Don't panic when you run out of fabric for a quilt you're sewing

King sized quilts use up a lot of fabric. I know, I know, in other news, water is wet. Who doesn't know that a king sized quilt will use up a ton of fabric. Apparently, I did not. On Saturday I had a moment of panic. I was about to run out of fabric for a quilt I'm sewing, oh no! First I kicked myself and then I thought about what I had done in the past.

The first time this happened to me I called the shop where I had originally bought the fabric and had them ship me 5 more yards. I also went back to a store recently and bought the rest of a bolt. But sometimes you can't just get more of a certain fabric.

Numerous times I have matched it as best I could and mixed it in and hoped for the best. If I can, I put the different fabric blocks in all four corners or in a diagonal line. However, what if it isn't just one fabric?


Last time I wrote about this quilt, I had done designing, cutting and some sewing. Currently, I have all of the center blocks with the first and second strips sewn on them. What I have discovered is that there is a tremendous amount of waste that I saved and have sewn them into the binding already.

I have 14 yards of binding already done and I am not even halfway done with the blocks. I wanted variety so I had purchased all kinds of fat quarters from travels all over the country. I also used all the greenish strips from two different filler jelly rolls.

The jelly rolls had a limited number of strips I wanted to use. The fat quarters were great for color but not so greatrun-re-1 for usable strips. There were pieces left over that I couldn't use in a block. Lots of pieces - 14 yards worth.

I took stock of the larger strips I had left. You can see a block I am working on and all the available strips to use in front. ALL the available strips for 21 more blocks, yikes!


On one design wall I keep halves of blocks until I a delightful partner. I audition some pairs but I never sew them right away. I want to have them paired up with a half with a different palette, from a different fabric

I also have 6 completed blocks on the other design wall. Six is what I need for a row but I will not be sewing a row together any time soon. Again, I want a variety in each row, not certain values in one row and completely different ones in the bottom.

I would have been happy to buy more of the original fat quarter bundles but I don't know which trip or what quilt store they originated in. I am very fortunate that I didn't make this an all solid quilt. It will read as all solids but there are low volume and batiks mixed in.

I decided I just had to bit the bullet and buy more green fabric and finding enough variety in my local quilt store seemed unlikely. I felt bad as all of these fabrics had been purchased in person but now I was going to have to rely upon the internet.

I know that monitor colors can be deceiving. These seemed like the range of green I needed. I run-re-6would have to trust the color on the screen was the real color.

I made this decision as we were leaving to meet my husband's brother and wife for dinner. I thought it might be a waste of time and battery, but I shopped on my phone during the hour drive. I took a leap of faith and hit the purchase button by the time we met them.

Both packages arrived today. Can you believe it? I ordered them about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon and they were at my door by 3:00 today, Monday.

I love both of them. I already washed the fat quarters and will cut them up tomorrow. I will mix these colors and the batiks from the jelly roll in with the first blocks I already have started.

I will distribute the first six blocks into all five rows. Because I had a "green" palette, these fabrics will just expand it. By the time it is all made I will probably forget I even had to improvise.

Phew, the quilt is saved! The fabric is here! And dinner on Saturday night was delicious. We split a chocolate piñata and I got to crack it open!


Sew happy!

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I have written before about problem solving in quilting. Read this post!

Filed under: advice, Quilts in progress

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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