Quilting Shrinkage

Over the holidays, I worked a bit on my quilt journal.  Actually, I should call it my Quilt Photo Album.  While it started out being an AQS publication called a Quilter’s Registry where you write comments about your quilt and put one picture of the quilt in the book with it, it has morphed into a photo album with comments and information on each quilt project. 

If you are a scrapbooker (and I know many of you lead this double-life), you could make a beautiful journal of your finished quilts.  You could have pockets with samples of the fabrics and batting used, stitch meandering lines on the paper in the quilting threads used, keep detailed information such as the inspirational impetus for your project, and include pictures of the project from the beginning right through to completion.  You could put together a masterpiece.

Not being a scrapbooker means my journal is quite simple.  It doesn’t even sparkle or have stickers.  If you know me, that should give you a hint about how much I enjoy working on it.

Needless to say, I am very behind with my journal.  As I worked on it though, I kept track of the measurements before the quilt top was quilted to after the quilt was bound.  I thought you might find it interesting to see just how much shrinkage there is of a quilt top due to the quilting and slight squaring up afterwards.  Below is a table of five quilts I catalogued:

Quilt Top Size
(Before Quilting)

Quilt Size
(After Binding)

57” X 62” 56” X 61 ¼”
83” X 105” 80” X 102”
57” X 68” 55 ½” X 66 ½”
66 ¾” X 84 5/8” 64 ¾” X 82 ¾”
69” X 69” 67 ¼” X 67 ¼”

Don’t be mistaken here – the measurements after binding are NOT of quilts that have been washed.  This shrinkage is strictly due to the quilting and finishing.  The quilt will shrink more when it is washed if the materials used were not pre-shrunk. 

When you plan your next bed quilt, keep in mind that shrinkage is a fact.  If you have a definite size in mind, make the quilt top large enough to account for the shrinkage that will occur by the time it is quilted, bound, and gone through the first washing.  Otherwise, you may be in for a surprise when you put the quilt on the bed.

Linda – who still has hours of “journaling” to do.
How about the rest of you?  Do you journal your quilts?  Take the poll below and let’s see who keeps a journal or record of their projects:

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