I love quilts. Nothing says home to me like a handmade quilt on each bed. I am addicted to the beautiful colors and unlimited design potential of the quilting medium. I have been a long time admirer of master quilters. I knew of a lady that traveled all over the world collecting fabrics for quilting, she would bring them home and create quilts for contests, won prizes and made her living this way. What a wonderful life that would be!
Usually, I draw my quilt designs on paper, but it has its limitations. Not only do you have to be able to draw, color, render patterned fabrics and then accurately execute the design, but I find that quilt designs often look different after they have been made up in actual fabric. There have been many designs I have done that I disliked for one reason or another after they were put together.
There is a new tool available online for easy, accurate quilting design called Pattern Jam. I first learned about it at the SNAP Conference last spring. Pattern Jam is the brain child of Emily Talylor, a fabric designer for Riley Blake Design fabrics. It’s free to create an account on the Pattern Jam website, and I have spent many hours with it recently. I have become have become best friends with this software. You will be amazed how easy it really is to design your own quilts with this wonderful tool.
Here’s how it works:
1. Go to www.patternjam.com. Create your account with email and password, or login with Facebook or Google.
2. Click “create new design”. The screen should look like the one above.
3. Select the size of your desired quilt block in the drop down menu on the left under settings.
4. Select the number of columns and rows you want your quilt to have. The actual size of your quilt is calculated for you at the top of the page.
5. Add desired sashing (which goes between the blocks) or outside boarders (up to 3 allowed) to finish your quilt design.
6. Double check quilt size specifications to be sure it’s what you want, save before you continue. The program does save things automatically, but I recommend saving it anyway. You don’t want to loose all your hard work.
7. From the menu above the quilt on the right, select “apply to all blocks” or “apply to a single block”. Choose your quilt block design from the samples provided under the “block” heading on the left of the page. Some of the blocks have little crowns on them, this means they are premium features that are only available with the subscription upgrade. Click and drag the desired block into position on the quilt, then release. The block design will appear where you have placed it, either in a single block, or throughout the entire quilt depending on which option you chose. (You can also design your own block but I will cover that in a separate tutorial.)
Continue selecting blocks until all your blocks are in their desired place. You can edit the design by dragging a new block design on top of the old one if you aren’t happy with it. You can rotate blocks by clicking the block a second time, you will see a circle with an arrow telling you it has been rotated. Save your design before continuing.
8. To add fabrics to your design, click on “my fabrics”. Pattern Jam will load dozens of fabric prints and solids that you can choose from. Scroll up or down to find the fabric choices. You can search for additional fabrics by color, designer or pattern under the fabric tab at the top of the page. Click your chosen fabric and drag it into position on your quilt. Repeat until you have the design completed. It helps to pay attention to the light, medium and dark values that Pattern Jam provides in the pre-designed blocks. Choose similar light, medium or dark fabrics and place them accordingly for the best design results. If you don’t, it may be hard to see your overall quilt pattern.
9. Save your finished design by clicking on the blue “save design” button in the upper right corner. Pattern Jam gives you the option to name your project before you save it. You can make your design public if you wish and share with friends on Facebook, or you can keep it as a draft for your eyes only. Pattern Jam remembers which fabrics are in your quilt, you will see them selected at the top of the fabric column on the left.
10. To save a copy of your design to your hard drive, click the blue save button, then select “save as private”. Pattern jam will save your work and show you a high definition rendition of your design complete with fabric details. It will calculate your needed yardage for each fabric. You can order your fabrics directly through Pattern Jam if you choose, or you can print your design and take it with the fabric measurements directly into the fabric store to purchase your needed fabrics.
Pattern Jam is a great design tool. You can follow me on Pattern Jam at designermom4, You can view and download my quilt designs or any of the other designs available. Come by and see what I am designing! I will also have more tutorials in the future to share with on how to use specific features of Pattern Jam.