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Choosing the Right Quilt Pattern

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Here are some things to consider when selecting a quilt pattern.

We are all guilty of purchasing items on impulse. If you make the wrong decision when choosing a quilt pattern, it could cost you a lot of wasted time and money. There are many things to consider when choosing a quilt pattern including whether or not it’s the right pattern for your skill level, for your fabric or if it’s made by a reputable company.

Right for you?

Although a quilt pattern may indicate the level of difficulty, only you can gauge your specific skill set and level of experience. Consider how the quilt is cut, pieced and quilted. Is it simple strip-piecing or more advanced piecing with lots of triangles or curves? Is there special equipment required such as specific rulers or templates? Are you familiar with applique techniques required? If you are new to quilting, consider the finished size of the project. A smaller project that you can finish quickly can motivate you to keep quilting, but a large project beyond your skill level can be discouraging, causing you to abandon the project.

Right for your fabric?

Many modern quilt patterns are created for use with quilter’s ”pre-cuts”. These are fabrics that are precut by the manufacturer to reduce the cutting time for the end user. Some popular pre-cuts include fat quarters (18” x 22”), jelly rolls (2.5” strips), layer cakes (10” squares), and charm packs (5” squares). The fabric requirements and instructions for the pattern will likely cater to the specific use of these pre-cuts. To use fabrics simply purchased off the bolt keep in mind it will require additional cutting and the potential for purchasing more than the amount required in order to get enough of each fabric.

The print of your fabric should also be considered when choosing a pattern. A strip-pieced pattern may not be compatible with an obvious stripe, especially if the stripes run the width of the fabric. Scale is also very important. If you are working with a beautiful large scale print, you may want to avoid a pattern with many small pieces in favour of a pattern with nice large pieces to show off the beauty of the print.

Tried and True…

Most reputable quilt pattern companies will have their patterns tested before releasing them to the public. There are often many steps and specific measurements to be followed in a pattern. A technical error or misworded instruction can be very difficult to overcome i.e. you can’t ”uncut” your fabric. Some patterns may be produced quickly to help sell a specific fabric line, and may not be tested, so try to choose a pattern from an established company. If you’re not sure, ask the staff at the store. They would likely have heard about any potential problems from previous customers or may have even tried the pattern themselves.

Like any purchase, it’s a good idea to do your homework/research first. If it’s the right pattern for your skills and experience, will work with your fabric, and comes from a reputable company with clear instructions, the odds are in your favour to have positive results and enjoy your quilting journey.

Try some Free quilt patterns for yourself.

Free Spirit and Tula Pink have come together to create these amazing Free patterns anyone can download! Find the links to the PDF patterns below. To buy the new Tula Pink fabric “Daydreamer” featured in these quilts, click here!

Hibiscus Quilt

Imagination Quilt

Chrysanthemum Quilt

Tumble Quilt


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