How to Calculate Quilt Sashing

By Kim Blakesley
Quilt sashing can feature complementary or contrasting colors, depending on the effect you want to achieve.

Quilt sashing is the strips of fabric placed between quilt squares to hold them together. The width and color of the sashing strips is determined by the quilter. Although squares can be connected directly to eachother, sashing adds an elegant touch to a quilt. It is often used to emphasize the patterns within the quilting squares.

Draw a diagram of the quilt on a piece of paper. Make sure to include the proper amount of quilt blocks. Separate the blocks with an area indicating the sashing placement. For example, if the quilt is three blocks wide by five blocks long, draw a diagram with three blocks across and five blocks down, leaving a space between each block. In the space around the outside edge of the blocks, draw a frame around the quilt. The total number of vertical sashing strips needed is four and the total number of horizontal sashing strips is six.

Determine the desired width of your sashing. For example, a 2-inch sashing requires a 3-inch strip of fabric. This allows for a 1/2-inch seam on each side of the strip to connect the quilt's squares.

Measure the length and width of the quilt square. Write the dimensions onto the quilt diagram your drew earlier. For example, if the quilt square is 12-inches by 12-inches. Write 12 inches along each edge of one quilt block on the paper diagram.

Determine the amount of fabric for one horizontal sashing by multiplying the number of squares across the horizontal axis of the quilt by the square's width. Then, multiply the number of vertical strips by the width of the sashing strips. Add these two numbers together. Multiply the number of horizontal sashing strips by the width of the sashing.

Using our example: The squares are 12-inches wide. There are three squares along the horizontal axis of the quilt. Multiply 12 by 3. You'll need 36 inches of fabric to span the length of the quilt blocks. There are 4 vertical strips. The width of each vertical strip is 3 inches. Multiply 3 by 4. You will need an additional 12 inches to span the width of the sashing strips. Add 36 plus 12 for a total of 48 inches. Each horizontal strip requires a lengh of fabric 48-inches long by 3-inches wide. You need six horizontal strips total, so you need at minimum of 48-inches by 18-inches of material.

For the vertical quilt sashing, you will not be cutting long strips. Instead, you need several smaller strips that will fit between the horizontal sashing. On your diagram, count the number of vertical squares and multiply that by the length of the squares. Using our example above, you have five vertical squares that are 12-inches in length, so you need 60-inches of fabric to border these squares. Count the number of vertical strips between the squares and multiply that by the width of the sashing. Using our example, there are four vertical strips and the sashing is 3-inches wide. So, you need 60-inches by 12-inches of fabric for your vertical sashing.

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."