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Quilt Sizes

How big should a quilt be?

Written by
Victoria Caldwell
Published on
November 19, 2021 at 4:30:00 PM PST November 19, 2021 at 4:30:00 PM PSTth, November 19, 2021 at 4:30:00 PM PST

Every time I make a quilt, eventually the topic of size comes up. Inevitably. How big or how small should it be? How many repeats of the block are needed? Does that include borders? Have I considered shrinkage?

I made a quilt for my brother (that's it in the header image!), with the intention that it would be used. He has a queen size bed… but what size is a queen quilt? The pattern worked out to 91” by 91”, but once it was quilted, bound, and washed it was a little smaller. Once it was draped over the bed, I couldn’t help but wish I’d made it at least another column wider so it came down further on the sides of the bed. Of course, the benefit of the square quilt is that there’s no specific “up” so it can be turned any direction. I’m mildly obsessed with square quilts for just this reason.

If you’re making a quilt for a call for entries in an exhibit or trying to enter it into a show, there may be specific size requirements. However, there is no exact size that defines what size a twin quilt is, or what size a king quilt is. While mattress sizes are standard, what size is a throw quilt?

If someone tells you that a quilt HAS to be a certain size... they’re not the quilt police! (There are no quilt police.) You don’t even have to make quilts rectangular! If you want to make a quilt that’s 9 inches wide and 9 feet long, go for it! It might not be great for cuddling with on the couch, but it could be amazing as a table runner, scarf, or as an art piece. When you want to use the quilt as bedding, it makes sense to reference common sizes.

When determining how big of a quilt to make, think about who the quilt is for. If you’re making a throw for someone tall, you might need to make the quilt longer. If you want it to hang above your bed, keep in mind how wide the bed is and how much room there is between the top of the headboard and the ceiling.

Some people like to do quilt size math based on the size of the mattress... then add 10-24” on each side (right and left) for drop, and 10-24” at the bottom for drop, and sometimes 6-10” inches extra at the top for tucking under the pillow. A 10” drop makes more sense on a small bed than on a large bed. Some modern mattresses are more than 10” tall!

Let’s start small.

How big is a miniature quilt?

• Dimensions are less than 24” on each side

Mini quilts typically have a maximum width and length of 24”. They could be 9” square! They could be 3” square! I’m pretty sure at that point, it’s more like a mug rug or coaster... but there’s nothing stopping you from making a tiny little quilt if you want to. Placemats would be included in this category, although they’re usually not as intricate. A common placemat size is 16” x 12".

Traditionally, "miniature" quilts were "miniaturized" versions of full-size quilts and some folks still use that definition and refer to other quilts in this size range as "small" quilts.

How big is a baby quilt?

• Dimensions range from 24-45” on each side

Consider if you intend for the baby to use the quilt on the floor as a play mat? Or will it be used to cover the car seat on cold winter days? Hang on the wall and look pretty? I made a baby quilt for my cousin, and it was 36” by 36”… which worked out great when I found a one-yard cut in my stash of the perfect backing fabric.

Common baby quilt sizes include 30” x 30” or 30” x 40” for newborns, 24” x 28” for carseats, or 45” x 45” for swaddling.

How big is a crib quilt?

• Dimensions range from 33-45" wide and 40-60" long

• Crib mattresses are 28" x 52"

Precut “crib” batting is ~45" x 60"

Crib quilts are also sometimes called toddler quilts. This is a good time to start considering standard mattress sizes.

Common crib quilt sizes include 36" x 52", 40" x 60", 40" x 40"

How big is a lap quilt?

• Dimensions range from 36-56" wide and 48-66" long

The terms lap quilts and throw quilts are often used interchangeably, but I think of lap quilts more for the use of someone in a wheelchair or sitting to keep their legs warm, and throw quilts being able to cover you from the neck down when cuddled up on the couch watching a movie or when reading a book.

Common lap quilt sizes include 45" x 60", 50" x 65"

Suggested wheelchair lap quilt sizes include 36" x 36", 38" x 47"

How big is a throw quilt?

• Dimensions range from 48-68" wide and 60-78" long

Precut “throw” batting is ~60" x 60"

Common throw quilt sizes include 48” x 60”, 50” x 65”, 56” x 70”

How big is a twin quilt?

• Dimensions range from 60-72" wide and 84-100" long

• Twin mattress are 38" x 75"

Precut “twin” batting is ~72" x 90"

Twin beds are most common for children but many older people or individuals in hospital-type beds also use twin beds. There’s nothing wrong with making a twin size quilt with the intention of using it as a large throw quilt. There may be cultural differences as well, when I visited Europe it seemed common to have two twin size duvets on a large bed instead of one large bed covering.

Common twin bed quilt sizes include 60" x 85", 63" x 87", 65" x 88", 68" x 86", 70" x 90"

How big is a XL twin quilt?

• Dimensions range from 60-72" wide and 89-105" long

• XL twin mattress are 38" x 80"

This size is becoming increasingly common in dorm room settings, so if you’re making a quilt for a college-bound student, be sure to keep this in mind. Quilts that are too large or bulky may be harder to wash.

Common XL twin bed quilt sizes include 65" x 90", 66" x 94", 70" x 95"

How big is a full quilt?

• Dimensions range from 70-88" wide and 88-108" long

• Full mattresses are 54" x 75"

Full and Double are interchangeable names for the size between twin and queen. My family has several vintage quilts that are on the smaller end of this size range, but I use them on twin size beds to have longer drape on the sides.

Common double bed quilt sizes include 72" x 90", 78" x 97", 80" x 88", 82" x 89", 84" x 90", 86" x 86", 85" x 108"

How big is a queen quilt?

• Dimensions range from 80-96" wide and 90-110" long

• Queen mattresses are 60" x 80"

Precut “queen” batting is ~93" x 108"

The queen size mattress is the most common size, so it’s also the most common size for large quilts.

Common queen bed quilt sizes include 82" x 90", 86" x 93", 88" x 94", 90" x 90", 90" x 95", 92" x 106", 90" x 108"

How big is a king quilt?

• Dimensions range from 92-112" wide and 90-116" long

• King mattresses are 76" x 80"

Precut “king” batting is ~120" x 120"

Common king bed quilt sizes include 92"x 94", 100" x 90", 104" x 93", 108" x 108", 110" x 108", 98" x 114", 116" x 116"

How big is a California king quilt?

• Dimensions range from 96-114" wide and 100-117" long

• California king mattresses are 72" x 84"

Precut “king” batting is ~120" x 120"

Common CA king bed quilt sizes include 105" x 95", 108" x 102"

Final thoughts on quilt sizes:

If you want to go BIG: most long arms have a maximum width of 12' (144") and have a canvas that’s 132" wide... so keeping at least one dimension under 120" is going to make things easier (especially if you need at least 4” extra on each side for long-arming... that 120" wide top will need 128" wide backing). The widest batting we carry is the 120” wide roll, and king-size battings are ~120"x120", so keeping the quilt smaller than that won’t require joining batting together. If you don’t want to piece backing, we have 108" wide backing fabrics that are great for projects that are 100" or less on one side. A typical queen-size quilt will use 3 yards of 108" wide backing.

What about wallhangings? Wall hangings can be any size, and typically include a sleeve (or corner pockets on mini quilts). Larger quilts typically require additional support for hanging.

Quilts of Valor specific size requirements:Quilts of Valor recommends 60" x 80". Minimum size is 55" x 65", maximum size is 72" x 90"