Full Layout Concept 3
Quilts

Commissioned Quilt Design Process

Thursday morning I made a fabric order for a commissioned quilt, and I thought I would describe the process I went through this week to get to this point.

I was approached by a friend on Monday, and he asked if I could work with him to design a quilt based on a pattern that he had used to make some beautiful, custom, handmade cutting boards. He was a bit torn, though, because he had seen a few of my other recent quilts and was really interested in some of the fun, retro, space age/rocket themed fabrics currently available.

Pattern inspiration

Tumbling blocks! I was excited to show him that a quilt could combine his two ideas by using fun rocket prints and the tumbling block pattern. I immediately gravitated back to the Riley Blake Rocket Blast Navy print and sent some links to the entire Rocket Age line.

Initial Fabric Thoughts

As I have previously discussed in my post about the design process for the Solar System Quilt, I have used Microsoft Paint pretty extensively to give customers an idea about how the fabrics selected will work together and be used in a quilt pattern. About 2 weeks ago I was sorting through my box of fabric patterns and I came across an old Christmas gift from my mother-in-law: EQ5! I had forgotten that she wanted to support my love of quilting and had purchased it as a gift for me years ago. I never had “time” to install it or play with it (or even really consider designing my own quilts), but now I do! This is an old version of software, and I am using Windows 7 on my home computer. Windows 7 did not exist at the time the software was made. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I tried installing it – and it installed without a hitch! I even walked through a tutorial or two before I got sucked back into sewing. Well, on Monday I decided to jump in with both feet and figure out how to draw my own blocks to create the tumbling block pattern and import fabrics to be able to show concepts for this project!

My first attempt at creating the tumbling block was not quite right, but I was able to get some general concepts across and show how the fun Rocket Age prints could be combined in the tumbling block pattern.

Layout Options - First Attempt

Layout Options – First Attempt

My customer liked the way the bottom grouping of fabrics worked with the border, so I refined my attempt in EQ5 and created a full layout with a realistic tumbling block pattern. Note that I even created a tiny final “border” to discuss binding fabric.

Full Layout Option 1

Full Layout Option 1

Time had progressed to Wednesday morning when I sent the full layout option above. I was really excited about how things were going, and so I went to my stash to practice cutting the strips and blocks (I took notes to make sure I get it right with the real fabric!). Then I worked through piecing, making sure that measurements from EQ5 matched up with what I was going to sew!

Tumbling Block Piecing Practice

Tumbling Block Piecing Practice

I sent my customer the image of the practice tumbling block, and he got excited about different fabric options. Up until that point, I had only sent him links to various fabrics in the Riley Blake Rocket Age line. So I went back and pulled other space themed fabrics and generated a 9 more tumbling block fabric combinations/ideas on Wednesday evening. From those ideas, I created 2 more full layout options for the patterns that I thought “popped” the best with the tumbling block design.

Full Layout Concept 2

Full Layout Concept 2

Full Layout Concept 3

Full Layout Concept 3

My customer selected Concept 3. Armed with the knowledge I gained from practice piecing, I was able to get a really good estimate for fabric for the quilt, and on Thursday morning I made the fabric order for the quilt! We also decided to use the Rocket Ads Red print for the backing, which I think will be super fun and vibrant.

Final Fabric Pull – Space Age Tumbling Block Quilt

The quilt as designed should measure approximately 63″ wide by 76″ tall prior to quilting and washing, with the goal of keeping it around 60″ x 70″ for a large lap sized quilt perfect for sharing and snuggling. I am really excited for the fabric to arrive and to start putting it together!

0 thoughts on “Commissioned Quilt Design Process

  1. Thank you for sharing your process. The quilt will be stunning and you will have an amazingly satisfied customer!!

  2. Liz says:

    Love seeing this process. Are you going to charge for all this design time as well? Or just construction time?

  3. Joanna says:

    I really need to do something with my Rocket Age layer cake! That ad print is a perfect backing.

    It was interesting reading about your process with your customer, so thanks for sharing!

  4. Vera says:

    Those fabrics are really great. I’m loving your space theme! I love thumbling blocks. I only made some formed as hexagons so it is interesting to see other way as well.

  5. Renee says:

    Oooh what a fun quilt! The 3rd is my favorite too!

  6. Cheryl says:

    This is going to be a great looking quilt! Thank you for sharing the process of designing, it is always so helpful to learn about each quilters process.

  7. Thanks for sharing your process. I’ve added a tiny border to EQ designs to simulate the binding too. It gives a great visual. This will be a great quilt, and I love the cutting boards your friend made.

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