Posted by Jenny Wilding Cardon on February 25, 2015, in quilting & sewing, bed quilts, quilt roundups, quilt tips

The KING-SIZE quilt. If there’s one thing all quilters can agree on about king-size quilts, it’s this:

They’re big.

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“Cabin Flowers” from English Paper Piecing by Vicki Bellino

No way of getting around it, is there?

But does big have to equal overwhelming, unmanageable, or impossible? No way! In fact, getting to the finish line for a king-size quilt is just like completing any quilt: it’s all about how you plot the journey.

With an efficient plan and a straightforward pattern to focus on, you’ll find that making a king-size quilt can not only be a smooth, streamlined experience; it can be fun and rewarding. And the reward is an especially good one: a great-big-gorgeous quilt to grace the bed!

King-size quilt dimensions? It’s best to measure. King mattress sizes start at about 76″ x 80″ (around 72″ x 84″ for a California king), but that’s just taking the surface area of the mattress into account. If you want your quilt to have a drop on the sides or bottom, measure the distance from the top edge of the mattress to the point of the drop you want and add inches accordingly.

Learn how the four designers below simplified their king-size quilts. Let their beautiful designs inspire you to start a king-size quilt of your own.

 Strategy #1: BIG blocks

“Building Blocks” from Think Big by Amy Ellis

With pretty 18″ blocks like those shown in “Building Blocks,” speed is guaranteed. Combine large-scale prints with lots of dots in this colorful design—you’ll need to sew only 30 blocks to king-size it. Amy even includes charts for using the same block to make a pillow, baby quilt, throw, and quilts in twin, queen, and king sizes.

See all 10 big-block designs in Think Big >

Strategy #2: Large, showy prints

“Sand Dollars” from Bloom Creek Quilts by Vicki Bellino

If you’ve never made a king-size quilt before, this may be the one to breeze through first. Machine appliqué or fuse 38 “sand dollar” circles for the center of this seashore-inspired quilt. Then add rounds of big, beautiful borders that show off two coordinating large-scale prints. See the entire quilt at right—no pieced blocks or points to match!

See all 14 projects in Bloom Creek Quilts >

Strategy #3: Easy repeat blocks

“Vintage Memories” from Bed and Breakfast Quilts by Mimi Dietrich

Setting Four Patch blocks and squares on point brings lively movement to this deceptively simple quilt. Repeat blocks are easy to chain piece, so you can spend more time playing with color and pattern. Follow Mimi’s lead and go retro with reproduction fabrics in shades of indigo blue, Turkey red, cheddar gold, and double pink—or see where your stash leads you.

See more king-size beauties in Bed and Breakfast Quilts >

Strategy #4: Strips, strips, strips!

Clockwise from top left: “Candy Bar Lane,” “Kindred Spirit,” “Good Fortune,” and “Garden Mews” from All about Strips by Susan Guzman

Starting with strips speeds up the creation of most any quilt. Notice that the quilts above don’t have any triangles. Those large square and rectangle shapes are perfect for showing off a fabric collection you’ve been saving for something truly special. Imagine your precious collection easily stripped and pieced into a king-size bed quilt—talk about oohs and aahs!

See all 15 generously sized quilts in All about Strips >

King-size quilts, scrappy style

Prefer a scrappy bed quilt? Create 10 gorgeous bed quilts with scrap master Sally Schneider. Each pattern in Scrap Quilts Fit for a Queen comes with instructions for making it in multiple sizes, from lap to king. Let your scraps shine with Sally’s three strategies for making scrappy blocks, including her liberating “brown-bag” method.

What’s your king-size quilt count? Tell us in the comments!

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45 Comments(leave a comment)

I have personally made about 8 king-size quilts from start to finish, including quilting on my longarm. I have also quilted, bound, and labeled about 20 king-size quilts for other people. They are huge, heavy, and cumbersome b to handle, but some of the most impressive quilts I have worked with, were king-size.

—Dianna on February 25, 2015

I have made 2 for myself and have quilted at least 5 for others. I find the finishing and quilting starts to get too dragged out. I swore off making another one for myself until I saw some of the designs in the featured books. Maybe I could make ONE more "do-able".

—Colleen on February 25, 2015

Wow – are you kidding? I’ve only made one baby quilt and a few quilted postcards! A king quilt is on my to do list after I’ve had more experience. These are breathtaking!

—Tanya on February 25, 2015

I have made two King size quilts in my lifetime. And one only took about a week and the other a year! The first was more in line with the squares idea spoken about, but the second was set on point. Wow! And a bazillion pieces to boot! I think a bigger pattern next time might be the answer! Or get a smaller bed ;0>

—Adeline on February 25, 2015

I have not made a king size, but I have one in that I’m working on when I have time.

—Jenelle Boxberger on February 25, 2015

I’ve made 5 king quilts. Whenever I see a pattern, I automatically figure out how to make it into a king version because king quilts simply look gorgeous on a big bed.

—Fran on February 25, 2015

I have pieced 2 king and king plus quilts. The first was my first quilt and was a tee shirt quilt with alternating info blocks, all blocks were 16 inches. Second one was a quilt designed and offered free by e-quilter that was selected by my daughter-in-law. It had 3 borders and was backed with a jelly-roll quilt. We first had to add borders and then take some of them off…it was the king plus. Both were machine quilted by a friend as I only have a regular machine. I really enjoyed both quilts as they were labors of love for 2 of my favorite people. Seems my quilts grow and have a life of their own.

—Becky on February 25, 2015

I have only done one for a gift. Couldn’t wait to get it done. I used a pattern with very big blocks so it went pretty fast.

—Debbie on February 25, 2015

Never, because I’m intimidated by the size. I do need one; wish the Sand Dollar was a kit.

—Bunny Ryan on February 25, 2015

I have made 14-15 king size quilts, all just using my very basic sewing machine,Husquerna Lily. I make a big quilt in sections, usually seven or eight parts, which I finish one at the time. Free-motion-quilting each ready-made part, before I sew them together and makes the framing. Not easy, – much hard work, but I manage. My quilts are beautiful, and I find it very satisfying being able to do this only by help of my old sewing machine!

—Eva Nygaard on February 25, 2015

I have only made one king sized quilt and swore that would be all.But seeing all of the beautiful patterns I’m beginning to think I may make one more! I love the Cabin Flowers so much.

—Bonnie Burrough on February 25, 2015

I have made two paper-pieced king quilts. They were made of six inch squares in Civil War reproduction fabric. My only disappointment is that they are too big for me to quilt myself, so I must have them quilted.

—Kathy Biciocchi on February 25, 2015

Don’t know how many king sized quilts I’ve made over the years, but have just completed a top and have it ready to quilt. Having a frame for my quilt machine that accommodates 120″ is a definite plus. It’s tight but can be done. Our king quilts have to be made wider than they are long. Not all king beds are not equal. Such a huge variance in sizes.

—Cindy on February 25, 2015

I am working on my sixth king sized quilt for my sons wedding in June. I don’t mind the piecing but I tend to procrastinate on the quilting; just because logistically it is more difficult to do. I have several family members with king sized beds.

—Jeni on February 25, 2015

I made a king-sized quilt after making only a couple of smaller quilts. I wanted one for my bed that would hang down to the floor and hide the covers that keep us warm. It was a Giant Dahlia which is appliqued in the center of the quilt. Then I chose a couple of borders to add interest to it and quilted it on my home sewing machine. I started in the middle and moved to the edges and it wasn’t that hard. I just patiently kept going and got it done. Then I bound it a put it on the bed. I think it is prettier than some of the quilts and comforters that are available in stores.

—wanda on February 25, 2015

Two King size. Love the blue and brown first quilt.

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—Linda Christianson on February 25, 2015

Making a king size top is not a problem, it’s quilting one! I’ve finished six, including four for soldiers. When I made one for my nephew in the Army, he requested that I make one for each of his "guys". When I asked how many guys there were and he said twelve, I said no, just one for him. Twelve? Ugh!

—JoAnne T. on February 25, 2015

Zero. I have made lots of queen sized though. Now that I have a sewing machine with a deeper throat, it’s much easier to quilt them too! And I love my stitch regulator too! Makes it much more enjoyable.

—Sara on February 25, 2015

I’ve made about 4 King size quilts. Here in Queensland, Australia, you don’t so much want extra warmth as extra coverage during the (so called) winter. I usually add a few extra blocks to get the side drop that ensures a good twist and turn during dream-time without loss of quilt coverage