|How do I know how much fabric to buy to make a quilt?|
How do I know how much fabric to buy for a twin size bed with five different colors, and do I start from the center of my quilt of from the outside?
The best book in the world for helping you determine fabric yardages, in my humble opinion, is Judy Martin's TAKING THE MATH OUT OF PATCHWORKQUILTS, a thin paperback published by Leman Publications. It's currently out of print, but is well worth searching for via Ebay and other used book sources. Even as a designer and pattern editor, I still turn to it over and over.
Having said that --for size, measure: *the top part of your bed. Start in the middle and measure from side to side horizontally. Make a second measurement vertically. *one side of the bed horizontally and vertically. Measure from the edge down to the bottom of the bed frame. Double these measurements to reflect both sides.
Now add each horizontal measurement together. Add from 5-10", depending on whether you want a dust ruffle or not. This is how WIDE your finished quilt should be, approx. Now add each vertical measurement together. Add 5-15", depending on whether you want a 'tuck-in' for your pillows and no dust ruffle. This is how LONG your finished quilt should be. You might consider just making the quilt a general twin-size, so you can use it easily on more than one style of bed. The twin is not as generic as the queen size, so I'd recommend checking a few quilt pattern books, then averaging those sizes out. (The queen is easier; it's usually pretty close to 84" x 96".)
For yardages on cutting the quilt patches: measure the size of one pattern template. How many can you fit in a row across a 40" width? (a good generic width for most fabrics) How many are needed for the entire quilt? Divide that figure by the 'row' figure, and you know how many inches you will need. Multiply that by 1.05, just incase, and turn into yardage. (36" is one yard, 18" is 1/2 yard, 9" is 1/4yard, and so on.) Figure this way for EACH pattern template, and remember to include every fabric each template uses.
As for batting and backing, add 4" all the way around the edges of the finished quilt, to allow for shrinkage and mistakes during construction. You'll probably have to piece together two or three lengths of fabric for the quilt backing, unless you use one of those huge quilt backing fabric lines now out. Jinny Beyer has a particularly nice one from RJR.
NOW, after having said that --
For the 'down and dirty' approach! (You'll most probably have extra fabric left this way, but you won't have to figure so long) If you have five different colors, figure how often each appears on the surface of the top. Most quilt tops of this size contain 12 yards or less of fabric...if each color figures out the same, then buy 2 1/2 yards of each. If one takes up 50% of the quilt surface, then buy 6 yards of it, and correspondingly less for the others...I'm sure you can see what I'm doing here. For borders, buy 3 yards -- you'll have enough to cut all four border strips without having to piece strips together. But as I said, the odds are excellent that you'll have fabric leftover -- maybe enough to make another quilt! Good luck, and look for the Judy Martin book!