). Lastly, ALL these numbers are WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES! Don’t try to add them in until after you’ve sized your block and your pieces, or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Ask me how I know this..…..ha-ha.

When I first read this I thought, “I’ll never figure this out!’ and put it away. Then I came across it later, sighed, and pulled out my little calculator to give it a try.

Wow, I did it! And it worked! What WOULD we do without calculators?!?

I have done all three, depending on the pattern. I am currently making a lap size pattern into a king size quilt. I ended up photocopying the layout page, making four copies, and spun them around a small centre block to get the right size. Next time I’ll just use a pattern for the actual king size! 🙂

Karen, I recently took a class offered by my quilting guild taught from Leah Zieber on “Orphan Blocks”. Yes, it is a little work but it is so worth it. It took about a dozen or so layouts before I came up with a design I liked. She cuts blocks in half then lays them side by side or fourths then rotates them and on the diagonal if they are big. You will lose points and sometimes corners. She adds plaid between blocks or cheddar or red, whatever the quilt “speaks”. It is a fun and enjoyable exercise if you have that frame of mind. Nothing is calculated. She just adds fabric then trims it down. If I could attach a pic of my creation, you would be amazed. Now, the top is not going to win any competitions but the love felt for those blocks that didn’t quite make the grade, were made as samples, given to me, purchased at a garage sale or our annual guild fabric sale is very evident. It’ll be a comfy throw, if I ever get the top quilted. Good luck and enjoy the process.

Maybe add filler blocks that could even out your rows. If they are plain fabric, easy. There would be room for quilt stitching to shine. Thank you

I think there might be someone out there that is totally new to sewing and may want to start to think about making a quilt. In all my yeas in nursing, I have been really surprised how clueless some people can be. The same can be said for those just wanting to start out in quilting.

Helpful, I’ve have done both 1 and 2 but not #3 for increasing the size. I will have to keep this one in mind too.

These are the ways I know how to increase or decrease the size of a quilt. I have one that I want to make that has boggled my mind ….. It has a group of different sized blocks that is laid out with sashing in between. The size of the blocks ranges from 3 X 3 in. to 6 X 8 in. and everything in between. I want to make it with different butterfly fabrics in the blocks. The sashing is (finished) 1-1/2 in. I have been letting this sit in my brain for the last couple of months waiting for the “answer” to just appear! Yeah, right. Anyway, short of adding more blocks and doing all the necessary calculating to make it all work is likely the only real answer. It would be a lot of work for this old brain ………

Check out the Gypsy Wife quilt…will give you ideas on how to make the different sized blocks work in a quilt.

Change the finished size of your sashing or add borders ?