Calculating Quilt Sizes

I know quilt sizes can be confusing. How do you figure it out so you know what size to make?

quilt sizes

I have a confession. At the time of writing this, I have not made a quilt to go on a bed. I have made patchwork squares as part of a group quilting project, I have made patchwork applique on a jacket, I have made a wall hanging, and I have helped a friend add backing to quilts. But I have not made anything big enough for a bed all on my own.

How big does a quilt have to be to cover a bed?

Typical Quilt Sizes

A quilt can be any size. There are quilted coasters and quilts for king-sized beds. People make all sorts of shapes, too, even narrow table runners and skinny quilt wall hangings.

Mattress sizes are standardized, but the real question is how much do you want the quilt blanket to hang down the sides. Also think about if you want the pillows covered or not.

  • Baby: 30" x 40"
  • Crib: 36" x 50"
  • Twin: 68" x 86"
  • Full / Queen: 86" x 86"
  • King / California King: 92" x 108"
typical quilt sizes

I've read that longarm quilting machine users like a couple of inches of extra fabric at the edges because some size is lost in the fluffiness as the layers are quilted together.

Ideal Design Ratios

Have you heard of the golden mean? It's the most pleasing ratio found in lots of classic art and architecture. The ratio is approximately 8:13. So, if you know the width you want, multiply it by 1.625 to find the golden mean length. Or if you know the length you want, divide it by 1.625 to find the width.

It's easier to play with this in a wall hanging, but if you want to use the golden mean in a design on a quilt intended for a bed, think about centering it. You can adjust to fit the bed with extra space at the boarder. I always think of the boarder on a quilt like matting used around artwork.

And remember it's going to drape over the edges of the bed anyway.

Standard Mattress Sizes

Here's a list of the true mattress top sizes in inches, in case you are interested in calculating your ideal quilt size yourself. Add however much extra you want to drape down the sides.

  • Mini crib / Play yard: 24" x 38"
  • Crib: 28" x 52"
  • Twin: 39" x 75"
  • Full / Double: 54" x 75"
  • Queen: 60" x 80"
  • King: 78" x 80"
  • California King: 72" x 84"
standard mattress sizesPin it for easy reference!

I'm always looking these up for reference with afghans, so it's nice to have a handy list.

My Decision

Making a quilt large enough for a bed is a big project. Maybe someday I'll try it? I think I might start with a pillow cover first.

The most important calculation I need to remember right now is to always allow a quarter inch of seam allowance around every piece of fabric that I cut.

More to Explore

crazy quilt embroidery
traditional quilt blocks
quilt making
window quilts


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