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Best Calculation Tools for Quilting

Updated on July 13, 2016
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TR Smith is a product designer and former teacher who uses math in her work every day.

Patchwork quilting, sewing, and other fabric crafts require a lot of calculations, such as finding the yardage of fabric needed, computing seam allowances, figuring out patchwork shapes, scaling small images to make a quilt of a certain width and length, and more. Many quilters do these geometric and arithmetic calculations by hand on scratch paper, or with the aid of a simple 4-function calculator. But if you don't like doing the math, or often find yourself forgetting how to set up and solve a tricky ratio or length problem, these calculation aids will make your next quilting project a snap.

Quilter's FabriCalc by Calculated Industries
Quilter's FabriCalc by Calculated Industries

Quilter's FabriCalc

Made by Calculated Industries, this is the only quilt design and fabric estimating calculator on the market, made specifically for those who sew. If you are often stumped by challenging quilting problems, this is the calculator for you. To some quilters, the calculator may seem daunting at first with all its buttons and functions, however, it comes with a very easy to read user manual that explains all of the FabriCalc's amazing features with simple examples and clear illustrations. Once you get the hang of the calculator, you'll never have to use scratch paper to work out yardage, batting, fabric costs, or the number of squares that can be cut from a piece of material.

Some of its unique features include the ability to

  • Calculate the number of squares and diamonds that can be cut from a piece of fabric, calcuate the yardage for a given number of squares and diamonds.
  • Estimate the amount of material needed for backing, batting, borders, drops, binding, and more
  • Estimate the cost of materials.
  • Use the Block key to create quilt patterns with sashing and without.
  • Store fabric yardages for up to six different types of material used in your quilting project
  • Display fractions.
  • Convert among inches, feet, yards, and centimeters.
  • Operate as a normal calculator.

Because it takes the guesswork out of computing the square yards of fabric needed, you can save money by purchasing exactly what you need without excess material you're unlikely to use again.

The video tutorials below demonstrate the many convenient applications of the FabriCalc. When Part 1 finishes, you will see a link to Part 2, Part 3, etc.

Quilter's FabriCalc Tutorial: Part 1 of 4

All-in-One Quilter's Reference Tool
All-in-One Quilter's Reference Tool

All-in-One Quilter's Reference Tool

This guidebook has all the formulas, conversions, cutting instructions, and piecing techniques you need to make beautiful, well-crafted quilts. It's chock-full of tables, charts, conversions, sewing tips, and much more in an easy to use spiral-bound format for.

And since it's written by Harriet Hargrave, Alex Anderson, and Sharyn Craig -- prolific authorities on quilting techniques -- you can be sure the information is accurate. This quick reference guide is ideal for

  • Quilters who like to create their own designs and whose questions may not be covered by more elementary quilting guides.
  • Quilters who need to know standard sizes of bed spreads, pillows, mattresses, etc.
  • Quilters who need to resize and enlarge existing patterns.
  • Anyone who's just beginning to quilt and needs to know basic techniques, such as which needles to use for different aspects of sewing a quilt.
  • Any quilter who frequently asks "how much..." or "how many..."

Quilting requires you to apply your math and geometry skills more so than other crafts, so if you find yourself at a loss as to how to solve a geometric or quantity problem, this all-in-one reference tool will shine a light on your question and help you compute the answer quickly.


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