How many quilt squares should I buy and other tips

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Never know how to figure out how many quilt squares to purchase for your quilt project?  New at quilting?  A common mistake with new quilters is this:  ONE set of 40 4" squares will not make a quilt!  The following instructions include how to figure out how many squares you need for a quilt with a border and a pre-counted guide for quilts without a border.

Instructions for figuring how many squares you will need

  1. Figure out the measurements you want for your completed quilt.  For new quilters, drawing a large box on a piece of paper helps!  For these directions lets say that you are making a lap size quilt that is 45x60 inches.

  2. Will you be putting a border on your quilt?  Draw another box inside of your beginning box.  If you will be making a quilt with 2 borders, draw another box inside the second box.  I recommend a quilt with a border because you won't have to deal with all the seam allowances from the squares when you put your binding on.   

  3. Mark your measurements inside each box going vertically and horizontally.  For instance, your first border is 4 inches, your second border is 3 inches.  Most people make the mistake of counting only 7 inches for the border.  BUT, you have 7 inches on both sides which would total 14 inches.  So a quilt that is 45x60 is now 45" minus 14" by 60" minus 14", which leaves 31" x 46" area for your squares.

  4. If you are purchasing 4" squares and use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, you would divide 31" by 3.5 which equals 9 (rounded up) squares across.  Divide 46" by 3.5 which equals 13 (rounded down) squares down.   

  5. Multiply the 2 answers 9x13 for a total of 117 4" inch squares.  You would need to purchase 3 packages of 40 4" squares.  After you sew your squares together you add your borders!  When cutting your strips for your borders, make sure and add 1/2" for seam allowances or your quilt will be smaller than you want it to be!

  6. If you are not using a border you would divide 60" by 3.5 and 45" by 3.5.  That would be 17 squares down by 13 across for a total of 221 squares which is 6 packages of 40 squares with some left over (enough for 2 small 9 patch pillows!)

  7. If you are using 5 inch squares, use the above instructions but use 4.5 instead of 3.5 when calculating.  6 inch squares, use 5.5


Quilts without a border

If you aren't using a border, the following will be helpful in figuring how many 4" squares you need.  These sizes are for comforter size quilts, not bedspread size.

  • Crib size (42" x 50") = 168 squares (12 across by 14 down)
  • Twin/single size (69" x 90") = 520 squares (20 across by 26 down)
  • Full/double size (84" x 90") = 624 squares (24 across by 26 down)
  • Queen size (90" x 96") = 728 squares (26 across by 28 down)
  • King size (104" x 96") = 840 squares (30 across by 28 down)

Tips for purchasing quilt squares

  1. When purchasing good quilt squares, look for nice clean cuts with no fraying in the picture.  If you are sensitive to odors or have allergies, auctions that say "pet-free and smoke-free" environment are ideal, especially if you are thinking of giving your project as a gift.

  2. Some sellers don't have access to high quality cameras or scanners.  If you don't like the picture or can't see it well, don't be afraid to ask the seller to email you a picture for a closer look.

  3. If you purchase "pre-washed" fabric, make sure that any extra fabric you use at home is also pre-washed.

  4. Watch for shipping charges.  Because of the time and effort involved in packaging quilt squares, it's not unreasonable for 1 package of squares to be in the neighborhood of 2.00 for shipping and handling.  Priority, international, and special shipping requests will add to shipping fees.  Don't expect "actual" shipping from every seller......"handling" can include supplies such as envelopes, tape, baggies, washing/drying the fabric, etc.

  5. Check to see if sellers will give discounts or "combined" shipping for multiple actions purchased.  Most sellers will not give discounts if you choose to pay for each auction separately instead of one payment for all purchases....this is not an unreasonable request as there are extra fees and time involved with multiple payments.

  6. Make sure to check feedback before making a purchase or placing a bid.  As with any type of auction, the feedback score will give you an idea of the quality of squares that you are bidding on.  Keep in mind that not all negatives or neutrals are the sellers fault.  It's important to read feedback and contact the seller if you have any questions about a particular comment left in their feedback.  There's always two sides of a story!

  7. My Ebay auctions

  8. Please enter whether this guide was helpful or not in the box below!  If you still need help figuring out what you need after reading my quide, just ask!  I will be happy to help!  Please make sure and ask for your 10 per cent discount on your first order!

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