Recently updated on August 6th, 2022
The art of quilting requires a great deal of precision and artistic flair. Calculating the pattern for each block and estimating the amount of fabric you will need to make your quilt used to require a lot of math. Now that quilt design software is readily available. You no longer have to worry about those calculations!
In addition to quilt block templates, quilt design software offers tools to create unique blocks. Calculations are also performed by most quilt design software to help you select fabrics and size your quilt. After you snap a picture of your fabric, some apps and software show you a preview of your finished design.
The purpose of this article is to explain how quilt design software can help you. Also included is information about the most popular Windows and Mac apps and software. As a final step, with the help of SewingWithEase, you’ll learn how to make your quilts stand out with quilting software!
What is Quilt Design Software?
Designing quilt blocks with quilt design software is easy, creative, and doesn’t require crumpled up graph paper in the wastebasket! Additionally, most quilting software includes a variety of other tools, such as tools for designing quilt layouts, choosing quilting stitches, or even visualizing finished quilts.
These programs are great for seeing mock-ups of your quilts, but their fastest calculation feature makes them even more helpful.
As an example, let’s say you would like to design a Churn Dash quilt block. There are triangles at each corner of this design, which resembles a square outline. When measuring triangles, how do you make sure they line up exactly with the square’s corner?
You will look silly if you cut out a too big triangle that hangs over the edge. Unless the triangle is the right size, it will perch on top of the square’s corner instead of slotting into place easily.
A sizing ratio was calculated by measuring one square on the graph paper equal to two inches in your quilt and so on, back in the old days. The math and time involved in this are considerable!
The computer measures and sizes your blocks for you with a quilting program. You can use preset options or drag-and-drop to create your own blocks.
It takes hours of precise, dedicated sewing to piece together a quilt block and then assemble the layout of the whole quilt. Take a break from all that sewing time and let the computer help you design your own quilt patterns! Rather than focusing on math and sizing, how about simply enjoying the creative process?
Which Is The Best Free Quilt Design Software?
There are many free quilt design software programs like Prequilt, Quilt Assistant, and even the drawing features in Word documents!
You should consider the features that are important to you as you read reviews of free design programs. Choosing a program that does not provide a fabric calculator will make it difficult for you to estimate the number of yards you will need for your quilt.
The PreQuilt web application offers free, basic, and advanced versions of its design software. With the free program, you can create basic rectangle patterns and experiment with block designs. As far as design features go, its biggest advantage is that it gives you a glimpse of what more advanced features can do.
The free version of PreQuilt will give you a valuable opportunity to learn the basics of online design if you are unfamiliar with computer graphics. The PreQuilt website is definitely worth a look for that reason alone! The next section of this article contains more information about the paid versions.
Another free option is Quilt Assistant, which works quite differently. A quilt block is built by taking a picture and uploading it to the software instead of using shapes and colors. You can then use the block template created by the program!
If you have a rose growing in your garden, you can take a picture of it. A quilt square will be created from this photo, complete with precisely fitted rose petals and even seam allowance measurements!
The free version of Quit Assistant doesn’t have a huge library of layouts and blocks to choose from, but it does offer quite a few design tools. To find out if this tool is right for you, check out the website.
My Web Quilter
On My Web Quilter, you can find useful quilting calculators. If you need help measuring your binding for your quilt edge or sizing your backing, you can use this free option.
There is nothing flashy or modern about this website. We think it looks like it came out of the 1990s! You may want to try this free online calculator if you just need help with quilting math.
In addition, you might want to use computer design tools like Adobe Illustrator or Word’s drawing tools. There are no quilt-specific options like sizing or measuring options or quick calculations like My Web Quilter available with these options. To get a basic idea of what you want a quilt block to look like, you piece together shapes and then fill them in with color.
Quilt Design Software for MAC
Free downloadable software like Quilt Fusion also comes in a version compatible with a MAC computer, and web-based design tools such as Quilt Assistant and PreQuilt are available for MAC users.
There are, however, some significant limitations to these free options. As you will see later, there is quilting software tailored specifically for MACs!
Now let’s take a look at Quilt Fusion, how does it work? Create your own applique designs with this downloadable software. Even for free software, it has some nice design features!
This option has the disadvantage that it does not offer many quilt block or layout options. It focuses strictly on applique.
In addition to its cool software, Quilt Fusion may have a primary focus on encouraging customers to purchase the many patterns it offers through its website. There’s a sense in which the free software serves as bait for the hook.
Free Quilt Design Software for Windows
If you have a Windows computer, you can use PreQuilt, Quilt Assistant, and Quilt Fusion for free.
Furthermore, a new Windows tool called Quilting Buddy can be purchased for just $1.99! There is a decent selection of block patterns available in this new design tool. It also allows you to create your own designs by piecing together shapes and patterns!
With web-based design programs, you don’t have to worry about learning a complex, advanced program from scratch. The options in this section are free, less comprehensive designs you might want to use if you’re just starting out or only quilt as a hobby.
Which is the Best Paid Quilt Design Software?
In the quilting world, Electric Quit version 8, also known as EQ8, is the most popular software. There are several other popular options, including Brother SAPVQ, Quilt Design Wizard, and Grace Quilters.
You may want to consider investing in a design software that gives you access to a wide range of functions and tools if you spend a lot of time quilting.
With its advanced features and popularity, Electric Quilt dominates the quilting market. Its latest version, EQ8, was released in 2018. Even though this software costs almost $300, it includes hundreds of thousands of patterns, design tools, and even complete quilt templates!
You can use EQ8 on either a Windows or a MAC computer. Besides yardage estimators, the program offers many quilt layout aids and a huge library of finished quilt block templates. Additionally, it has every kind of quilt block design feature you could possibly need. Drawing from scratch, using templates to draft the basic shapes in your block, or importing photos to translate into a quilt block template are all options available to you!
Consider the “starter pack” version of the software, EQ8 Mini, if you don’t feel ready to make that kind of investment. Compared to the full-scale product, this beginner kit is less expensive and has a smaller learning curve. Although it offers only 300 block templates, you can still design basic blocks and layouts using this program.
It is only compatible with Windows computers, which is a downside to this handy scaled-down version. When you buy the full version, you’ll also get a greater library and larger variety of design options.
Introducing Preview Quilt Design, the next product on Brother SAPVQ’s roster. The Brother brand has a great reputation in the sewing industry, so you’re guaranteed a quality product with this program! Nonetheless, there are only 150 templates included in this product, and it works only on Windows desktops.
The price is also quite reasonable at $99, of course. As well as providing a full range of design tools, it also allows you to upload pictures of your fabrics so you can see how the finished quilt will look! Moreover, you can make everything from baby quilts to king-sized quilts with its useful sizing tools!
PreQuilt (Paid Version)
There is a subscription-based version of PreQuilt available. If you want access to the web-based design features, you can pay at various levels. There are two subscription levels: basic and market, which require an annual fee of $50 or $100, or monthly fees of $5 or $10.
Web-based access to the block library, saving your quilt designs, and even selling quilts are all possible! Computers running Windows and Mac will be able to use this product. The only downside is that it does not have EQ8’s huge library of designs.
Quilt Design Wizard
Even though Quilt Design Wizard is no longer available, it deserves a quick mention. It was launched before the EQ8 Mini was released by Electric Quilt. Often found second-hand on Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, it remains popular with quilters today.
The product provides a great introduction to quilt design for beginners. In addition to 200 block patterns and 3,000 fabric options, it comes with a CD for installation.
There aren’t a lot of reviews for Grace Quilter’s design program. Furthermore, this product must be purchased and shipped to you rather than instantly downloaded. In spite of that, this $299 software offers an impressive range of design features.
Custom-made blocks, layouts, and pantographs can be designed and printed with the program.
There is also a library of 200 premade designs that can be printed or adapted. Windows is the only operating system compatible with this program.
What is the Best App for Quilting?
Apps such as Quick and Easy Quilt Block Tool and Quilt Space are also useful quilting apps, but Quilting Calc and Quiltography are the best. You can easily find a decent variety of quilting apps for your tablet or phone if you prefer to design your quilt on your device.
Apps are tricky because some work on Android devices while others only work on Apple ones!
Android Apps for Quilt Design
In the past, Quilting Calc was only available on Android devices, but today you can find it on both Android and Apple devices! The quilting calculator works on both Android and Apple devices and offers nine different types of quilting calculations!
When you find yourself wandering around the fabric store scratching your head, this app is the perfect solution. You can use it to determine how much fabric, backing, batting, and binding you will need for any size quilt. As well as converting yards and meters, it also helps you convert other measurements.
A second Android app for quilting is Quiltspace. One of the purposes of this forum is to provide a place for quilters to ask questions and provide answers. Also, no critical comments are allowed in this safe, encouraging environment! In addition, it is a free app for Android.
iPad App for Quilt Design
You can make quilt blocks on the iPad with Quiltography if you want to learn how! It is quite expensive at $14.99, but it works better than any other quilt design app currently available. In addition to block design tools, it also allows you to take pictures of your fabric stash.
It is also possible to make your own block templates if you wish, although you can choose from a large library of block templates. The finished quilt block can also be viewed by importing photos of your own fabrics! This app works only on Apple devices, which is its only disadvantage.
Cora – Sew Your Fabric Stash
A second Apple app that works on your iPhone or iPad is Cora – Sew Your Fabric Stash. There is no cost involved. With it, you can keep track of the cost and appearance of your quilting and sewing materials.
The app may not provide everything you need to design a quilt, but it could prove useful in planning and shopping for one!
Best Quilt Design Software 2023
Here’s a quick overview of the best quilt design options available if you’re in a hurry.
|EQ8 Mini||$90||Windows, MAC|
|PreQuilt||Free version, or annual subscription of $50-100||Web-based|
|Quilt Fusion||Free||Windows, MAC|
|Preview Quilt Design||$99||Windows, MAC|
|Quilt Design Wizard||Purchase secondhand||Software for Windows|
|Grace Quilter||$299||Software for Windows|
|Quilting Calc||Free||Android and Apple|
How to Make Your Own Quilt Pattern?
You can easily design and layout your quilt blocks with a quilt design program if you learn how to use one!
It may take some time before you feel comfortable using more comprehensive software like EQ8. Electric Quilt’s website and YouTube are both great places to find tutorials! The majority of web-based products and apps are more intuitive, but they are also limited in functionality.
The basic steps for designing a quilt pattern on a computer or device are as follows.
- In order to create the right design, you must first select the appropriate tool. The information in this article should have helped you make your decision!
- Make a decision about the type of quilt or the size of the quilt. If you want to make a king-size quilt to sell, would you make a baby blanket as a gift?
- As soon as you have determined the size of the quilt, decide how many blocks it will contain. Is it better to have many small blocks or many large blocks? You will be able to do all the necessary math with the help of your design tool!
- Quilt blocks can be created in a variety of ways with different design tools. An object may be scanned and transformed into a quilt design with the help of a scanner. In some cases, you can upload images of your own fabric or use shapes and colors to design your own!
- Fabric Stash can help you purchase fabric if you do not already have any on hand.
- You will need to arrange your digital quilt blocks in the quilt layout once you have finished all of your digital quilt blocks. If all your blocks have the same design, you may need to piece together a simple repetitive pattern. In the quilt, all of the blocks may come together to form one large image, just like a difficult puzzle!
- To find the right quilt binding for your quilt, you’ll be able to select various stitching options in some design tools. Don’t forget to plan these components yourself if you don’t!
- Beautiful quilts are a joy to design and a challenge to make. Your task will hopefully be made easier by finding a quilt design program.
There is something artistic about every quilt. Quilt blocks require a lot of skill, precision, and artistry in order to design intricate shapes and patterns. This complex process can be simplified with quilting software, so you can create even better quilts!
The calculations necessary to fit together so many fabric shapes can be performed with software such as EQ8 and Quilt Assistant. There are several apps that simplify the process of planning a quilt, such as Quiltography and Fabric stash. To master quilt design, you can find a number of free and paid online tools.