February 10, 2017


Will I have Enough Fabric in a Kit to use my Studio 180 Design Tools?

You have purchased the perfect Kit! The pattern had lots of Flying Geese and V-Block® units in it. But ooohh . . . the construction methods included expect you to be perfect. You look around your sewing room for alternatives and you spot your Wing Clipper® and V-Block® tools. Bingo! An easier way to create that perfect quilt.

But there is a question lingering in the back of your mind when you find your tools . . . is there enough fabric in my kit to use my Wing Clipper and V Block? Depending on who created your kit and how it was put together the answer is maybe yes, maybe no. I know you'd prefer to hear a simple yea or nay, but the answer all depends on your kit.

If your kit has everything all precut for you, your strips and squares, then you likely will not have enough fabric to use our tools to make your quilt. For example, there's just no way you can turn a 2⅞” square into a 3” square when making Flying geese our way. For this kit you wouldn’t be able to convert and use your tools. So when you purchase a kit if you think you might want to use your Studio 180 Design tools, steer clear of kits that are pre-cut.

Now, kits assembled with yardage could allow you enough fabric to change your construction method. Depending on how the pattern tells you to construct the units our methods might take slightly more fabric or less fabric than the methods originally written in the pattern. 

There is something you can do as a quick check to see if you have enough fabric to use our methods. Add up all the strips that the pattern has you cut from one fabric. Then, compare that yardage with what is provided in your kit. Do you have more fabric? If so, Yahoo! Now you will be able to follow the instructions that came with your Wing Clipper® and V-Block® to oversize the units in your quilt kit. 

I have only purchased two kits in my quilting lifetime. One was so closely engineered that even a single cutting error would result in a fabric shortage for my project. The second kit had almost four extra yards of fabric that I paid for and did not actually need to complete the quilt top. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to tell when you buy a kit if you will have enough fabric to use an alternative method of construction until you open it up and look it over. Interestingly, one of my Certified Instructors told me recently that she has purchased and “Tuckerized” many kits and has always had enough fabric to finish the quilt.

This same question of whether or not you'll have enough fabric also applies to pattern yardage requirements. In most instances I have found that pattern designers tend to round the number of yards or inches up a slight bit to give you some wiggle room in case of a cutting error, but not all writers work that way. We at Studio 180 Design tend to round our absolute minimum fabric requirements up between a ⅛ to as much as ¼ of a yard. This allows a bit of leeway if and when a mistake happens. Since most of our oversizing is minimal (⅛ of an inch to ½ of an inch larger than other methods), you should find no need to up your yardage purchase from the listed requirements on most patterns. And if you do plan to round your purchase amount upward, you certainly won't have to upsize by much.  

If any of you have an opportunity to visit me at a show near you (you can check my calendar of events here!), please stop by and ask to see how much fabric is in my trash bag. You'll see that even at the busiest shows, trimming down dozens of units every day for 9 hours a day four or more days in a row will leave me with less than a baggie full of trim-aways.

So in short, there is no easy answer to your question of "Will I have enough fabric?" especially when purchasing a kit. It is a great way to get exactly the fabric that you want for your quilt, but it may lock you into a method of construction that can't be changed.

What has been your experience with kits? Do you love them or hate the stress of possibly running out of one fabric or another? Do you know who assembled your kit and how generous they are with their yardage measurements?  Are you willing to use construction methods that may not give you the results you know you can achieve with the Studio 180 Design approach? All of these are thoughts to be considered the next time you are faced with the question of whether or not to invest in a fabric kit for your next project.