Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Learning to draft quilt patterns

Mary asked about resources for learning to do your own drafting.  It's really handy to know how to make a block larger or smaller, when the usual pattern seems to be based on a 12" block.  What if you want an 8" or a 14" block?  I'm going to put in some links to books I've used to learn more about drafting quilt blocks.  I'm linking to Amazon, since if it's there, I know they're still available.  But if you click the link and then purchase the book, Amazon will give me a small share of the price, so know that up front.

The first one I got was by Jinny Beyer, a classic from 1986.  I also took a class from her on drafting blocks back in the 1980s which was very helpful.  You can see by looking at some of her quilts that she's amazing at design and drafting.  Here's a link to a page of her quilts.  If you click on each quilt image, you will get a bit of back story on the quilt.  I have several of her books and have found them to be helpful to me on my journey to learning quilting.

Another excellent resource is by Sally Collins.  She also has written one for folks interested in doing small quilts,
Her website doesn't seem to have a gallery of quilts, but if you google her quilt images, you'll find some pics.

And, if you want to take on the challenge of Mariner's Compass blocks, or other circular designs, Judy Mathieson has an excellent book that shows how to draft circular, oval, or off-center patterns. is still available on Amazon, as well.  To see some of her amazing quilts, visit the gallery on her website.  Her quilts are amazing.

The important thing to remember when looking at these people's quilts is that they didn't make those gorgeous prizewinners the first time out--they put in lots of years of practice.  But you can learn from them, as I did and continue to do.


  1. Thank you!!!!

    So a good place to start is taking a block you like and redrafting to a different size?

    I started an Irish chain for my first grandson. I should take a few pictures and email them to you. It probably won't be today (and maybe not even this month) but I'd love to get unstuck. I can hand quilt. I sew clothing that can be worn in public. I refuse to believe that I can't piece a cotton pickin' quilt!!

  2. I thought I'd mention if anyone buys a book you link to, it's no extra cost to them. Amazon pays you a small commission but it won't cost your readers any extra money.

  3. Oh, Mary, I'm glad to know that about Amazon, I wouldn't want to cost anybody extra money! Thanks!

    As for that Irish Chain, that's not as easy a quilt to sew as it would appear, unless it's a Single Irish Chain. I'll show you one I made for my niece's oldest daughter a few years ago tomorrow.