Learning to Quilt
 Lesson Two --Figuring Your Quilt Yardage!
 You've got some planning to do!! A good investment for this stage of quilting will be a pad of graph paper,   a good set of colored pencils, and a calculator!
 To figure out how much fabric to buy, you will need to know these things: What size quilt are you making? Will it drop down the sides of the bed?  How far? Will it tuck under the pillows?  How large is each block within the quilt? How will I lay out my blocks? How wide is the fabric you will be using? Am I using sashing between the rows and blocks?
 Adult Quilt Approx. Sizes TWIN 68" x 88" FULL 81" x 88" QUEEN 88" x 96" KING 107" x 108"
 Children's Quilt Approx. Sizes Preemie quilt 18" by 20"-24" Newborn baby 25" by 30" Crib 50" x 53" Toddler 35" by 45" Child 40" by 60"
 After you have these decisions made... you can proceed with figuring your yardages! Let's say as an example you have decided to make a FULL size Quilt. The pattern you are using  makes a 12" block. Using the APPROX. Quilt Size chart above you see that to make a quilt 81" x 88" ....you will need to make your quilt  about 7 blocks wide by 8 blocks long. This will give you a quilt that is actually 84" x 96"  This assumes that you have planned Block-to-block construction. If you prefer to have sashing between your blocks...you will need to decide HOW WIDE you want the sashing, and figure that in. You will need to make less blocks if you chose to have sashing in-between.

Having decided on all that...now you are ready to start doing the math!! Each block pattern is comprised of pieces. You will need to figure out how many of each piece you can get out of a yard of fabric. To do this, it is handy to know the decimal equivalents of each commonly used fabric fraction...for instance 1/8th, 1/3rd, 3/8ths ...etc...see the table below!!

 1/8 yd=4.5 inches, 1/4=9, 3/8=13.5, 1/2=18, 5/8=22.5, 3/4=27, 7/8=31.5, 1 yd=36"
Fraction  1/2 5/8 3/4 7/8 1 1 1/8 1 1/4 1 3/8 1 1/2
Decimal .5 .625 .75 .875 1.0 1.125 1.25 1.375 1.5
 or click here for a METRIC CONVERSION CHART Plan on most fabrics being 42" wide after you remove the unusable selvedge edges...and a yard is 36"long...

I'll walk you through the process of calculating one quilt, using a 12" Starflower Block as the Example.     The Supplies List for that pattern tells you that you need the following amounts for one block:

 Color 1 Color 1 needs: two strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4"
 Color 2 Color 2 needs: two strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4"
 Color 3 Color 3 needs: one strip 3-1/2" x 14" AND two strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4"

If we are making a FULL sized quilt, and doing Block-to-Block construction (No Sashings) we will plan on making 56 blocks, so will need 56 of each of the fabric units needed. Our job is to figure out how many yards that means! There are just FIVE STEPS:

Step One: First, multiply the strips/units you know you need( shown above in the Supplies List) times the number of blocks you plan to make ( 56):

For Color 1two strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4" times 56 = we will need 112 strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4"

For Color 2 two strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4" times 56 = we will need 112 strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4"

For Color 3, one strip 3-1/2" x 14" times 56 = we will need 56 strips 3-1/2" x 14"              AND two strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4" times 56 = we will need 112 strips 3-7/8" x 7-3/4"

Step Two: Next, working with one color at a time, find out how many full length strips/units you can get from each 42" width of fabric you cut:

For Color 1,  42" divided by 7-3/4" = 42divided by 7.75 = 5.42...so call it FIVE (as .42 of a unit won't be long enough to use) (Always round DOWN on this part!)

For Color 2,  42" divided by 7-3/4" = 42/7.75 = 5.42...so call it FIVE (as .42 of a unit won't be long enough to use) (Always round DOWN on this part!)

For Color 3,  42" divided by 14" = 3-THREE ( this came out exactly-we love that!) for the first unit  AND   for the second Color 3 strip, 42" divided by 7-3/4" = 42/7.75 = 5.42...so call it FIVE (as .42 of a unit won't be long enough to use) (Always round DOWN on this part!)

Step Three: Next, still working with one color at a time, divide the number of units you NEED, by the number of units you can get from each strip you cut:

For Color 1, You NEED 112  (3-7/8" x 7-3/4") strips . You are going to get FIVE from each 3-7/8" wide strip you cut... so 112 divided by 5 = 22.4  Call it 23 strips of that width you will need to cut.( Always round UP on this part!)

For Color 2, You NEED 112  (3-7/8" x 7-3/4") strips . You are going to get FIVE from each 3-7/8" wide strip you cut... so 112 divided by 5 = 22.4  Call it 23 strips of that width you will need to cut.( Always round UP on this part!)

For Color 3, You NEED 56 (3-1/2" x 14") strips. You are going to get THREE from each 3-1/2" wide strip you cut. 56 divided by 3 = 18.6 Call it 19 strips of that width you will need to cut AND you NEED  112  (3-7/8" x 7-3/4") strips . You are going to get FIVE from each 3-7/8" wide strip you cut... so 112 divided by 5 = 22.4  Call it 23 strips of that width you will need to cut.( Always round UP on this part!)

Step Four: Now, still working with one Color at a  time, MULTIPLY the number of Strips you are going to cut times the width of each strip to find out how many inches of fabric that is:

For Color 1, 23 strips x 3.875 = 89.125", or 89 1/8". Find the nearest real measurement = 90 inches of Color 1 you need to get your units

For Color 2, 23 strips x 3.875 = 89.125", or 89 1/8". Find the nearest real measurement = 90 inches of Color 2 you need to get your units

For Color 3, 19 strips x 3.5 = 66.5"  Find the nearest real measurement = 67 inches of Color 3 you need to get your first units, AND 23 strips x 3.875 = 89.125", or 89 1/8". Find the nearest real measurement = 90 inches of Color 1 you need to get your second units. 67 plus 90 = 157 inches to get all units needed.

Step Five: And now, still working with one color at a time, DIVIDE the number of inches you need by 36" ( one Yard) to find out how many YARDS you need:

For Color 1, 90" divided by 36" = 2.5 yards

For Color 2, 90" divided by 36" = 2.5 yards

For Color 3, 157" divided by 36" = 4.361  or 4.5 yards

Then when you go to buy your fabric you may want to bump each figure UP a little to plan for errors, or whatever. Add more if you want to make BINDING. Add more if you want to add BACKING. Add more if you absolutely LOVE IT :o)

 ***special note*** always round UP when buying yardage...getting a spare 1/4 yard of each fabric will hurt you far less than running out, and being unable to find the same fabric again!!!....believe me...you will find ample ways to use the leftovers!! :o) THIS JUST IN! Through the quilting forum at quilting.about.com I just heard of a wonderful web tool for you...it is on the Quiltshops.com site, and is a FABRIC CALCULATOR...you pop in how many blocks of  unfinished size, and the approximate percentage of each color, and it pops out your needed yardages! I can't swear that this works perfectly, but it does look like a good ROUGH guide! the URL is: http://www.quiltshops.com/calculator/calculator.htm  OR... here's another calculator! This one does more precise calculations based on thee real number of pieces you are going to need for your quilt! http://vrya.net/quilt/index.php
 1999MHohn http://www.quilterscache.com