Sizing Quilts & Blocks

Sizing Quilts & Blocks

DSQ quilts are sized with mattress dimensions plus a 13" drop (more or less) on the sides and foot. This size works well for a bed without a boxspring or if you use a bed skirt, but you can alter your quilt to other bed sizes or bed-dressing preferences. Crib, baby and throw quilts are more flexibly sized. The size chart below provides a good general reference for standard mattress sizes. A long measuring tape is useful for determining different quilt sizes.


Standard US Mattress Sizes
Crib 28 inches by 52-inches
Twin 38 inches by 75 inches
Full 53 inches by 75 inches
Queen 60 inches by 80 inches
King 76 inches by 80 inches
California King 72 inches by 84 inches


("Baby" quilts do not conform to a specific mattress size and instead are sized primarily for use outside of a bed. They are typically 36" - 50" in each dimension.)

Each DSQ quilt pattern includes instructions for making the quilt in four bed sizes —baby or crib, twin, queen, and king — but you can adapt the patterns to make it any size you wish. The most obvious way to make a quilt in a different size is to make more, or fewer, blocks. Sometimes this works out perfectly math-wise, while other times, you may need to add a border to get the dimensions you want. You don’t need to add a border to each side. For example, if another full row of blocks will make the quilt too long, add a border at the top of the quilt only – it will typically be hidden by the pillows and won’t affect the overall design. 

You can also enlarge or reduce the block size. Each quilt pattern includes the unfinished block dimensions – that is, the size of the block before it is sewn to other blocks to form the quilt top. This demension includes ¼" seam allowance on each side. To determine the finished size of a block, subtract ½" from the unfinished size (so a 6-½" square unfinished block will finish at 6" square). If you want to make a quilt 6" longer and wider, and it has six blocks across in each direction, simply enlarge the block pattern so it finishes 1" larger. If the quilt pattern uses math instead of pattern pieces, you’ll need to get out your calculator and perhaps some graph paper to figure out the math.

With any changes to size you choose to make, remember to recalculate your yardage requirements from the pattern instructions.

Percentages Made Easy

There is a simple trick I learned in art school for calculating percentages to enlarge or reduce that makes my surprisingly math-laden life so much easier: divide what you want, by what you have. Say you want your quilt block to measure 18" square, and the pattern is for a 15" block. Divide 18 by 15, then multiply the result by 100 to calculate the percentage. Enlarge the original pattern 120% to make a block that finishes at 18 inches.

Triangle Math

If want to resize a triangle-based pattern, or want to design your own block pattern using triangles, the math is easy. For a half-square triangle, cut a square whose length equals your finished (sewn) block or unit measurement plus 7/8 inch. For a quarter-square triangle, cut a square whose length equals your finished block or unit measurement plus 1 ¼ inches.