I designed a yoga quilt for my best friend using Microsoft Word for planning. Usually I just doodle a design idea on a napkin, estimate yardage, and go for it, but in this case, wanted to visualize the sashing and figure out how much of each fabric I would need to purchase exactly.

Designing a Quilt with MIcrosoft Word - Craftcore Tutorial

This method of quilt planning will work for quilts with simple square blocks.

  1. Open Microsoft Word.  I’m using Microsoft Word 2007, so keep in mind the menus might be slightly different if you are using a different version.  Insert a table with the number columns and rows you would like to to have in your quilt.  Insert > Table > Insert Table.
  2. When you first insert a table, it will have wide columns and short rows.  You can adjust the height of the rows to match the width.  Highlight all the cells of your table.  Right click and choose Table Properties. Click on the Column tab and take note of the current width.  Click on the Rows tab and type that number in height option.  Make sure that row height is set to Exactly in the drop down menu.
  3. You can use the borders options to indicate where you’d like sashing to be.  Highlight a few cells, then right click and choose Borders and Shading.  You can choose a wide border and click on the cell diagram to apply the border to certain sections.Sashing with Thick Borders
  4. You can also use the Borders quick menu from the Home ribbon to quickly apply and remove borders.
  5. Once you’ve got your structure down, you can indicate your fabrics by again, using the Borders and Shading option. Click on the Shading tab to apply background colours. I tend to just use shades of gray to indicate dark or light fabrics, but you could make the colours match if you prefer.  There is also a shortcut in the Design ribbon menu.
  6. When you’re done, you’ll have something like this that you can use as a reference when calculating your fabric yardage:

Quickly Counting Up The Blocks

You’ll notice that I also use letters to indicate each of my fabrics. I do this so that I can use a Search and Replace trick to quickly count up how many blocks I need of each colour.

For example, I used “GR” to represent my grey blocks.

Press CTRL-F.  Type “GR” in the Find What box, and “G” in the Replace With box.  Replace all.  Microsoft Word will alert how many replacements were made, which lets you know quickly that there are 25 grey blocks.

Search and Replace to Count Blocks

Once you know how many of each block you need, you can use these numbers to figure out how much material you’ll need. (Don’t know how to do this? Reference the How much fabric will I need to cut out X amount of squares? section of my How to Calculate How Much Fabric You Need for a Simple Quilt article.

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