All You Need To Know About Lap Quilt Sizes And How To Make One - Cabbage Rose Quilting (2023)

Lap quilts are very popular these days. They are usually made from cotton or wool fabrics and they are often sewn together using a zigzag stitch.

The size of the finished quilt depends on how large you want the lap quilt to be.

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All You Need To Know About Lap Quilt Sizes And How To Make One - Cabbage Rose Quilting (1)

Lap quilts come in all shapes and sizes, and the size of your quilt depends on what you want to use it for. If you plan to make a lap quilt for yourself then you can choose any size that you like.

However, if you need to make a lap quilting gift for someone else then you will have to consider their size preferences.

If you’re considering making a lap quilt but aren’t sure how big it should be or even where to start with making one, then you’re in luck – this article has all the answers you need!

In this handy guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about lap quilt sizes, as well as how to make your own lap quilt!

What Is A Lap Quilt?

First things first – what exactly is a lap quilt? Well, as you might be able to guess by the name, they are a smaller version of a full-size quilt that is placed on the lap.

They are typically used for someone sitting down, whether in a chair or in a wheelchair. Their smaller size isn’t the only thing that separates them from a regular quilt, however.

They also tend to be more lightweight than a standard quilt, which means that they won’t weigh much at all.

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While anyone can enjoy the comfort and warmth of a lap quilt, they are most frequently used by seniors who spend a lot of time sitting down, or for people in wheelchairs that want a bit of extra warmth and protection from the elements.

Their size and relative lightness make them ideal for wheelchair users in particular, as a full-sized quilt would be too large and bulky to comfortably use in a wheelchair.

A Guide To Lap Quilt Sizes

As mentioned previously, there isn’t a single specific size you need to aim for when making your lap quilt.

While there are some more standardized sizes for lap quilts, making your own at home means that you don’t really have to worry about the specific size and gives you the freedom to make your lap quilt whatever size suits you best.

Full-sized quilts are typically around 60″ long and 36″ wide, and are made up of many squares arranged into the shape of the quilt.

Lap quilts, however, are a fair bit smaller to make them better suited to being placed on the lap. This means that they are generally between 2/3 and 3/4 of the size of a regular quilt.

Of course, the full size of the quilt is completely up to you, but for a reasonably sized lap quilt you should aim to make it around 42-48″ long and 30-36″ wide.

Chairs (and more specifically wheelchairs) are usually around 25″ wide and 36″ tall – for a lap quilt, a good general rule is to add around 10″ to each dimension of the chair to figure out your quilt size.

The size of the squares doesn’t need to change from a full-sized quilt (which means if you’ve made a quilt before and still have some squares of material, you can reuse these here), but feel free to adjust the size of them and make the squares smaller to fit with the smaller quilt.

Most quilt squares tend to be either 5″x5″ or 6″x6″; the 5″x5″ squares will work fine here, although depending on the final measurements you want your quilt to be it might be an idea to make them smaller (e.g. a 36″x48″ quilt will divide nicely into 4″x4″ squares).

How To Make A Lap Quilt

All You Need To Know About Lap Quilt Sizes And How To Make One - Cabbage Rose Quilting (2)

So now you know what a lap quilt is and the sizes they can come in, it’s time for you to make your own!

I’ve made this step-by-step guide to take you through each part of the process, so you can make a lap quilt in no time.

Step 1: Materials

You’ll need a few materials to get started, including fabric, batting, and thread.

The exact fabrics you choose will depend entirely on how you plan to finish your quilt; we’ll talk about those later. For now, just focus on getting the basics covered.

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This is where you’re going to start. There are lots of different types of fabric available, ranging from pre-cut fabric sheets to fully customizable designs.

If you’re planning on using a pre-made design, then you’ll probably want to buy a full sheet of fabric rather than cut individual pieces.


Batting is basically a thin layer of insulating material which helps keep the warmth inside the quilt while keeping the cold outside.

It also helps prevent the quilt from becoming too hot when it’s used as a blanket. This will be the middle layer of your quilt.

Needle And Thread Or Sewing Machine

Which method you use will come down to you, but there are certain benefits to using either (or both). A sewing machine will make assembling the quilt far quicker and easier, while a needle and thread is better for more precise sewing and embroidering.


This is a special type of fabric that will go around the border of your quilt to seal the edges and keep it closed.

Finally, you will also need a tape measure and a pair of fabric scissors.

Step 2: Cut Your Squares

Now you need to cut your fabric into the squares you’ll be using for your quilt. The size and amount of squares you need depend on the size you want your finished quilt to be.

Remember, it’s easier to make your quilt if the dimensions are divisible by the size of the squares – for example, for a 36″x48″ lap quilt you might want to use 108 4″x4″ fabric squares.

Cut these evenly and lay them out so you can check if you’re happy with what the finished product will look like.

Step 3: Sew Your Squares Into Rows

Now it’s time to start sewing your squares together. Start off by sewing the squares into their rows – in my example, you’ll be turning them into 12 separate rows of 9 squares. The squares won’t be flush with each other, so give around 1/4″ of seam allowance to each row.

You also need to press the seams. Press all the seams open, then fold over the top edge of one square onto itself and press again. Continue doing this until you’ve sewn all of your rows.

Step 4: Sew The Rows Together

Once you’ve sewn your rows and pressed the seams, you now need to sew all the rows together. Start at one end of the quilt and work your way across.

Don’t forget to press your seams beforehand, and be careful to make sure that they are lined up as well as possible – misaligned seams will affect the finished quilt, altering its dimensions and making it look messy.

When you’ve sewn all the rows into one piece, press the seams again. This will make sure that the quilt top lays flat and evenly on top of your batting layer. Now your quilt top is done!

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Step 5: Add The Batting And Quilt It

Just having a quilt top won’t keep you that warm, so now you need to add the batting. This should go between the layers of the quilt, forming what is fondly known as a ‘quilt sandwich’.

Once you have added the batting, pin the quilt top to the backing fabric. Then turn the whole thing right side out through the back opening.

Quilt the batting and the quilt top whichever way you like. This is where you can let your creativity take hold, and you can make it as fancy or as simple as you like.

Step 6: Trim And Bind The Quilt

Now it’s time to add the finishing touches. Trim any excess fabric from the edges of the quilt to even it out, being careful not to cut through any of the seams. Then make your binding; do this by measuring the perimeter of the quilt and add 24″ for plenty of extra material.

From here, press the seams of the quilt open and start placing the binding around the outside. You might want to use some glue or pint to hold it in place temporarily as you make your way around the outside.

When you’ve lined up the binding with the edges of your quilt, stitch it in place. This will securely seal the seams of your lap quilt to prevent the batting from moving around or escaping.

Step 7: Decorate

Your lap quilt is basically finished already and can be used as-is, but a great way to personalize your lap quilt is to decorate it. This could be through some embroidery or other embellishment, or even just something as simple as sewing your name into a corner.

If the lap quilt is going to be a gift, you can add something to make it more personal for the person you’ll be giving it to.

You can even take it a step further and convert the lap quilt into a fidget quilt, with many different decorations designed to occupy the restless hands of someone with dementia, autism, or a similar disorder. The options are endless!

Whether you decide to decorate the lap quilt, congratulations – you’ve made your very own lap quilt!

Final Thoughts

Lap quilts don’t always get the recognition they deserve, and often take a back seat to their larger counterparts.

With that said, they are a fantastic way to keep yourself warm while sitting down, and are perfect for wheelchair users, seniors, or anyone else that wants to keep themselves warm and comfortable while sitting down.

So now you know a little more about what a lap quilt is, the sizes they come in, and how to make one at home! There is no wrong way to make your lap quilt, and at the end of the day it is your preferences that matter most.

Regardless of how big you want your lap quilt to be and how you want to decorate it, this is a great craft project that I recommend everyone to try at some point in their lives. Now all you need to do is get started on making your own! Enjoy!

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Sarah Maine

My name is Sarah Maine and my hobby is quilting. No, I’m not retired - I’m in my early 20s and have been quilting since I was a teenager! Quilting and sewing are incredibly underrated hobbies in my opinion - and I want to bring them back.

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What is the best size for a lap quilt? ›

Lap — Lap quilts can be square or rectangular, depending how you decide to make them. There's a lot of leeway where lap quilts are concerned, and you can make yours in nearly any size you choose. A good place to start is around 52 inches / 132 cm by 52 inches / 132cm, up to 52 inches / 132cm by 78 inches / 198cm.

How many 5 squares do I need for a lap quilt? ›

To make a 90” x 108” throw quilt, you will need 480 five-inch squares. You will need 12 charm packs to make a quilt this size.

What size is a quilted lap quilt? ›

While sizes may vary, most lap quilts measure between 36 inches and 48 inches along each side. A 36-by-48-inch rectangle is a standard lap quilt size, as is a 36-by-36-inch square.

How many jelly roll strips do I need for a lap quilt? ›

Jelly roll strips for a lap sized quilt –

All you will need to make a 50 by 64-inch lap quilt is 1 jelly roll. This uses all your strips, so you may want to add a few strips from your stash just in case you make a mistake.

How wide should a border be on a lap quilt? ›

Borders should be in proportion to the size of the finished quilt. As a general rule of thumb, a small wall hanging should have a border of less than 6" while a king-size quilt can handle a 12" to 14" border. Borders that are too wide diminish the quilt center design.

What is the most popular quilt pattern? ›

Log Cabin Quilts

Log Cabin quilt patterns were and remain one of the most popular quilt patterns in America. They combine simplicity, symbolism and frugality with a rich historical pedigree. To many, Log Cabin quilts are the American quilt.

What size quilt can you make with 10 fat quarters? ›

You can sew a 66” x 55” throw size quilt like mine with 10 fat quarters to make 30 blocks, or make any size you want – each FQ you pick is enough for 3 blocks that finish at 11”.

How many fat quarters do I need for a lap quilt? ›

Fat Quarter Pile Up. All you need for a great sized lap quilt is 12 fat quarters! This quilt will finish around 57″ x 70″. A great lap size quilt that comes together so quickly!

How many hours does it take to make a lap quilt? ›

A simple baby-size quilt top (40” x 45”) will take anywhere from 3-9 hours to make. A simple large throw-size quilt top (60” x 70”) will take anywhere from 10-20 hours to make. If you are a beginner quilter, it might take you 2 or 3 times longer to make the same quilt top as an experienced quilter.

How much fabric do I need for a lap quilt? ›

For a 36in x 50in quilt top, you'll need 1½yds (54in) of 42in wide fabric, leaving you with a few extra inches around all edges. If your quilt is larger than 42in, for example 59in x 80in, you'll need 3½yds of 42in wide fabric.

What is the easiest quilt pattern for a beginner? ›

One of the easiest quilts for a beginner to make is a simple patchwork quilt. A square patchwork quilt is made from fabric squares that are sewn together in a simple grid pattern. You can cut squares from your own fabrics, or start with a precut fabric bundle called a “charm pack” or “layer cake”.

How much backing do I need for a lap quilt? ›

The quilt backing needs to be larger than the quilt top to allow extra for fabric that is taken up during quilting and for stabilization when using a quilting frame. Always add 8" to both the length and width measurements so you have an extra 4" of fabric all around.

What size quilt will a 20 strip jelly roll make? ›

A 20 strip jelly roll would start out as an 800″ mega strip (20 strips each 40″ long). So 4 folds of that would give you a little quilt that is that's 16″ rows or 32″ long and 50″ wide 800″ first fold to 400″; second fold to 200; third fold to 100″ fourth and last fold to 50″.

What size quilt will 2 jelly rolls make? ›

Let's assume you are buying a standard jelly roll containing 40 strips measuring 2 1/2 ” by 44″ long. In that case, you would need at least 1 jelly roll for a baby quilt or lap quilt, 2 jelly rolls for a twin-size quilt, and 3 jelly rolls for a queen-size quilt.

Do you wash jelly rolls before quilting? ›

Don't prewash your jelly roll strips

The general consensus among modern quilters is to not prewash precut fabrics. First reason: you will end up with a frayed mess and possibly lose some width of the fabric strips in the process. Second reason: precuts are infamous for uneven shrinking when prewashed.

What is the golden rule for quilt borders? ›

The ratio, in its simplest form, is 1.6 to 1. So if you are doing 3 quilt borders, each border should be 1.6 times larger than the previous one. For instance, if you want to add 3 borders totalling 8″ per side, the first border would be 1.5 inches.

Which borders go on a quilt first? ›

Generally, the side borders are added first. Measure the length on each side, and also measure the center of the quilt. If the measurements differ, take an average of the three.

How far apart should quilting lines be? ›

How far apart do you want your quilting? If I'm doing horizontal lines, I'll usually do 1"-1.5" apart. If I'm doing criss cross quilting (lines in both directions, like I did in this quilt), then I'll quilt my lines further apart... typically about every 2"-3".

What are the oldest quilt patterns? ›

The Crazy Quilt is probably the oldest of quilt patterns. Early quilters used any scrap or remnant available, regardless of its color, design, or fabric type.

What are the 3 different techniques used in quilting? ›

ZJ explains that quilting can be categorized into three main quilting styles- pantograph, free motion and custom. A pantograph is an all over design on a quilt. This can be done using a computerized long arm machine or by following a template.

What are the 3 types of quilts? ›

The three basic styles of rallis are: 1) patchwork quilts made from pieces of cloth torn into squares and triangles and then stitched together, 2) appliqué quilts made from intricate cut-out patterns in a variety of shapes, and 3) embroidered quilts where the embroidery stitches form patterns on solid colored fabric.

How many layer cakes do I need for a lap quilt? ›

The quickest and most simple way to make any size quilt is to use your favorite fabric precuts to make a classic patchwork quilt. Just two 42-piece layer cakes will create an 85″ square quilt using a 9-by-9 layout of the 10″ squares! For a bit more interest, add some sashing between your squares.

How many fat quarters is 2 yards of fabric? ›

There are four fat quarters in a yard of fabric. With one yard of fabric being cut from the bolt, it is then cut in half width-wise and length-wise and you're left with four quarters, commonly called 'fat quarters', because they're not quite square with each quarter being more of a rectangular shape.

What size quilt does 3 yards make? ›

Finished Size: 44 x 58 inches (111.76 x 147.32 cm). This pattern will make a single lap size quilt, if you would like to make a twin or queen/king you can find enlargement instructions in our book Easy Peasy 3-Yard Quilts.

How many shirts do I need for a lap quilt? ›

In general, we recommend using between 15-40 t-shirts for a quilt, but ultimately it's up to you and what look you're going for. If you want a denser quilt with less negative space, then you'll obviously need more t-shirts. We can make a lap-size quilt with as few as 8-shirts.

What size is a turning twenty quilt? ›

82'' x 98'' This quilt is made from quilting cottons. Long-arm quilting.

What can you make with 10 fat quarters? ›

Quilt shops know that fat quarters are popular, and usually offer a wide assortment of them, stacked up and ready to go. There are plenty of things to make with fat quarters besides quilts: bags, purses, dresses, scarfs, pillows, you name it! They are perfect for all sorts of sewing.

How much should I charge to quilt a quilt? ›

Many traditional quilters charge from 3 cents to 15 cents per square inch, says Katherine Bennett of Kat's Out o'the Bag in Wilmington, North Carolina, with the price range reflecting the factors going into the quilt.

How many charm squares do I need for a lap quilt? ›

But if I were to generalize it, I would recommend having 3-4 charm packs for a lap quilt (50”x60” approximately) and 6-8 charm packs for a queen quilt (90”x108” approximately).

How much fabric do I need for a 50x60 rag quilt? ›


3 3/8 yards of decorative fabric OR you can use fabric from your stash. 3 3/8 yards for backing fabric. 50″ x 60″ piece of batting, or (120) 5″ squares of batting.

How many pieces of clothes do I need for a memory quilt? ›

For example, our most popular size (Large Throw Size: 50 inches. by 60 inches.) needs 20 - 25 pieces of clothing. Generally, you need about 12-15 shirts for a small throw-size quilt and up to 60 clothing items for a king-size quilt.

How many layers should a quilt have? ›

Quilts generally consist of three layers: a pieced top, an insulating fabric, and backing fabric. A two-layer quilt can be made using something like fleece/minky to replace the insulation and backing fabrics.

What stitch setting is best for quilting? ›

For straight stitching, it is advised to set your machine's stitch length to 2.5 to 3.0 or about 8-12 stitches per inch. This range works quite well for a majority of machine quilting but there are always exceptions when you make a rule. For threads with sparkle or shine, use a longer stitch length.

What are the 4 basic types of quilting? ›

There are four basic types of quilting, though there are all sorts of patterns that use more than one of these techniques. Our four basic types of quilts are: Pieced, Appliquéd, Paper Pieced, and English Paper Pieced.

Is it OK to use a sheet as a quilt backing? ›

We'll talk about this in more details, but here's the short story: you can ABSOLUTELY use bed sheets for quilt backs! There's a few obvious benefits to this: No piecing together a quilt back! This is the best benefit – just buy a sheet big enough to back your quilt and you don't need to piece it together!

What fabric is best for quilt backing? ›

Quilting cotton is by far the most popular option for quilt backing. These are medium-weight, 100% cotton fabrics that will hold their shape even after a lot of washing. This option is also a favorite for beginner quilters since it is easy to use and purchase.

Should quilt backing be cut crosswise or lengthwise? ›

Fabric is less stable in the crosswise direction, perpendicular to the selvage. Fabric is the most unstable cut on the bias; any cut on the diagonal can easily be stretched and distorted. When piecing backing fabric, join lengthwise grain to lengthwise grain. Join crosswise grain to crosswise grain.

How big are lap blankets for nursing homes? ›

You can use any color material, fleece or yarn and you choose the pattern. Suggested approximate size for lap blankets is 4'x5' (minimum).

How many shirts do I need for a lap size quilt? ›

In general, we recommend using between 15-40 t-shirts for a quilt, but ultimately it's up to you and what look you're going for. If you want a denser quilt with less negative space, then you'll obviously need more t-shirts. We can make a lap-size quilt with as few as 8-shirts.

What size quilt will 12 fat quarters make? ›

All you need for a great sized lap quilt is 12 fat quarters! This quilt will finish around 57″ x 70″. A great lap size quilt that comes together so quickly!

How many inches is a big lap blanket? ›

Decide how big you want your blanket to be.

For a small lap blanket, the final measurements may be about 24 to 48 inches. For a medium lap blanket, the final measurements maybe about 30 to 50 inches. For a large lap blanket, the final measurements may be about 50 to 60 inches.

What is the standard size of a Lapghan? ›

What Size is a Crochet Lapghan? If you have ever wondered how big a lab blanket is, you are not alone! They come in a variety of sizes, but usually Lapghans are about 35 × 40″ in size.

What type of blanket is best for homeless? ›

The ideal blanket for most effectively helping those individuals is ones that are twin size and washable. Unfortunately, while disaster blankets and other one-time use blankets are okay, they're often used only as a last resort, in hopes of minimizing the amount of unnecessary trash on the streets.

What size needles for a lap blanket? ›

Circular needles are great for any blanket project. They're long enough to hold a whole blanket, and the size 8 is perfect for any worsted-weight yarn. The best circular needles for a blanket are ChiaoGoo Circular Needles (US8).

How much material do I need for a lap quilt? ›

For a 36in x 50in quilt top, you'll need 1½yds (54in) of 42in wide fabric, leaving you with a few extra inches around all edges. If your quilt is larger than 42in, for example 59in x 80in, you'll need 3½yds of 42in wide fabric.

What is the easiest quilt to make? ›

One of the easiest quilts for a beginner to make is a simple patchwork quilt. A square patchwork quilt is made from fabric squares that are sewn together in a simple grid pattern. You can cut squares from your own fabrics, or start with a precut fabric bundle called a “charm pack” or “layer cake”.

How many chains do you need to start a lap blanket? ›

3.75 stitches per inch x 39″ (twin size) = 146.25. Round to 146 stitches. That's your starting chain.

What size blanket is 50x60? ›

Medium or standard-size throw blankets are usually 50”x60” or 60”x80”. These regular blanket dimensions are large enough to cover most people and can be used as a blanket or a bedspread.

Should a blanket be longer or wider? ›

The blanket size should be the same size as the mattress or a few inches larger. For example, a king mattress measures 76 x 80 inches and the standard king size blanket is 108 x 100 inches.


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