Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Let’s Talk Quilt Top Layouts

When I decided to make *just* five stars for the Solstice Stars Series, I know a lot of people were thinking “what the heck am I going to do with five blocks?”. Some of you used this as a skill builder, some made pillows, those are both great options! But I had a quilt in mind.

I think that it is easy to fall into the mindset that you have to have 12 blocks, or 20 blocks, or some bigger number, to make a quilt. I wanted to challenge myself, and you, to think about your quilt layout in a nontraditional way.


A lot of times, I hear people say they really love the minimalistic piecing of quilt backs that you see on blogs and Flickr. Why not take that sort of design and make it the quilt front?


If you do want your entire quilt to be stars however, you can always repeat the blocks in an interesting fashion, or combine with other stars and make a star sampler. These additional stars happen to have tutorials available as part of the Summer Sampler Series.


You can even take just one block and repeat it for an entire top. And by changing the shade of the fabrics, create a very interesting effect.


I hope this helps get those creative juices flowing! I can’t wait to see what everyone makes.

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43 Responses to “Let’s Talk Quilt Top Layouts”

  1. 1
    Melinda says:

    This makes me think of a quilt I did last year as my first quilt along (only the second one I “designed”). I only used one block design but it ‘chained’ together. I gave followers the option to modify theirs in other ways. Here is my version.
    I used the openness to practice FMQ and ended up using a combination of FMQ and straight line quilting in mine. Love this idea!

  2. 2
    Teje says:

    Hi Faith! Great post, thank you! I love the title – it sounds like now we learn something new!
    This was really good, because often we just make things like we used to do and forget to think new ways! I love all your examples and your Solstice Stars challenge was so good. Even I didn’t have time yet, I absolutely will make all those stars!
    Have a wonderful weekend! x Teje

  3. 3
    Lesley says:

    Thank you for the wonderful blocks and wonderful ideas!

  4. 4
    Annabella says:

    I often find myself admiring quilt backs for exactly that reason! Love that more minimalist look.

  5. 6

    I love the look of the minimalistic piecing! I think it really showcases the beauty of each star block!!

  6. 7
    angela says:

    I love, love, love your ideas about just doing a very minimal top! Thank you for sharing.

  7. 8
    randi says:

    i think this is a great post, faith! it really shows that there are tons of ways to layout a quilt. i tend to get stuck in the “obvious”. thanks for showing all of this creativity. :)

  8. 9
    Lorelei says:

    Wow, awesome ideas. What did you use to make the mock ups?

  9. 11

    They all look stunning. I particularly love the striped layouts. They would really highlight the blocks. Beautiful!

  10. 12
    Marianne says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for this terrific post. I have some blocks I have been playing with (disappearing 9 patch using Terrain) and this will broaden my perspective!

  11. 13
    Debbie says:

    This is very interesting – and I appreciate your challenge in using ‘just’ 5 blocks….Thanks!!

  12. 14
    Carla says:

    Thank you!! I have been struggling to finish a quilt for my son and this is exactly what I needed to see!!

  13. 15
    Karen says:

    Definitely inspiring!! Thanks for all the great tips. Theses are beautiful mock-ups!!!

  14. 16
    Becky says:

    You’re so clever, and so right! Thanks for helping me think outside the box!

  15. 17
    Leah says:

    I’m adding 3 more stars and then a tshirt with our school design on it in the middle and making a baby gift for my sons teacher… Have only one block left to complete and cut up the tshirt then I’ll have a completed top. Hopefully I can get that far during Friday night sewin tonight….

  16. 18
    quilterbell says:

    Fantastic!, ~I love your ideas!. I think I am going to do a table runner with my stars!. How does it sound?

  17. 20
    Dana says:

    what do you use to design those quilt top images? I really need something like that. thanks!

  18. 21

    Love these layouts Faith! Gorgeous colors too :)

  19. 22
    Angie says:

    These mock-ups are fabulous, Faith! I haven’t had the chance to try any of the stars yet, but seeing these really makes me want to get started. Oh, if there was only more time in the day!

  20. 23

    I love the designs with more negative space! I’m starting to realize that as much as I love piecing, especially with bed quilts, I’m happier with quilts with more negative space. I guess it’s because I want my bedroom to feel calm and relaxing and sometimes all the fabrics in a lots of blocks quilt can just be a little too loud. It’s so funny because in everything else I’m such a maximalist!

  21. 24
    Rebecca says:

    Thankyou Faith…….you just gave me a whole host of ideas for lots of piles of blocks that I made to try out new techniques and then never got enthusiastic enough about them to produce a whole quilt!

    As always so kind of you to share your ideas!

  22. 25
    Franziska says:

    great ideas! Thanks for sharing! I decided that I would my stars for a quilt back as I think that quilt backs have to be nice, too ;) I didn’t decide by now whether to wait for a quilt and use the fabrics of the front or to just make the stars in for example grey and white so that they’ll fit every quilt. We’ll see.

  23. 26
    Simone says:

    Love your options. Makes me think how I’m going to finish mine. Thanks for the great ideas.

  24. 27

    These options are great. It makes me realize how often I do NOT think outside the box.

  25. 28
    Lindsay says:

    Great post and I love some of the ideas you posted!

  26. 29
    Lisbeth says:

    Great post – it’s got me thinking (which I suspect was precisely the point)!

  27. 30
    Charlotte E says:

    Great thinking. I can’t wait to see yours (and others) finished top.

  28. 31
    April says:

    Wow, I just designed the back of my daughter’s quilt with 5 Dresden plates like this. I ended up scrapping the idea but I love all your layout ideas. So simple yet incredibly sharp!

  29. 32
    Meg says:

    What a marvelous post! It got me thinking, planning, all excited to give this approach a shop! Thanks! Your mock-ups are great.

  30. 33
    Shannyn says:

    OOooOOOoo!!! Lookit us thinking outside of the box!! Well done, all!

  31. 34
    Becky says:

    I love the ideas- all of them are really cool.

  32. 35
    Vickie says:

    I love these minimalistic quilts. They are the perfect blend between tradition and modern. I would not have thought of this. Fabulous. Thanks!

  33. 36
    Kara says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for the inspiration. I have a few pregnant friends at the moment who I want to make quilts for, and I seriously don’t know where I will get the time to make so many that are needed. I had started to think maybe I should just do blankets instead, but the minimalist tops you are showing here might be a good compromise (especially considering they would be baby/mini quilts and not full blown quilts). I was also thinking of making a larger quilt for my brother (Andy) when he gets married this summer. BTW, Reena’s preggers! Due in Aug. :-)

  34. 37
    happy zombie says:

    I LOVE your layouts! Crazy, madly love!

  35. 38
    Heather F says:

    So pretty! I also love the minimalist look of backs, so this is perfect for me!

  36. 39
    Judith says:

    You are such a clever gal ! Thanks for reminding me to open my mind and let my imaginination guide my creativity.

  37. 40
    Jeifner says:

    Those are so pretty. It’s like candy and jewelry all mixed in one. Love the solids.

  38. 41
    judi says:

    I want to do the stars and am wondering if someone can give me the fabric amounts needed and also how many different fabric colors are used .. What size will the quilt finish?

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