How to Design a Quilt: Tips and Techniques

Premium Video Preview: Log in or become a member to get full access.
Duration: 14:10

Membership Options


Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best quilting videos and projects. Get inspired and learn new quilting techniques and tips from friendly experts. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $8.00
Annually $69.00


Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium quilting videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive eight video downloads, three full-length classes three quilting guides, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $129.00

Some people may find it intimidating to design a quilt rather than simply follow a pattern. Heather Thomas shows you how easy it can be to design a quilt using nothing but graph paper and a pencil- no real math required!

Design Layout

When learning how to design a quilt, one of the first things that is important to learn are some quilt design basics. Heather explains some of these, including whether it’s better to place a large panel on the left or right and how to add weight to either the top or bottom or a design. From there she shows two design layout options for a long panel and four square blocks. She explains where and why she placed the pieces for each option.

Basic Counting – No Math

After you have decided on a design layout for your quilt it is time to determine what size the pieces of fabric need to be cut in order to piece the quilt you have just designed. Heather explains how, if you draw out your quilt design on graph paper and use the grid lines as one inch measurements you don’t need to use a calculator and do any math, you simply have to count. She begins by showing and explaining where lines need to be drawn to split a quilt design into units that can be pieced separately and then stitched together. Once all of the lines have been drawn and the pieces decided upon, Heather shows how to simply count the squares on the graph paper and add in the necessary seam allowance to get cutting sizes for all of the pieces. She also shows how to label and keep track of all of the different pieces and measurement in a quilt design to make it simple and easy to follow.