Convert Old Quilt Patterns to Modern Strip Piecing

The passion for quilting for some people goes beyond stockpiling material for a fabric stash. Collecting other relevant items such as thimbles, lapel pins and historical pieces is quite common. Someone who collects patterns knows the selection is endless; however, it is the early published designs that are of interest here.

Often patterns that were published in the 1950's, 60's and 70's were not designed during those specific years. Many of the works of art showcased have been around forever as depicted in history books that reveal picture samples of handmade pieces. These patterns prevalently use templates in cutting the required pieces; however, this tradition need not stand in the way of resurrecting pieces of art from another era. History can be brought back to life by converting these time-honored template patterns.

For the first time fabric converter, a few basic guidelines will provide the necessary steps in making the quilt a reality. To start, select a pattern that requires the use of squares, rectangles or long strips in not more than two or three fabric colors. During any converting exercise making lots of detailed notes is essential as trying to memorize these changes, even for the seasoned quilter, opens a path for disaster.

The adaptation method used here is based on the following premise that the pattern requires 142 rectangles. Each piece will be 4 1/2 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. The total rectangles needed are to be made up equally of two different colors of fabric. The pattern asks for two yards of each color of material but does not clearly state if this is all to be used for these rectangles or how much will be left for other shaped pieces.

This type of information must be taken into consideration in using the conversion calculation guidelines provided here.

1. 71 pieces multiplied by 4 1/2 equals 319 1/2 inches of material required for one color

2. 319 1/2 divided by 40 equals 8 strips – rounded up – of material needed. The number 40 is based on the average fabric bolt width

3. 8 strips multiplied by the width of each strip which is 2 1/2 inches equals 20 inches

The result is that for each of the two colors, a 20 inch piece of material is needed.

4. To establish the fabric needed in meters divide 20 by 39 – the number of inches in a meter. Subtract this from the original total to get the balance of material left to be used for other fabric cuts.

5. To establish the fabric needed in yards divide 20 by 36 – which is the number of inches in a yard. Subtract this from the original total to get the balance of material left to be used for other fabric cuts.

Converting an old pattern gives opportunity to bring history to life and using this option for revision may help to simplify other quilt patterns that could be unclear in their fabric purchasing and cutting instructions.

Source by Ann Edall Robson

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