How to Make Tied Quilts and Homemade Quilting Frames

Learn how to make tied quilts for quick, durable and soft blankets during those cold winter months. And learn how to make a quilting frame if you’re just beginning or already a veteran quilter.

| January/February 1975

Blankets and quilts are expensive at the store, so why not make your own? Learn how to make tied quilts for warm and unique additions to your home. Homemade quilting frames are easy to make. There's a plan for a beginning quilter or, if you've been quilting awhile, the sturdier quilting frame would serve you best.

Ever admire the beauty of a traditional homemade quilt . . . and then shudder at the thought of all the stitches that hold the masterpiece together? Well, there's a simpler alternative: tying. You can tie a frayed blanket between layers of cotton or gingham print in a fraction of the time you'd spend on conventional quilting. All you need is a simple frame (see the instructions with this article), a few inexpensive materials and the barest number of spare hours.

Quilt Sizes

Baby quilts are approximately 3' X 5' (standard crib size) and, when tied, can be made in an afternoon. Two-yard throws — afghan-size car blankets or stadium robes — are 4' X 6' and also take only a few hours. They get their name because the quilt top and backing each requires two yards of 45" fabric.

A quilt that measures 7' X 9' hangs to the floor on a twin bed and will fit a full-size bed as a comforter (a cover that usually lies on the mattress only and is supplemented with a dust ruffle to conceal the box springs). A quilt (8' X 9') that completely covers a full-size bed will serve as a comforter on a king-size or large water bed.


The backing or underside of a tied quilt should be a closely woven, non-slippery fabric. (Covers backed with nylon, satin, rayon and some polyesters tend to slide off the bed.) Cottons, flannels and sheets are all good materials for this purpose. I prefer flannel myself: It's durable and warm, won't slip and feels good against the skin. Like all the makings for my quilts, it's also washable.

Filler or batting may consist of an old blanket (two if they're thin). Otherwise use cotton or polyester quilt batting, which is available at most yard goods stores or from Sears.

9/21/2014 10:52:32 PM

When I click on Image Gallery to see the patterns and/or pictures of the stands, it brings me right back to the article. So this is pretty much useless to me. Is there a better link or somewhere else I could see these stands?

Heidi Hunt_2
11/30/2007 9:17:39 AM

The design for the quilt frame is in the Image Gallery at the top right of the article under "Related."

6/10/2007 10:20:35 PM

I have just read the article on how to make a quilting frame. I am interested in making the frame with the free standing legs, but there is not enough information to complete this project. Can I find the full instructions with this article somewhere else? Or can you email me the entire article? Thank You

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!