How to resize a quilt block, i.e., make a 6" block into a 12" finished block

by Anne Alexander
(Tucson, AZ, USA)

Anne writes...

How would I change the cutting requirements listed for a 6" block pattern to make it a 12" block?

I thought I could double the measurements, but it was much bigger than 12"!

Julie replies...

You were very close in your reasoning...I think this will be one of those V-8 head-thunk moments...nothing complicated once you've been through the calculations a couple of times.

The Theory

The simplest example is a one patch block.

For a 6" finished one-patch block you'd cut a 6-1/2" square. Right?!!

If you wanted to use that same 'quilt block pattern' but for a 12" finished block, as you experienced if you double the cut size of 6-1/2"x6-1/2" you get 13"x13"—which is too big for a 12" finished block.

The reason is that you are also doubling the seam allowance, so the patches will always come out too big if you're enlarging the block and always too small if you're reducing it.

To get the proper size patch double the finished size of the 6" block's patch and add 1/2" for seam allowances.

The math for this one-patch block is...

( 6" x 2 ) + 1/2" = 12-1/2" square

...and we know that to be correct.

A 'real block' example...

To practice resizing a block, go to our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library. Choose a block from there that has rotary cut patches like the Old Maid's Puzzle (shown right).

For most of the Cutting Charts I've included the 'grid size' that the block is drawn on.

If there's a block drawn on a 3x3 grid (like Old Maid's) with a grid size of 1-1/2" it means the size of each finished square is 1-1/2". There are a total of nine 1-1/2" squares in the 3x3 grid. The finished block measures 3 x 1-1/2" or 4-1/2".

If you need a square patch equal to 1 grid square (like the purple corners), the calculation is 1-1/2" + 1/2" or 2". (That 1/2" is for seam allowances.)

If you need a half square triangle unit that filled 1 grid square, the calculations are 1-1/2 + 7/8" or 2-3/8" square. The 7/8" is for seam allowances if you're using our Technique #1: Sandwich or Quick Pieced Method. (If you choose a different method to make the half-square triangle (check out our page Beginner Quilt Block Patterns and Units for other techniques.)

If you want to double the finished size of the block to 9" (4-1/2" x 2), then double the grid size or 2 x 1-1/2" or 3". Base all the calculations to determine the cut size of the patches off of 3".

Does that help? I sure hope so. Learning to identify and calculate the cut sizes of the patches in a block is the first step to calculating how much fabric you'll need for your own designs or customizations of others' patterns.

I'm working on a short ebook that you'll be able to download that takes you through all the steps of resizing blocks with a variety of examples. It's not hard, just takes some time and then the resolve to write everything down.

It never fails. You get excited about a project. 'Work like crazy to get to the point where you can start cutting and piecing and life intervenes and it all comes to a screeching halt!

Fast forward a couple of months. Now you can't remember where you left off. Taking lots of notes is a BIG help! (I so live that life!)

If you're interested in the ebook keep your eyes on the newsletter, I'll announce it there when it's complete.

Thank you for your question. It's a good one!

Piecefully,

Julie Baird
Editor

Comments for How to resize a quilt block, i.e., make a 6" block into a 12" finished block

 8" Sunflower Pattern by: Diana I need to make my 12" Sunflower......(total including petals & background) Sunflower pattern into an 8" (finished) Sunflower. the center of the Sunflower is 6" X 6" all the other blocks which are the petals are 2" X 2", which does NOT include the 1/4" seam allowance.Please forgive me for my not so great way of trying to explain that I need clear measures instructions on how to make this 12" quilt block into an 8" Block.I would be grateful for any help you can give me.DianaFrom the Editor:Hi Diana,I do understand what you're trying to do. But without a look at the pattern I'm flying blind for suggestions to get you there.The crux of the problem is that an 8" block is 2/3 or 66.66% of a 12" block. The standard formula's for pieced units (i.e. HST, QST, etc) are all based on 1/8" increments. If there's a strip around all sides of the actual flower to frame it, that would give you some wiggle room. Usually, I'd have you draw the block on graph paper and determine was the grid is (i.e. 6x6 squares, 4x4 squares, etc.). Next you'd divide 8 (the finished block size) by the number of grid units on a side. That tells you want size each square is. Finally, you'd choose the technique to make each of the patches to determine your cutting dimensions. But again, 8 ÷ 12 doesn't give us rotary cuttable numbers.The other alternative is 'possibly' to paper piece. The final way is to create templates.I wish I could be of more help. Piecefully, Julie

 Ebook by: Anonymous Hello Julie,Thank you so much for your help. I would love the information about your ebook. Blessings!Cindy

 Ebook resizing block by: Dixie I would like that E Book as well.Here is my email address ddoodle1@sbcglobal.net

 Lots of help by: Anonymous So happy. Found this page! I would love the e-book! I am in many quilt block swaps with various sizes needed. Had no clue how to get desired sizes. I want Bo learn many new blocks as I am a new quilter. This I'll help me out sew much! conniem@jmmurray.com

 ebook (resizing blocks) or others by: Claudia Just found your website! You're a Genius! Thank you so much for the video (Sharon Schamburger(so?) on basting!! My first line of quilting on my new Juki T98Q was puckered... top has been pin basted for a while. This will solve my problem & having double knee replacement makes floor basting much more difficult! (Sorry I 'talk' too much:) If you're still sending out your ebook, my church group (new quilters) and I would be grateful!!! alainajo@yahoo.comGod bless you for your quilter's spirit of sharing & all the work that goes into it!!Claudia

 E-Book on Resizing Blocks by: Joanne Donovan I would be interested in your e-book, also! I've only been quilting for a year, but I'm hooked for good!! Who says quilting doesn't work your mind?!!! Thanks!! JDonhorses@Live.com

 resize a block by: D.Wait I can't wait for your eBook on resizing...thank you so much.Xlntgram@aol.com