How to Measure for a Bed Quilt

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For the Quilt2018 April Project, we are focusing on Traditional Bed Quilts. When making a bed quilt, it’s important to consider the bed. There’s nothing nicer than a custom-made quilt that perfectly fits your bed.

Before measuring a bed:

  • Dress the bed – Be sure to leave any padding, mattress pads, sheets, and blankets on the bed that will be there when the quilt rests on top. It’s important to have the pillows handy too.
  • Test-drive the bed skirt – If you want to use a special bed skirt with the quilt, put it on the bed before measuring. This alleviates any surprises later.
  • Consider the position of the bed. For example, if the side of the bed is facing the door you may want the quilt to go farther down the side of the bed.
  • Consider added headboard or footboard. If you will be adding a headboard or a footboard to your bed later, take this into consideration when measuring for a quilt.

Measure the width and length of the top surface of the bed. Measure from edge to edge. Stop at the edge and do not add the drop to your first measurement; it will be added next.

  • The top-of-the-bed measurement is an important part of your quilt design. This is the portion of the quilt that will be viewed on the top of the bed. 
  • The edge of the top-of-the-bed is a good place to consider a frame, such as borders, color shifts, or changes in block direction for the drop.

Measure as far down the side of the bed as you want the quilt to drop from the top edge. This is your drop measurement.

  • To figure the width of the quilt, double the drop measurement and add it the top-of-the-bed width.
  • The quilt drop is an important design space. Consider the direction of blocks, the design of the borders, and the finishing effect along the bottom.

Measure the foot quilt drop, how far down the end of the bed you want the quilt to drop from the top edge.

  • If a bed as a footboard, Decide how far you want the quilt to go down the end of the bed.
  • Do you want the quilt to tuck under the end of the mattress? If so, add 4-6″ for a mattress tuck.
  • Add these additional inches to the length of the quilt.
  • If the end of the quilt will be hidden, this is a good place to personalize the quilt with an embroidered message, signature, or date in the bottom border.

If you use pillow shams or decorative pillows, then you are finished measuring your bed. If you want a pillow tuck, add an extra 6-10″ for a pillow tuck.

When planning a bed quilt there is much to consider. If you are unable to measure the bed, use this chart as a helpful reference.

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