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Fabric requirements for an Irish Chain quilt

What are the fabric requirements for the single and double Irish chain quilt patterns?


Fabric requirements for a quilt are based on the finished size of the quilt and for an Irish chain how big a finished square is.

Other things that figure into the computation are whether it's a single or a double, how many fabrics you'll use i.e. will you be using up scraps, and what width border(s) you want for the quilt. The final thing you'll need to know is how wide are the fabrics you're using. When I design my patterns I assume a 40" width of reality it's more like 44-45", but it gives me a little wiggle room.

Once you've determined those things, then it's simply drawing a diagram of the quilt, assigning colors/fabrics and then doing the math.

That might sound like a lot of work, but once you've worked through it a couple of times, it's pretty straight forward.

Now, as you've seen from some of the images on this site, I use Electric Quilt. Totally love the program because it's quick to draw out a pattern, quick to assign colors or fabrics, and with a click the program will compute yardage for a quilt. So far the yardages it's computed seem nicely generous, I do my own calculations by hand to double check. I add extra to each fabric depending on how many cuts I'll have to make and how scrappy I expect to make the quilt.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that for two quilts, made from the same block, but one has smaller blocks (and more of them) the smaller blocks will take more fabric, because more fabric is contained in the seam allowance.

If you've got some of the specifics, just reply in the 'comments' section below and I'll see if I can't run some numbers for you through Electric Quilt.

Just let me know.


Julie Baird

Comments for Fabric requirements for an Irish Chain quilt

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SingleChain in 3 colors, full or queen size
by: Stephanie

My friend wants a quilt in either full or queen size. She wants one background, and two colors in the 9 patch so that the color will different on the diagonals.

Thanks for your help!

From the Editor:Hi Stephanie! Just like I replied to Joanne below, in order to calculate yardage we need to know a couple of things.

How many fabrics? Three. Check!

How big a quilt is needed. There's a lot of difference between a full and a queen size fabric wise. Since you'll be making the quilt yourself, you can customize it to the size you need. Tell me in inches.

What is the smallest size cut strip that you want to work with? Personally, I love working with 1" strips—that means squares that finish at 1/2"—but most people don't want to do that. Also, the smaller the strip, the more fabric the quilt will take. That's because there's so much fabric used up in the seam allowances.

The size strip you're willing to work with also tells me how big the nine patch is.

Once I've got that information, it's a pretty simple calculation.

Just let me know.


Julie Baird

Double Irish Chain fabric Requirements
by: Joanne

I would like to make a double Irish Chain in which the negative space on the second block will used for signatures.

And I want 35 or 36 blocks for signature.

I am currently think that I want only the white with 2 other colors. Could you help me out with the fabric requirements.

Thanks so much.

Reply Hi Joanne! In order to be of any help, I need to know how big a quilt you want to make, the best size for the negative space and the smallest size strip (unfinished) you are willing to work with. All of those factors figure into choosing the size.


Julie Baird

by: Carolyn Kirchner

Hi Julie,

Thanks so much for getting back with me and so quick. I have decided to go with the double Irish Chain. You are going to laugh at this-but, I went shopping for fabric today (before I got your email) and got double if not triple of the fabric needed. OMG! Well, I guess I will be making a couple of the Irish Chain quilts, a Lap Quilt and maybe a baby quilt too. Anyway it should be fun. Hugs and Stitches.

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