Amount of fabric to purchase for a Rail Fence pattern

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kuperesa Posted: Fri, Mar 29 2013 9:36 PM

I am a fairly new quilter, have made a few in the past, however, I want to try a Rail Fence pattern and make it for my daughters full size bed.  Can someone give me the yardage needed for all size quilts from Baby Quilt to King Size?  I just like the idea of having so many different ways of putting the blocks together and re-working the patterns to look totally different.  Your information is greatly appreciated.  Thank You!!

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Nana replied on Fri, Mar 29 2013 10:18 PM

I don't know the yardage required for this particular size or pattern.   I am one of those people that always buys 3yds of every fabric that I get.   Unless it is a fabric that I will only be using in the one project.   This rarely happens though unless it is a fabric design someone else has chosen and I don't particularly care for it.

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Julienne replied on Sat, Mar 30 2013 8:36 AM

It really depends on your pattern. I did a rail fence pattern with only 3 colors in it for a twin and that was almost 2 yards of each not including the backing. Do you have the pattern yet? ~ Julienne

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Roxana replied on Sat, Mar 30 2013 9:11 AM

According to Quilter's Cache, one 12" block requires the following yardage:
one 2-1/2" x 26" strip for each of three colors (so three strips).

From that, you have to figure how many 12" blocks would go into each of your sizes and rather or not you want a border. For example, a typical comforter for a regular twin size bed would be 63" x 87".  If you make 12" blocks and set them 4 x 5, you get a quilt top that is 68" x 85" so some border is needed. It then depends on how you cut your strips as to how much fabric you would need. Hope that helps.
Source: All-in-One Quilter's Reference Tool.


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Roxana replied on Sat, Mar 30 2013 9:21 AM

Sorry, I used the wrong measurement page for the total number of blocks and then just re-read your post and realized your daughter's bed is a full size bed. Using the same source, the full-size comforter size is 78" x 87". WIth 12" straight-set blocks (no sashing), you'd need 49 blocks, set 7 x 7 to get 84" x 84".  So some math and borders still need to be figured in. If you change the size of your blocks, the measurement changes. Someone else may be able to help you more. I agree that it's easier to figure with the pattern in hand. 

The first measurement I gave you for the twin bed was for blocks set on the diagonal. Not something I would try without a specific pattern and I've been quilting for several years. I have yet to make up a pattern on my own.

Hope that I haven't confused you more! Good luck! 

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

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Sue replied on Sat, Mar 30 2013 9:33 AM

I have a wonderful resource book that will give you whatever information you need.  It is called "Patchwork Minus Mathwork" by Linda Causee and published by American School of Needlework.  I purchased mine thru , many years ago.  I have used it so much that I now have it in plastic page holders in a loose leaf notebook. 

So in answer to your question, first you need to know what size blocks you are making.

In the Piney Woods of Deep East Texas

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Pamela replied on Tue, Apr 9 2013 12:12 PM

Can someone give me the yardage needed for all size quilts from Baby Quilt to King Size?


Billie Lauder published a small booklet titled, Picture This! Rail Fence Quilts. It provides all the information you need to make a rail fence quilt. Since Rail Fence quilts are generally made from 3 fabrics, you need equal amounts of each fabric to make a quilt. On pages 11 & 12 of her booklet, it provides the number of blocks that can be produced from a given yardage using strip pieced sets. On the back inside cover, she diagrams quilt sizes from crib to double, with dimensions, and indicates the number of blocks needed for a quilt. The remainder of the booklet has unique layouts for interesting patterns. She has another booklet about rail fence quilts, as well.

Check out her website, to purchase either copy.

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