Easy Virtual Quilt Design- see your finished quilt before you start sewing

Picture of Easy Virtual Quilt Design- see your finished quilt before you start sewing
graph quilt design.jpg

How to use your Scanner and Photoshop 6.0 to create a preview your quilt design with your own fabric colors and prints:

This tutuorial will show you how to preview the actual fabrics you would like to use in your quilt using your scanner and Photoshop 6.0 Elements on your computer. You can make virtual quilt blocks using the actual fabrics you are considering for your quilt, and arrange them into the pattern that appeals to you, all before having to cut, stitch, rip out, or re-sew a single fabric quilt block.

Designing a quilt, selecting the fabrics, and figuring out where to place the blocks can stump even an accomplished quilter. It's the quilter's version of writer's block, with so many design and layout choices to  make all at once, that it is nearly impossible to picture it all in your mind.

The old fashioned way of designing your quilt was to sit down at the table with your graph paper and colored pencils....two days later, complete with cramping fingers, your paper masterpiece won't look anything like your final quilt will look. I graphed out my quilt design  and still had no clue if I liked my pattern or not (the graphed design is the image next to the actual fabric scanned design- What a difference!). Now there are computer software programs designed for quilters, such as EQ7 that cost around $175- to assist in the process.  I don't know about you, but that kind of investment isn't workable if I'm only making an occasional quilt.
Like most of us, I am neither a computer genious, nor a professional quilter. I make quilts on occasion as meaningful gifts for the people I love.....like a daughter heading off to college whose favorite color is purple.....I hope she doesn't see this tutorial or she'll certainly be able to see exactly what her graduation gift is going to look like!

Ready ?  I'll give you two versions in this tutorial:
1. The "short" version for those of you who know how to use your Photoshop 6.0 elements program well, and have a good understanding of how to make a quilt.
2. The step-by-step version for those who are less familiar with  Photoshop 6.0 elements, and designing a quilt.

scoochmaroo4 years ago
Genius! Definitely beats trying to fold up the fabric into funny shapes and blur your eyes to try and get an idea of what it will look like all together.

Absolutely brilliant! I remember buying a fisheye front door peephole as suggested by my workshop facilitator one time as it was easier than squinting!

bgartman (author)  scoochmaroo4 years ago
You're so funny, and I completely agree. My mother has been quilting for years, and I always saw her layout a pile of fabrics on the floor, folded into scrunchy little shapes, squinting and trying to guess what the quilt would look like. I know she hated to start cutting until she was sure of her design.
wpbmommy12 years ago
I had to come back and comment that after reading this Instructable I decided to try Photoshop and OMG 10000 times easier than using Paint. I had my squares pasted in and done in less than 30 minutes, emailed myself a jpeg. Thank YOU!
bgartman (author)  wpbmommy12 years ago
Thanks so much for such a nice comment. I'm really glad that it was easier!
wpbmommy12 years ago
I want to make my daughter a Sesame Street rag quilt so I went to the online store, found the fabrics, took screen captures of each, cropped them in Microsoft Paint, then used them there to arrange them to make sure the colors worked the way I wanted them to work and then I purchased the fabrics. It would have been easier to use a different photo editing program because in Paint once you stop touching a particular square, it becomes permanent them you have to select it and again. a pain if you have an intricate design but I didn't. It's a simple rag quilt.
Ha, a much more sophisticated way of doing it! I've drawn out little grids and tried to find colored pencils to match my fabric colors before... never again. :P
bgartman (author)  jessyratfink4 years ago
I did the same thing! I actually have a colored pencil grid drawing that I spent time on when I started thinking about this quilt design for my daughter. It really didn't help me much.