How to commission a quilt

A playmat quilt, 'Playtime' by Amanda Jane Textiles

When might you want to commission a quilt?

Commissioning a quilt from a designer-maker gives you the opportunity to have a piece made that is perfect for what you want. You might want a quilt, a quilted throw or a wall-hanging (like the one below, which was inspired by a painting.)

‘Dawn’ wall-hanging, designed and made by Amanda Jane Ogden

How should you go about commissioning someone to make a quilt for you? Here are some pointers.

The first question to ask is ‘Who is the quilt for?’

Quilts for babies, children and teens

A baby should only sleep under a quilt after the age of one, but a quilt makes a nice surface to lie or crawl on, on the floor.

A playmat quilt, 'Playtime' by Amanda Jane Textiles
‘Playtime’ play-mat designed and made by Amanda Ogden

A quilt measuring 36 x 48″ (91 x 122cm) makes a good-sized cot quilt, but a smaller cover for a buggy is also possible. Below is an example of a baby quilt made to commission. ‘Burnt orange’ was specified as the main colour and ‘suns’ given as the theme by person who now owns the quilt (in Australia).

‘Here comes the Sun’ cot quilt designed and made by Amanda Jane Ogden

If the quilt is for a toddler or a child, it may need to last a few years, so the design needs to not be too babyish. Photographs of toys or clothes that already appeal to the child may be useful prompts for the colour and design choices. Existing paint and furnishing colours in the child’s room might be the starting point. A quilt for a teenager should also be made with a view to it being taken away from home, if the owner goes to college, so again a design that will bridge the age-gap is good. A single-bed quilt might measure about 60 x 87″ (152 x 221cm) unless it’s intended for a small toddler bed.

Quilts for couples

If the quilt is for couple, it’s particularly important to take into account the colour and design choices of both partners. You might choose to meet with the designer maker (online or in person) to look at actual colour swatches of material to help narrow down the preferences of both people who will sleep under the quilt. The quilt below was made for a couple who wanted daffodil colours (dark yellow, paler yellow and green). In the end, a daffodil print fabric was used in the centre of each block, though the other colours in each block varied across the quilt.

The 'Daffodil' quilt by Amanda Jane Ogden
‘Daffodil’ king-size quilt designed and made by Amanda Jane Ogden

The size of this quilt will depend on the size of the bed: double? king? super-king? Will the quilt lie on top of the bed or should it drape down the sides? Is there a foot to the bed as well as a bed-head? (This would affect the maximum possible length of the quilt). A bed-scarf (like the one shown below) is an alternative, if a smaller decorative quilt is required.

‘Blue Bed-scarf’ designed and made by Amanda Jane Ogden

Commemorative Quilts

Sometimes, the purpose of the quilt is commemorative. You might want a memory quilt (of childhood, of someone who has died, to celebrate a particular event).

The quilt below was commissioned by an artist with a collection of treasured T-shirts from all over the world. For something like this, it’s fairly important that all the fabric is of a similar type: for example, 100% cotton jersey in the case of the T-shirts.

The T-shirt quilt by Amanda Jane Ogden
‘T-shirt quilt’ by Amanda Jane Ogden

You might want a quilt made to remind you of a particular person. This quilt uses fabric from men’s shirts to make the blocks.

‘Pinstripe’ quilt, designed and made by Amanda Jane Ogden

A small quilt or throw can be made from baby-clothes, for enjoyment by the child or by the parent (looking back on happy memories).

If you already have a colour-scheme in mind, you might consider buying the fabrics yourself (having spoken to your designer first about quantities and the type of fabric – usually woven material in 100% cotton). This is what happened when I made this quilt, which was a joy to design and make for the Italian couple who commissioned it.

How to work with your designer-maker

If you have a piece of fabric that you particularly want used in the quilt, you could ask the quilt-maker to design the whole quilt around it.

Alternatively, give the designer some colour swatches, if you are commissioning a quilt for a particular room. If the design options are open, it would be wise to ask the designer to show you some fabric samples along with a design sketch.

It’s important to agree as many things as possible before the maker starts work. Once fabric is stitched in and the quilt is quilted, it’s too late!

As soon as the size of the quilt is determined and the design agreed, the designer will be able to give you an accurate estimate for the quilt and will usually ask you for a deposit.

I would love to work with you to make something special for your home or office – or to give as a special present. Just get in touch via the contact form below and tell me what you need.

Amanda Jane Textiles offers unique fabrics for sale here, quilt patterns here and classes here

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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