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.



  1. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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!

    • Reply


      February 17, 2012

      Beautiful! That’s a great layout!

  2. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    Thank you for the wonderful blocks and wonderful ideas!

  4. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  5. Reply

    Maureen Cracknell Handmade

    February 17, 2012

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

  6. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  7. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

    • Reply


      February 17, 2012

      Thanks Lorelei! I use Photoshops for all my graphics and mockups. There is a free version of a similar program called Gimp. I have a little tutorial on my blog for how to do mockups: http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/?p=901

      • Reply

        Terri Ann

        October 14, 2013

        I so wish you had a way for us to download your source PSD. I’d love to experiment with some layouts but don’t want to painstakingly re-draw these blocks. Oh well, looks like Photoshop, a glass of wine and I will be spending some quality time together later.

  9. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  10. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  12. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  13. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  14. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  15. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

    • Reply


      February 17, 2012

      That will be beautiful! If I didn’t just have a tiny round table, I’d be all over the table runners.

  17. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  18. Reply

    holly | bijou lovely

    February 17, 2012

    Love these layouts Faith! Gorgeous colors too 🙂

  19. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply

    Chelsea @ pinsandbobbins

    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  24. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  25. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  26. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  27. Reply

    Charlotte E

    February 17, 2012

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

  28. Reply


    February 17, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  30. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  31. Reply


    February 17, 2012

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

  32. Reply


    February 19, 2012

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

  33. Reply


    February 19, 2012

    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. Reply

    happy zombie

    February 19, 2012

    I LOVE your layouts! Crazy, madly love!

  35. Reply

    Heather F

    February 20, 2012

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

  36. Reply


    February 20, 2012

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

  37. Reply


    February 21, 2012

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

  38. Reply


    March 20, 2013

    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?

    • Reply


      March 27, 2013

      Hi Judi – these layouts were idea-generators as part of the Solstice Stars Series. You can find more information on suggested fabric requirements at the top of the Summary page here – http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/?page_id=1534

      The finished quilt size will depend on how you lay out your stars. Each star is 12″x12″ finished.

  39. Reply

    MC Marchand

    May 4, 2015

    Love your website