Thursday, March 15, 2012

Size Options

Thursday, March 15, 2012
I like size options in quilt patterns. When I used to work in a quilt shop those were the patterns I typically purchased. Most patterns don't have size options. It takes more time to work out all the numbers and more pages to give all the information.

People who know me well know I'm a math nerd. Numbers fascinate me & I like to work with them. Put all that together, and it is only logical that I'd provide size options with my Quilt Patterns.

I've received a number of e-mails over the years asking why a certain pattern doesn't have a specific size option. I've answered these e-mails over the years and decided I'd put all that information together into a post and share it with everyone. My answer is never because I didn't like that size or because I didn't feel like it. The answer varies from quilt to quilt.

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Lack of Size Options
Of the 14 quilt patterns I've released, 10 have size options. {I have a bunch of new ones in the works and they all have size options too!}

These are the 4 patterns without size options. Interestingly all of the quilts that I've made without size options have borders. I'm very particular about the scale of a border to the blocks in a quilt. Sometimes using the same size border on a quilt with twice as many blocks doesn't look right.
Dance Floor is one size because of the layout and design of the blocks. Firecracker has one size because of the block construction layout and border size. Carnival has one size because of the scale of the borders to the blocks. Plaid Parade has one size because of the fabric requirements and placement. Plaid Parade could have had other sizes & I'm considering re-releasing it with size options later this year.

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The Numbers
Sometimes a specific block size doesn't work out to a specific finished quilt size. Many people will add a border or take a border away to "make a quilt fit," but that just has never been my style. Most of my quilts don't have borders in the first place which was part of the inspiration for writing my book, Skip the Borders.

This chart shows all of my quilt patterns and the sizes available in the pattern. Most as you see have the Lap size since this is the most "flexible" size option. Bed sizes have less flexibility since beds come in standard sizes. Informal polling that I did provided information that Baby & Youth sizes were more in demand than Full Bed size. My later patterns represent that request.

Examples that just didn't work.
Off the Rail - The queen worked out to be 94" x 94" and I felt this wasn't big enough for a Queen size quilt. Radio Way - The queen worked out to be 90" x 90" which was also too small. Taffy is square and when I made it a rectangle to create the bed sizes I decided that the design needed to be square. I could go on & on, but hopefully you get what I'm explaining here.



If you want to make one of my quilts in a size that isn't listed you have a few options. Start with the directions for the size that is closest. Add/Subtract a row or column of blocks. Keep in mind that if I didn't list the size I didn't think it was ideal, but that doesn't mean you can't make it work. You can also add a border to a smaller size quilt to make it larger.

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I'd like to know your thoughts. 
Do you like having size options?
Does the inclusion of size options make you more inclined to buy a pattern vs. one that doesn't have size options?
Are you interested in Plaid Parade in other sizes & in new fabrics?
Do you want to see full size as a size option again?
What size is most important to you?

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts! I really appreciate it.



© Blog post written by Julie Herman
For more information visit http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/

38 comments:

Tiffany said...

I enjoy the size options and appreciate the information so I don't have to figure it all out on my own! Sometimes I just want a throw, or want something bigger than the pattern offers, so I love having the instructions and fabric requirements for several sizes up front. Not sure if it makes me more likely to buy a pattern but it sure makes my plotting a lot easier!
I do like seeing the quilts in different fabrics, gives me a better idea of the possibilites!

Becky M said...

I love that you do size options! I rarely make the size intended by the designer since I usually make a bed quilt. Although I've been making more baby quilts lately. My most used sizes? Baby, full, queen and king.

KristyLou said...

I do love having sizing options. I never thought about how much work goes into the design part of sizes. I am glad you posted about it. Sizing definitely helps me to buy a pattern. Although I might buy the pattern to make one big quilt, I bet you down the road I will make a smaller version of it on a whim. I love Plaid Parade and would love to see it larger. Thanks for asking for input, it really makes me believe you care about your customers!

Auntie Pami said...

I like size options. Makes the pattern more versatile. My fav size is couch potato. (Do you have dimensions for that?) Usually the designer and the cover photo are what make me inclined to purchase a pattern. Once I open it, I really like detailed directions. Plaid Parade would be fun in options. Thank you for asking our opinions. You really care about us!

krisgray said...

Size options make me feel like I get a little more for my money and gives me some flexibility. I may like a pattern for a throw size but someone else might ask for a bed size quilt.

sue said...

Size options are the exact reason I buy patterns. It is especially important to me know as I am really working hard to use up my stash. Twin and full are the sizes I use most often. Thanks for asking!

Melissa said...

I love size options. I usually buy a pattern just because I like the design. I'm never sure who/what it'll be for until I actually make it so it's nice to have the option of sizes. It gives me permission to go ahead and buy it instead of waiting until I have know who I want to make it for.

Jessim said...

I really appreciate when patterns have size options, but I'm generally good enough at math to figure out any that are missing (and if the blocks don't work out to the right size, borders!!)

For me, baby, twin, and queen are my most common sizes. I think most commercial quilts are full/queen, so I don't think it is important to have both.

I do really appreciate designers who take the time to do the math for me- especially on how much fabric to buy...

Aliceart said...

I do like size options. I can and do figure this out myself, but as I'm not a math wizard myself, I find it time consuming and not always accurate. When I pick up a pattern instead of winging it it's often because I want to play without thinking, or love someone's design. I prefer twin or full/ queen size quilts because if I'm making a wall hanging I prefer a design of my own. It doesn't bother me if the sizes are not exact because beds are so different in these days of thick mattresses, etc. I just want a well designed quilt that is balanced in size.

Tilly said...

As a quilt shop owner, I look a patterns closely when considering carrying them in my shop. I LOVE patterns with size options, and I HATE patterns that call for specific fabrics in the requirements (i.e, manufacturer skus, etc.). Of course, the bottom line in any pattern I carry is the actual pattern directions. If a pattern is hard to follow, uses outdated techniques, or lacking in direction, I won't carry it no matter how cool the design is. Frustrated customers are no fun.

And, you know I carry lots of your patterns! We love them!

Cindy said...

Honestly, it doesn't matter that much to me. Most of the time I can figure out how to make a design without buying the pattern....don't tune out yet....when I do buy a pattern it is for one of a very few reasons....

1) It is perfect for the quilt I want to make (Your zig zag quilt fit this bill for my graduation gift to my son.)

2) The pattern has been kitted by a shop owner and I am in love. (Carnival)

3) I have used the designer's patterns and want to support their work.

Added information is always good and adds to the value of the pattern.

Thanks for the fantastic work you do. I look forward to seeing more.

Laura said...

I love size options! You and Atkinson Designs are two of my favorite designers because you do that. I also like having an option for a table runner if it works ... although table runners are pretty easy to figure out. And, yes, it does make me more inclined to buy the pattern because I feel I'm getting more for my money. I haven't made a full-size quilt, so I could take it or leave it. The most important size for me is lap and/or baby. I don't tend to make huge quilts. Thanks for asking the questions!

Deb said...

Being a fellow math nerd, I tend to buy patterns for inspiration and then tweak them to fit. I have no problems making my own size if it's not in the pattern... Baby and Lap are the two sizes I make most, followed by twin.

My usual take is that I'm skeptical of a pattern that has no size options (unless it's due to a design restriction, such as Dance Floor. I've seen lots of badly written patterns, and somehow I've associated lack of options with a poorly written pattern.

As for borders, I completely agree with you that size matters, and no one-size-fits-all border will look right from baby up to queen. So, there again, I pick a border size that complements the block size and number of blocks.

robin said...

Size options are great!

Cheryl said...

If I buy a pattern, it is usually at a quilt shop. Therefore I am mostly trying to buy everything at once, so I like the size options. I don't have to spend time calculating out yardage and such. If I am at home and online, I will feel more inclined to calculate it out, draw in my sketchbook and map out cutting. It all depends on the pattern.

dolores said...

Hey kiddo, looking forward to your new patterns...as to your questions...

I most definitly like that you have size options, it makes the pattern more versatile like if I only wanted to make X number of blocks but I did want it to be bigger by putting on borders I could easily figure out how much I need for the border and the look at the size up for the backing amount, stuff like that.

Yes, I don't really tend to by many patterns in the first place but I would be more likely to purchase if there were options.

Yes, I love the full size, that's what our bed is for the moment!:)

Since I just pull a quilt through my regular machine to quilt I don't do anything much more than a full size and even then I do it in sections.

I tend to like a bed with a simple coverlet and have my quilts tossed about at the foot of the bed and there is always one on the couch and chairs so I don't really need the larger sizes...but I'm glad the info to make them are there. I have made bigger quilts, those just go to a longarmer!:)

Sallie said...

I love size options, but I will buy a pattern because I like it, not because of the size options.

CherrySprinkle said...

I bought the Carnival quilt and plan to make it for my bed and as such, I am having to do the tweaking to figure out what blocks/borders work and look best.

I am not a big fan of 'lap' sized quilts. I like a quilt I can curl up with and still stayed covered and a 50x50 is just too small for this. I would much rather have the math for a lap size and a full size and/or larger.

Segelfliege said...

Can I suggest something different? I don't really care for size options, because I usually figure them out myself. BUT I think it would be nice with some blocks to have the block in different sizes, lets say a block finishes at 8"x8" I might just like to have it at 6"x6" as well or at 10"x10" and so on. A small block might as well look great on a bigger scale. But I guess this wasn't an option you were offering.
As for the buying part, if I like the design and can't figure out how to do it (or am too lazy for it) I buy it. If it has size options or hasn't doesn't make a difference to me. I usually do the calculating myself anyway - because usually I want to make a different size than the pattern comes in anyway.
Take care and keep on going!

Mike Pearson said...

I prefer patterns that have size options and how much fabric to buy for each size. I hate having to try to figure that out. Most of my quilts I want for a bed, yet I see patterns all the time that I like but do not come in that size. So, if I use the pattern, I guess how much to buy, then I make the quilt and add rows or columns accordingly hoping that I have enough fabric!!! Anyway, thanks for bringing the subject to light!

Carol Jordan said...

I like several sizes. I have found that all beds are not created equal. This is true with the very high mattresses. I think you are doing a good job w the sizes - keep it up. Double bed hardly exists anymore, Love your style.
C in VA BCH

Lisa C said...

Thank you for asking. I like size options simply because I want a size that keeps someone warm in a recliner or on the couch. Most patterns are larger than this and "lap" versions usually fit my needs. I have been on a baby quilt making roll and have found several patterns in this size. My only pet peeve is when bloggers put out a free pattern and the requirements are incorrect or exact. I cut out fabric for one last week that called for 1/2 yard and by the time the fabric was squared, I didn't have exactly 18". Now I could say the fabric store was wrong or I could have read the pattern better. Either way I had a problem This week the requirements were for 1 yard but cutting 15 2.5" strips takes 37.5"! I have finally learned my lesson and will do my own math before I begin cutting.

Radio Way is just perfect! Love the pattern and tbe colors you used.

Alisa said...

I like size options.

I feel that if I'm paying the money for a pattern then I want the math all done for me (I am capable but that is the point of buying a pattern isn't it?)

I love all your patterns, btw but I haven't had the opportunity to make one yet!

Collette said...

It's so funny that you would mention this. I've been meaning to thank you for having the option of king size quilts. (No, seriously, I was.) Do you know how difficult they are to find? (Yes, of course you do.) And I don't love math the way that you do so I get pretty discouraged when I see a cool pattern that doesn't have options. Doing the math on my own makes me nervous. (I'm plenty smart in other ways, just not this one. No, really!)

Anyway, thanks!

Erica said...

So far, I am lucky enough to own one of your patterns (Chopsticks). I have not made it yet but I have read through the pattern and am very impressed with your work. The quality of the paper and your use of photos, diagrams, fonts, and white space make for a very readable and easy to follow pattern. I have made other patterns which I did not necessarily "love" simply because the directions were so excellent. Conversely, I have purchased patterns I really like, only to find myself frustrated at one or more of the things I mention above.

I can figure out the math, but I appreciate you doing it for us. I think in this age of online shopping, being able to click and get all the yardage information is really nice. Otherwise, it is a matter of waiting for the pattern to arive, then ordering the fabric and waiting (again!) for it to arrive before being able to construct the quilt. I live in Canada and if I get things sent to me here from the US, it can easily take 2 weeks so you can see how that would drag out for us!

I like having a variety of sizes to choose from and I don't have an opinion one way or the other about the necessity of having a full size. I bought Chopsticks with the intention of making the lap-size quilt for a friend but as of this morning, know that I will be using it to make a baby quilt as well. This is a real value-add for us as consumers and, quite honestly, I feel better re-using a good pattern than going out and buying a new one.

Your designs and patterns are lovely!

Paula said...

I like having size options. I may go back later and make a second quilt from the pattern in a different size. I always buy more fabric than is called for because, well, I am a fabric freak. I make all sizes from baby to king. My favorite size is a generous lap size.

Your patterns are fabulous and yes I would like to see Plaid Parade released again.

April (Polkadot Sparrow) said...

I don't buy patterns because I guess I make odd-sized quilts. I make mostly twin and queen sizes but both much longer than the mainstream. For example, I think my twin dimensions are around 65x108.

I really appreciate you putting different sizes in your patterns. It widens your customer base. This is great because you make cute patterns!

Patricia said...

I LOVE size options---I really dislike it that most books have all the quilts in lap size and no instructions on how to size up.
I NEVER buy a pattern unless they have size options. I make quilts to be used so usually make queen size quilt---with twin/full being the smallest size I make. I would be interested in Plaid in new fabrics.

Cynthia said...

I like having size options, but that doesn't necessarily keep me from buying a pattern. I prefer lap size and baby size quilts.

Bennett and Graves said...

I like size options because I have a difficult time figuring out how to make a different size when offered only one. That said, I totally understand how some patterns don't lend themselves to different sizes and just knowing that satisfied me too.

Also, big push for work on my Come What May quilt this weekend. I will send pics!

Jen B said...

I like size options too. I can (and have) done the math to alter a quilt's size, but it's nice to know up front if a pattern easily scales up or down and what the fabric requirements are. I also like another commenter's suggestion to to have different block sizes.

mascanlon said...

Me? I like size options. I hardly ever make lap sizes usually up to twin for throws and once in a while a big quilt.
And I like Big baby quilts, a 36in size only works for a month and then its a car quilt. And thanks for doing all the math for me!

Loretta said...

I make full size bed quilts, otherwise I make wall or maybe a throw quilt size. I do think having the sizes available would make or break me buying a pattern. But that might depend on the pattern because as you have pointed out, each pattern lends itself to an easy size change or maybe none at all. Thanks for asking.

Needle little Balance said...

Honestly I don´t care for size options. I like to figure it out by myself depending on the fabric I want to use and have in my stash and on the quiltsize I want to make and think that´s fun. I have bought patterns and books but always just used them as a starting point and never followed a pattern completely until today. I usually make bed sized quilts or quilts we use to snuggle up on the sofa while reading or watching TV. Since the man of the house is quite tall those quilts are also at least the size of single bed covers.

Carrie Siegfried said...

For me, if I find a pattern at a store and have the sizing options it makes it very easy to get enough fabric while I'm there. I could figure it out, but I have messed it up before because I felt rushed and didn't get enough. The sizes I am more interested in are Queen size and up.

However, on the flip side, if I REALLY like the pattern and it doesn't have sizing options that doesn't stop me from buying it.

Hope that helps!

Janelle said...

I love when patterns have size options. I work at a quilt shop and it really does make it easier. One person can figure all that stuff out once or a lot of people can figure it out over and over again. It also makes it more sellable to some people. While most probably buy a pattern because they like it many often do want it in a size they have in mind. It probably all comes down to this - doesn't everybody like options?!

Michelle said...

I don't love math, but if a pattern doesn't include the size I want, I'll adjust it.

Marieke said...

I definitely appreciate size options. If needed I could likely do the math and change sizes on patterns myself, but I certainly won't say no to it being done already. As others have mentioned, it definitely gives a pattern a higher re-use chance due to this.

One of the things I love most about your patterns is the fact that the fabric requirements for each size are listed right there on the back of your pattern, and I love being able to know as I order the pattern that I can immediately order the needed fabric too, rather than wait for the pattern to arrive first.

The size I presently make most seems to be lap, with baby behind. As for making Full sizes available again, even if you don't do all the math then maybe even including just some tips or guesstimates about how it could be achieved from another size might be enough? I'd personally be more likely to make a Queen than Full being that that's the bed size I have, and a Queen size would also fit comfortably on a Full sized bed with not too much extra overhang.