How to plan a learning sampler quilt

Updated April 17, 2017

A sampler quilt is made up of many different design blocks. The sampler quilt is often used as a teaching tool for beginner quilters. Beginners can learn how to make specific quilt blocks and then make the finished blocks into a full quilt. The sample blocks can be related in some way, or can be completely different.

Choose the size of your quilt. Once the blocks are assembled, what size do you want the finished quilt to be? Your sampler can be a made into a bed covering, a wall hanging, or a pillow sham.

Select the colours of your overall quilt. Some quilters prefer to coordinate the colours of the blocks for overall effect in the finished quilt. Other quilters make sampler blocks of many different colours and then tie the blocks together colorwise with an appealing border. Ideally, you should choose one pale background colour, one dark colour and a third colour to complement the dark one.

Try out different block patterns. The sampler quilt is a great place to try out new techniques. Experiment with curves, points, appliques and strip patterns. The small block sampler pattern is a great place to practice new techniques.

Piece together the finished sampler blocks. Add a border to each block, then sew the blocks together. Keep the borders on each block the same size so that the finished quilt appears symmetrical. Borders generally should be 2 to 4 inches wide. Borders are important because they provide an inviting frame for each sampler block.

Display your finished sampler quilt on a wall in your home or on your bed. You can also take unused blocks and make matching pillows for a bed-covering quilt or place a block in a picture frame and hang on the wall.


Consider starting a quilting group. A group that meets once a month can learn together how to make specific block patterns. Then they sew together all the different blocks and auction off the quilt.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrap fabric
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Block patterns
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About the Author

Karen Silvestri is an English professor at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Fla., and has been writing professionally since 1997. She also leads workshops on memoir writing, journaling, creative writing and poetry in her community and online. Silvestri holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, and studied business and education at the graduate level.