There’s more than one way to construct a quilt, and thus more than one way to cut fabric. It’s virtually impossible to know every possible technique one might use, and to anticipate problems that may come up along the way. You may find you need more or less fabric depending on how you cut out your pattern or whether you are using a special combination sewing-cutting method which has you trim fabric after sewing.
Please remember that EQ’s fabric calculations are estimates. Many factors can influence the final yardage you need. Fabric shrinkage, miscuts due to reading a pattern incorrectly, or a slipping ruler can all lead to fabric shortage. Buying a bit more fabric than required may increase the cost but will leave you with scraps for a future quilt. What quilter doesn’t like that?
The Fabric Yardage Calculator for Pieced Blocks
- EQ adds the seam allowance size to each patch.
- For patches that can be rotary cut, it places the patches in rectangular strips as you would for rotary cutting.
- For patches that cannot be rotary cut, it places an imaginary rectangle around each patch. (See note below.)
- The yardage calculator places these rectangles on fabric of the selected width. Each time a row is filled with rectangles, it begins a new row counting the entire strip as required yardage. In some cases, there can be waste at the end of a strip.
Two Special Notes about Triangles
1. The yardage calculator treats a triangle as a half-square triangle if the two shorter edges of the triangle are horizontal and vertical, respectively.
|For horizontal quilts with pieced blocks where most patches can be rotary cut, the result is a very “tight” estimate of the yardage required. The triangles in this sample are treated as half-square triangles by the yardage calculator. The two shorter edges of the triangles are horizontal and vertical.|
2. The yardage calculator treats a triangle as quarter-square if its long edge (hypotenuse) is either vertical or horizontal in the quilt.
EQ8 does not give rotary cutting for every shape. Kites are an example. If the pieced block has many patches that EQ8 does not rotary cut, then the yardage is likely to be a generous overestimate. This is because placing each patch in an imaginary rectangle does not account for the “packing” that’s possible when you’re looking at a specific situation.
The Fabric Yardage Calculator for Applique Blocks
- EQ adds the seam allowance size to each patch.
- EQ places an imaginary rectangle around each patch.
- The yardage calculator places these rectangles on fabric of the selected width. Each time a row is filled with rectangles, it begins a new row counting the entire strip as required yardage. In most cases, there will be waste in each row, depending on the size of each rectangle.
You will find the estimates for applique to be a generous overestimate.
The Fabric Yardage Calculator for Borders and Long Strips
For borders and strip layouts that have rectangles that are longer than the fabric width, EQ8 will treat them as if they will be pieced. This also applies to the mitered borders. Here’s how it calculates: If the length of a strip is longer than the width of fabric (as chosen in the dialog), then EQ8 will divide the width of the fabric in half (i.e. 42 usable inches divided by 2 equals 21 inches) and calculate how many “half-widths” (21-inch strips) it will take to complete one strip. For example, if your layout requires 4 border strips of 52.5 inches by 2.5 inches, then it would calculate 3 21-inch strips per side.
Since it calculates 3 strips, that means 2 rows (2.5 + 2.5) so 5 inches of fabric. The second row has extra unused fabric. The calculator would use this same method for the other 3 sides of the quilt (3 x 5 = 15) and conclude 20 inches of fabric is needed to cut the borders. This would round to 5/8 of a yard. In reality, this could be cut in 3/8 yard so this example creates ample overage.
If the sample quilt needed 80 inch strips, the calculator would still conclude 5/8 yard, but there would be much less waste.
One way to help improve the estimates, is to color the borders with a contrasting color. This will separate the border yardage from the calculations for the center of the quilt. This will allow you to do the math on the long strips yourself.
EQ8 does NOT Calculate Binding Yardage
You can set a thin border for design purposes, to indicate what the binding will look like, but EQ8 will calculate the yardage for it just as it would any other border. It will not be correct for binding. EQ does not have a way to mark a border as being a double-layer of fabric that is folded to the back of the quilt. You may want to use an online binding calculator for your binding yardage estimate. Or, an alternative option for calculating yardage for bindings: Change the size of the “binding” border from .25 to 1.75 inches for a 2 1/4 inch binding strip, or 2 inches for a 2 1/2 inch binding strip. EQ8 will then calculate the yardage for the binding.