First, let me say that this app is different from other quilting apps in that it is a planning tool for materials not a design tool.
Our goal was to free quilters from the limitations of choosing from a limited set of block sizes (9", 10", 12" etc) or just a few block designs. For myself, when I attempted to use a design app to create a quilt I wanted to make, the blocks I wanted to use were either not available or were not the size I wanted. Then, if they did have the blocks I wanted, the app wouldn't tell me how much fabric to buy. I wanted to be able to create my own designs using Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns, or the very old issues of Quilters Newsletter that I found in thrift stores where they talked about the history of a block, and how to assemble the block, but never gave information on how to make a whole quilt from that block design.
The QuiltSandwich app changes all of that. It gives quilters the freedom to create their own quilt design and then the QuiltSandwich app helps with pulling together the fabrics needed to make it.
Don’t have your design planned out?
Then, that is the first thing that needs to be done. I use graph paper and pencils to sketch my layout. That way, I can use any block size and layout (4 patch, 9 patch, 16 patch etc.) Once I have my design, I go to Quilt Planner and TAP + New Quilt to add the project. Once added, I make sure to snap a picture of my quilt design and then TAP the gold box ‘No Quilt Image’ and follow the prompts.
Have your design ready?
Because you have your design, you know which blocks you’ll be using and how many you need. Then, all you need to do is to count up the different pieces in each block (grouping pieces with the same shape and color) and plug their size and count into the yardage calculator. Let me give you an example. Let's say that I am going to make a 60" x 84” lap quilt top using 12 inch square finished width blocks. My plan is to use two different block designs — a two-color nine patch (red and white fabric ) and a half square triangle block (blue and white fabric). For this quilt to have a 60" x 84” finished width top without a border, I need 18 nine-patch blocks and 17 half square triangle blocks (5 blocks width and 7 blocks length).
Now that I know the layout, the blocks can be broken down into their individual pieces and where the QuiltSandwich app comes in to help!
First, each nine patch block has 5 red squares and 4 white squares — which means for the entire top I need 90 red squares (5 red squares x 18 blocks) and 72 white squares (4 white squares x 18) blocks. Now, for the triangle blocks. Each half square triangle block has 1 blue half triangle and 1 white half square triangle — which means for the entire top I need 17 blue half square triangles (1 blue triangle x 17 blocks) and 17 white half square triangles (1 white triangle x 17 blocks.)
Here is the piece list:
90 red squares (4” finished)
72 white squares (4” finished)
17 blue half square triangles (12” side)
17 white half square triangles (12” side)
VERY FIRST STEP - I open the QuiltSandwich app TAP Studio Planner, TAP ‘+ New Quilt’ — and I type in a name for the project and the finished size for the quilt (quilt top + border).
How much fabric do I need? (Please follow along with me using the QuiltSandwich app to figure how much fabric is needed for the 90 red squares — )
1. To find out how much fabric I need for the 90 red squares, I open up the QuiltSandwich app and TAP the Yardage Calculator button.
2. Just below the results window there are two rows of buttons. TAP PIECE on the first row (Piece, Border, Binding, Backing and Batting). It turns purple to show that it is selected. TAP SQUARE on the second row of buttons, it will turn purple when selected.
3. Now, on an iPad (or iPhone Super Calc view) use the sliders and input boxes to set the Fabric Width, Finished Width, Finished Length and Number of Pieces. Or TAP the iPad Quick Calc button to see the wheels for quick entry (iPhone Quick Calc view.) In the middle of the screen you will see three “wheels” — green, yellow and pink — each labeled Fabric Width, Finished W, Finished L and Number of Pieces. First, I set Fabric Width (For Quick Calc I use my finger to slide the green wheel to the correct setting.) I do the same to set the Finished size Width and Length to 4”. Finally, I set the number of pieces — 90 for red squares.
That’s it! The app says that I need 8 fat quarters or 1 3/4 yards of 44” wide fabric! So easy to consider different fabrics.
4. Finally, I tap Save to save this piece to this quilt project.
Want to confirm the calculation?
Using an IPad, on the right you’ll see the Cutting Diagram. (On the iPhone TAP the Scissors button (upper right) to go to the Cutting Diagram.) For 44” wide fabric, the app shows that I need to cut 8 strips 4 1/2" wide and from the 8 strips cut 90 4 1/2" squares. The Cutting Diagram shows the app’s layout for cutting the squares from each strip AND how much fabric will be left over!
I’d then repeat the process to figure out how much fabric was needed for the 72 white squares. Next, for the blue and white half square triangle blocks I’ll keep Piece highlighted in purple, but TAP the half square image. Otherwise — I follow the same process: slide to set the fabric width; set the finished width of the half square triangle (12”); and the number of pieces (17). The app tells me I need nine fat quarters or 1 1/4 yards for 44" wide fabric. And that I need to cut 3 strips 12 7/8” wide and from the 3 strips, cut 9 squares, and then cut those 9 squares in half diagonally for the half triangles. For each piece, I’ll TAP Save on either the Yardage Calculator or the Cutting Diagram to connect the piece information with this quilt project. Note: If you like to sew your half triangles blocks oversized to trim to the exact size, you can look at the cutting diagram and see how much fabric you have left over to accommodate cutting a larger half square triangle. Or you can increase the size of your triangle to 12 ½” and calculate the yardage using this size. I have been experimenting with both of these methods and sometimes one works better than the other; depending upon what I am trying to do.
Finally, I use the Yardage Calculator to add all the other parts of the quilt to the project — border, batting and backing.
Once my design and all the pieces and parts are loaded, I go to the Quilt Planner to get an overview of all the pieces and assign fabrics from the Fabric Stash (pieces, border, backing and batting.) I’ll use the Shopping List to pull fabrics from my stash, then it is off to the store to find whatever fabric I might be ‘missing’. Once I have all my pieces decided, I’ll Email the Quilt Notes, Fabric List, and Cutting Diagrams PDFs to myself so that I can print them out for easy reference during cutting (if you have a wi-fi printer you can print them directly.)
A few other notes --