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How to Calculate Quilt Yardage

A Triple Irish Chain Checkerboard Pattern

Part 2

Return to Part 1:
Calculate Quilt Yardage

Learn how to calculate quilt yardage using this Triple Irish Chain quilt pattern variation called 'Checkerboard'.

The Pattern

This is what our Checkerboard Irish Chain looks like. Black represents the scrappy fabrics; the white represents the background.

Checkerboard Irish Chain quilt, 15 by 13 blocks

It is made of two blocks: a Checkerboard (l) and an Alternate (r).


Irish Chain Checkerboard quilt block design Irish Chain Alternate quilt block design


The six unique patches are labeled. A patch of the same size, in the same block, but from different fabrics (like C1 and C2) is considered unique.

To see an example of this quilt in color click here.


Step-by-Step Chart
to Calculate Quilt Yardage

To get the most benefit from the information contained in this chart, I suggest that you open a new window to display Part 1: Calculating Irish Chain Quilt Fabric  Yardage.

These calculations are based on a Grid Size of 1" square finished.

Binding, backing and batting calculations are not included.


Block design Checkerboard Alternate
Fabric Design Background Background Design
Patch/Name C1 C2 A1 A2 A3 A4
Grid Units/Patch 1x1 1x1 1x3 5x5 1x1 1x1
Cutting dimensions/Patch 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” 5-1/2” x 5-1/2” 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” 1-1/2” x 1-1/2”
Cut Width of Strip 1 1/2" 1 1/2" 3 1/2" 5 1/2" 1 1/2" 1 1/2"
# of patches per block 25 24 4 1 4 8
Multiply by number of blocks 98 98 97 97 97 97
Total # in quilt 2450 2352 388 97 388 776
Usable Width of fabric (inches) 40 40 40 40 40 40
Divided by Sub Cut Measurement 1.5 1.5 1.5 5.5 1.5 1.5
Patches per strip 26.67 26.67 26.67 7.27 26.67 26.67
Round down to whole patches/strip 26 26 26 7 26 26
# of patches needed 2450 2352 388 97 388 776
Divided by patches/strip 26 26 26 7 26 26
Round this up to whole strips 94.23 90.46 14.92 13.86 14.92 29.85
# of strips to cut 95 91 15 14 15 30
Multiply by cut width of strip 1.5 1.5 3.5 5.5 1.5 1.5
Sub-total inches needed 142.5 136.5 52.5 77 22.5 45
Add your personal 'Fudge Factor' 11.625" 11.325" 6.625" 9.850" 3.125" 4.750"
Total Inches needed 154.13 147.83 59.13 86.85 25.63 49.75
Divide by 36” to convert to yards 4.28 4.11 1.64 2.41 0.71 1.38
Total Yards (rounded up to the nearest ¼ yard) 4.50 4.25 1.75 2.50 0.75 1.50

What if...?

UPDATE: My reader wrote back wondering what would happen if she went to a 2" grid size—that way she'd be able to use precut Jelly Rolls for the scrappy fabric.

That's an excellent question, a great idea and a smart use of her time!

USUALLY the jelly roll strips are 42"-44" long. Remove the selvedge and you should have at least 40" of usable WOF. Since we use WOF to calculate our quilt yardage, double-check the usable WOF just to be sure.

Because I'd put the numbers into a spreadsheet already, it didn't take too much effort to calculate quilt yardage again.

These are the results.


Changes to the block and quilt designs

A 2" grid creates 14" finished blocks.

Remember we want a quilt that measures at least 104"x93". Dividing 14" into both and rounding to full blocks makes for a quilt 8x7 blocks or 112"x98".

So far so good.

56 blocks to make instead of 195—lots less piecing!

The additional drop is pretty evenly distributed; 4" extra on both sides and 5" extra on the bottom or foot of the bed.

Below are diagrams of both quilts, 7" blocks on the left and 14" on the right. These images are displayed to scale so the right one is, and should be, bigger than the left.


Checkerboard design with 7 inch blocks Checkerboard design with 14 inch blocks


The only problem is that we've lost the symmetry across the width of the quilt.  You, as the designer, get to decide if this is important.

If it is, one solution is to begin and end each row with a half block. Problem solved! Calculate quilt yardage again. It should be pretty close, but you don't want to find yourself an 1" short 18 months after you'd started the quilt!


To calculate quilt yardage with these changes...

I simply plugged the new grid/block sizes into my spreadsheet. (You can open a new window to display the charts next to each other to see where the changes happen.)

This is the resulting chart...


Block design Checkerboard Alternate
Fabric Design Background Background Design
Patch/Name C1 C2 A1 A2 A3 A4
Grid Units/Patch 1x1 1x1 1x3 5x5 1x1 1x1
Cutting dimensions/Patch 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” 2-1/2” x 6-1/2” 10-1/2” x 10-1/2” 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” 2-1/2” x 2-1/2”
Cut Width of Strip 2 1/2" 2 1/2" 6 1/2" 10 1/2" 2 1/2" 2 1/2"
# of patches/block 25 24 4 1 4 8
Multiply by number of blocks 28 28 28 28 28 28
Total # in quilt 700 672 112 28 112 224
Usable Width of fabric (inches) 40 40 40 40 40 40
Divided by Sub Cut Measurement 2 1/2" 2 1/2" 2 1/2" 10 1/2" 2 1/2" 2 1/2"
Patches per strip 16 16 16 3.81 16 16
Round down to whole patches per strip 16 16 16 3 16 16
# of patches needed 700 672 112 28 112 224
Divided by patches per strip 16 16 16 3 16 16
Round this up to whole strips 43.75 42 7 9.33 7 14
# of strips to cut 44 42 7 10 7 14
Multiply by cut width of strip 2 1/2 2 1/2 2 1/2 10 1/2 2 1/2 2 1/2
Sub-total inches needed 110 105 17.5 105 17.5 35
Add your personal 'Fudge Factor' 9.5 9.25 7.63 16.25 3.63 4.75
Total Inches needed 119.5 114.25 25.13 121.25 21.13 39.75
Divide by 36” to convert to yards 3.32 3.17 0.70 3.37 0.59 1.10
Total Yards (rounded up to the nearest ¼ yard) 3.50 3.25 0.75 3.50 0.75 1.25


You'll now need a total of 8.25 yards of background and 58 2-1/2" strips (with a 40" usable width of fabric) of the design fabric to make this quilt. Backing, batting and binding are again NOT included in these calculations.


There's always a trade-off...

If you compare the charts, you'll see that for this second alternative you need 1 less yard of background. Cool beans!

And there's a lot less piecing—195blocks vs 56blocks! Even COOLER BEANS!

BUT...

...and you knew there was a but, right???!

The open square in the alternate block is four times as big now, 5"x5" vs 10"x10". Plus the A1 pieces make it even bigger. If you're happy free motion quilting or plan to send this out to have it quilted, then there's no issue. But it is a trade-off, piecing time for quilting time.

And again, only YOU, as the DESIGNER, can make that decision as to how you want to spend YOUR time and money.




A simpler example...

That was a lot of numbers to digest. If you're head's spinning. Don't give up. Just take a step back to an easier example.

One block. One patch. For less distraction visit Calculate Quilt Yardage for a Rail Fence quilt.







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