Blog | Pacific Rim Quilt Company Maximize your fabric

Applique Blog

Hawaiian Quilting, 2 Fabric Applique, Lessons and so much more!


Maximize your fabric

Writing pattern instructions is not easy. Instructions need to be accurate, concise and complete. Providing information about a specific size for a Hawaiian quilt pattern introduces a number of variables. What we have done on our wall-quilt patterns is to assume that most suitable cotton fabrics average about 42" wide. Since Hawaiian quilts are square (with exceptions, of course) we state that the quilt is 42" square. We have designed the pattern to fit on a piece of fabric that is at least 42" square, but the fabric could be larger.

What we don't explain in the pattern instructions, but most of you can figure out, is that if your fabric is wider than 42", you can just square up your piece of fabric according to its width, and that will be the size of your quilt. If your fabric is 45" wide, then your quilt can be 45" square. If your fabric is 52" wide, then your quilt can be 52" square (if you purchase enough yardage, of course). The size of the applique does not change, but the amount of fabric extending out from the applique to the edge of the quilt gives you more opportunity to show off your echo quilting, beautiful fabric, or add more applique of your own design.
Breadfruit Hawaiian Wall Quilt PatternHere is something else to consider: If the pattern you have chosen has an applique border that extends all the way to the edge of the quilt, like the Breadfruit at left, then it is your applique fabric that will determine the finished size of your quilt. In this case your applique fabric can actually be a little larger than your background fabric and it will still all work. Your background fabric needs to be the minimum size stated on the pattern, but the applique fabric can be larger.
Notice also, that we have a few Hawaiian quilt patterns that show a size of 36" square (Silversword is one example). These can also be made larger, but we have designed these specifically to fit those very special pieces of fabric that you love, but you only have one yard. A 42" pattern, in most cases, will not fit on a 36" square of fabric, but a 36" pattern will fit on anything larger than 36".
TIP: Keep your background (or in some cases, as noted above, the applique fabric) as large as you can until after you have finished quilting. Then cut just the minimum needed off the sides to square it up. This is what we mean by maximizing your fabric.
The same principle holds true with large bed-sized patterns. The size on the pattern indicates the minimum size for your fabric. But you can make it as large as you want, and as large as your fabric allows. Our DVD "Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong" has a good demonstration of how to sew the panels of fabric together to make your large bed quilt.

Reminder: I have all of the fabric requirements listed on the website. You will find it in the blue bar at the bottom of every page.

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