Inspiration & Tutorials

Fabric Requirements for MEL's Practical Joy

favorite fabrics mel's practical joy moda grunge Apr 17, 2023
MEL's Practical Joy

We are so excited to introduce our new Block of the Month quilt for 2023...

MEL's Practical Joy

As always when contemplating a new quilt, one of the most often asked questions is, "How much fabric is needed?"

The answer to this question can be found right here, in the fabric requirements!

This is often followed by, "Why does it take so much fabric?"

Let me answer that question for you below!


MEL's Practical Joy might be considered a "quilt-as-you-go" project.

Each block is completed separately: 

  1. The border is pieced and added to the main block background.
  2. The machine embroidered applique is stitched onto the main block background.
  3. The block is layered onto batting and backing fabric and the quilt sandwich is quilted in the hoop.

When completed, you have a beautifully soft quilt that looks as good on the back as it does on the front.

When MEL's Practical Joy is finished, the front will show off gorgeous machine embroidered applique in a riot of color while the back will show off the gorgeous quilting.

So why does it take so much fabric?

  1. It's an applique quilt! Anywhere there is an applique shape, that means two layers of fabric.
  2. There are some detailed borders on this quilt. The pink and green borders contain pieced triangles, and that adds quite a bit of fabric.
  3. It's a quilt as you go quilt. So instead of adding 3"-4" all around the outside of one large piece of backing fabric, 3" has been added all around the outside of a number of smaller pieces of fabric. That can add up quite fast. AND... you will have some decent sized pieces of fabric left over that can be used in another project.

When you look at the fabric requirements document (here's that link again), you can see exactly how the fabric is being used. 


If you'd like to find some ways to cut down on the amount of fabric used, here are some suggestions:

  • Use the same fabric for all block backs.
    • Use 8 yards of 44" wide fabric.
    • Use 3.5 yards of 108" wide fabric.
  • Use the same fabric for all block backgrounds.
    • Use 4 yards of 44" wide fabric.
  • Use fabrics out of your stash for the borders and appliques. 
    • Choose 16-20 colors in a rainbow - or whatever makes you happy!


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