I have always believed that quilt patterns are more of a suggestion than a rule. Whether you want to design your own quilt top from start to finish or alter a quilt pattern to a new size, first you need to know the purpose of your quilt.


  • Is the quilt for a bed, wall hanging or something else?
  • Who is it for? If it is for their bed, do they like a lot of overhang?
  • Do you have batting already?
  • Do you have a block in mind you want to repeat? What size is it?
  • Do you want a focal point in the center of the quilt? Do you want it to land somewhere specific on the bed?

There are multiple ways to determine the best quilt size. The chart above breaks those down for you with measurements.

There are Standard Quilt Sizes used by most of the industry. These sizes are often found in quilt patterns and packages of pre-cut batting. These sizes are a combination of adding the measurement of the mattress top plus an overhang in relationship to the common sizes of quilt blocks and borders.


When planning a quilt top it is important to think about the section of the quilt that’s flat on top the mattress. This is a primary focal point. The first real quilt I designed didn’t take this into consideration. My frog and moth were visually cut in two because they landed at the edge of the mattress top.

Consult the image below. The light pink squares represent the areas of the mattress top. The dark pink represents the overhang. If all the blocks in your quilt are the same, it isn’t quite as necessary to have blocks completely on top the mattress, but if the blocks are different images or sizes, you need to determine the area of the mattress top where you want them to land. Primary images are more visible in the third and fourth rows of the light pink block section.


I like a lot of overhang on my bed quilts. I like no borders on my wall quilts. For overhang, the chart above has an 8″ column and a 12″ column. These numbers in these columns are determined by doubling the overhang and adding it to the mattress top measurement in both directions. You can make your overhang as long as you’d like. I prefer the 12″ because my hubby is a bit of a cover stealer.

An easy way to add overhang is borders. Take your overhang and choose two of three numbers that added together equal the overhang. Then cut borders to equal the total overhang on all sides. Remember to include your seam allowance.


Once you know the size of the quilt needed, you can determine block sizes. I do this by beginning with the mattress top measurement. For example, if I need a queen size quilt, I will take the mattress width of 60″ and divide it by 12″. I usually start with 12″ and adjust from there. Because 12″ goes into 60″ evenly 5 times, I would just choose a pattern that is 5 blocks across. Also because I prefer a 12″ overhang, I would add a 12″ block to either side of the quilt top. This means my quilt top would be 7 total 12″ blocks wide.

If 12″ or your preferred block size doesn’t fit evenly you can adjust the size of the block or compensate with sashing. Just need to do a little math is all.

Looking for a pattern that allows for size adjustment? Here’s Your Sign is a wonderfully diverse pattern. Adjust for a sizes from baby to king. Get the pattern here.

Here’s Your Sign 2018

I hope you enjoy planning out your quilt tops! The options are endless!

Until next time…thanks for stopping by!

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