Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh, I Don't Know, It's About Twin Size!

This is the answer I often got when I asked my quilting clients "How big is the top?" They wanted an estimate of my quilting charge which is determined by the size of the quilt top. Since they didn't know the measurements, I used 75" x 95" as an estimate which is my idea of a twin size. When the client showed up with the top, the actual measurements were more in the neighborhood of 88" x 102". One quilter's twin size quilt is another quilter's queen size quilt.

So just how big is a twin, full, queen, etc size quilt anyway? There is no "standard" quilt size. If you're planning a quilt to fit a particular bed, then measure that mattress and determine how much over hang you want on the sides, top and bottom.

The mattress dimensions shown below are probably good for our purposes. In order to get exact measurements measure the mattress yourself and use those measurements to make the quilt the required size.

  1. Start with your mattress dimensions. In our example we will use a full size. Add the mattress thickness for each side and for the foot of the bed. Mattress thickness can range from 4 – 22 inches so you will need to measure this yourself as well. In our example we will use a 16” thickness.
  2. Determine how much extra you want the quilt in addition to the mattress thickness. These include if you want the quilt to cover a box spring, cover side boards or reach to the floor. Add these measurements to the sides and foot of the quilt.
  3. If you want to be able to cover the pillows with the quilt or if you want to fold back the quilt at the head of the bed, add extra for that to the length measurement.
  4. Finally you’ll want to add a few inches for shrinkage due to quilting and washing. The more heavily quilted it is, the smaller the finished quilt. The batting can shrink once it is washed. In this example I used 2” for each side but this is probably a bit much and can realistically be cut in half.
 In this example I was very generous when adding to the length and width, especially for the shrinkage amounts. The final quilt size of 98" x 117" seems quite large. Be sure to give your final quilt measurement the sanity check. Drape a large tape measure across the bed to see where the actual measurements fall and adjust as needed.

Happy Quilting!
Carol Thelen

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