How to Fix a Quilt that is Too Small How to Fix a Quilt that is too Small

I had a problem. I had this quilt that I really liked, however it was just a wee bit too small for the bed. Ah, but then I had an idea to address that problem! Here’s just what that plan was, and how with some simple sewing techniques the problem was resolved.

So, here’s my idea of how to fix a quilt that is too small…

Even though there is really nothing special about this quilt… I bought it 20 or 25 years ago (from I don’t even remember… maybe TJ Maxx?) I do remember that it was really inexpensive, for sure it was less than $30… But for some reason, I’ve always loved this quilt, I guess it’s partly due to the fun colors and patterns of the simple country calico fabrics, and I thought it would be a great fit for the bed at the cottage. It was and it wasn’t… a great fit that is… though the colors and style looked great, it really was just a little bit too small for the bed. quilt that was too small for bed

When I made the bed I would try to favor the side by the door,

so it looked better from the hallway, but that left hardly anything hanging over on the opposite side, and as you can see in this picture, the too small quilt, even when favoring the door side, still didn’t cover enough of the sheet and mattress it was supposed to be covering. (that kind of reminds me of something I’ve struggled with most of my life… ‘high waters’ you know, pants that are just a little bit too short… not totally covering those pesky socks and tops of the shoes, ohhhh I just hate that…) just so awkward looking.

But the other day I got a brilliant idea,

(OK, I got the idea the other month, and it’s moderately brilliant at best, but I did finally put it to fruition the other day)… and using some extra scrap fabrics, I set about fixing the quilt that was too small.

And, no, no quilting skills whatsoever are required for my simple fix.

If you don’t already have a sewing machine, here are several reasonably priced choices.

Here’s what I planned to do: front of quilt 3 sides of ruffles diagram

I decided to make the quilt wider and a little bit longer by adding a ruffle of sorts to 3 sides of the quilt… well 2 sides and one end, to be exact.

But I didn’t want the ‘ruffle’ to be gathered, just to lay flat, more of a flange than a ruffle really.

For my ruffle/flange I decided to use 2 different fabrics, creating a layered effect,

a blue floral toile and a green and white ticking type fabric. (remember the sewing closet in our former house? Well when we moved into our 100 year old house, I drastically thinned down those fabrics, but these 2 were survivors, and now I’m so happy because they were perfect for this project!) I wanted the green stripe to be wider so that it would show below the blue floral once the quilt was finished.

First, I figured out how much scrap fabric I had and how much I needed and how many strips I needed and how wide each strip would be, etc. etc. etc. (if you really need help with this part, feel free to email me and I’ll walk you through it, but I don’t want to bore you to death with the details here) pencil on lines to get accurate lines

Then once I knew how wide each strip would be, I penciled a line across the fabric on the wrong side.

By actually drawing the line on the fabric, using a straight edge, it gives a very accurate line to cut the strips with.

After cutting the strips of fabric, I then sewed all the strips of the green striped fabric together, right sides together; and all the blue floral strips together, right sides together. That created one super long strip of each of the two different fabrics. zig zag edge of strips

To finish the edges of the ruffle/flange

I opted to actually zig zag the raw edge instead of the typical double fold and straight stitch. I didn’t want the stiffness from a double folded edge, and since the quilt is super simple, I decided that a zig zag edge fit right in with that style. sewing 2 layers of non gathered ruffles together

The next step was to sew the top floral fabric to the bottom striped fabric.

I did this to make the final attachment of the ruffle to the quilt edge much easier.

Then the final step was attaching the ruffle to the actual quilt. sewing ruffle diagram

I laid the ‘ruffles’ (that were already sewn together) face down on the quilt back to stitch through all the layers, attaching the ruffle to the edge of the quilt. I tried to carefully sew the ruffle on so that the stitching lined up with the already existing stitching of the quilt edging. edge sewn on quilt

Here’s the same side, now with the double ruffle/flange sewn on the quilt.

You can see how now there is plenty of ‘coverage’ for the sheets and mattress, as there is supposed to be. No more awkward ‘high waters’ look here! (can’t totally claim that with my pants though… and I don’t think toile or ticking stripe additions will look quite right on my pants) corner done

Oh, and when I got to the corners of the quilt, I stopped the fabric, and zig zagged the edge of the side of the ruffle, again keeping it super casual. quilt finished

Yes, the pillow really says it perfectly, in regards to a lot of things around here, and certainly for this style of sewing… just ‘relax’ for Pete’s sake, it’s a cottage and a very simple casual quilt, with a now very simple double ruffle/flange that looks cute and casual, but covers what’s it’s meant to cover.

Did you know I now offer e-decorating? I can help you with your decorating needs via email, without having to step foot in your home. If you’re interested in more information, visit my e-decorating site: Frame and Frills. I’d love to help you with your project!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Dreama Cline says

    I have been trying to find a way to update my new quilt that I just bought for my king size bed. I had something similar to this in mind but I am so glad to see it in pictures! I will definitely be doing this !!

  2. Amber Seidel says

    Hi! I am in my room crying because the quilt I just finished is too small, so your post gave me hope. Do you think that I could add real ruffle (the fluffy kind) to the top of the quilt, so I couldn’t see the binding (because that doesn’t look great either)?
    I am sorry to bother you, I feel terrible about ruling a lovely quilt.

    • Liz says

      Hi Amber! Oh, I just hate it when I’m so excited for something I’ve worked on to look great, and then it doesn’t fit right… It’s happened to me with window treatments more times than I care to remember… that’s how I’ve learned, I guess… ha ha. So, yes, for sure you could add the ruffle to cover the edging. If when you go to sew on your ruffle, just lay the right sides together… (the right side of the ruffle and the right side of the quilt, and stitch just above to edge of the edging. Then when the ruffle folds back over the edge it will be hidden. If it seems like the ruffle isn’t laying as flat as you want, you could then go ahead and top stitch the ruffle over and that will force it to lay flatter on the edge. Hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. paperworx4seniors2 says

    Now that’s really using your head. It looks so pretty with that extra fabric on sides and looks like it was there before, like quilt came that way. love your idea so much had to save whole post so can remember when that situation comes up for me and know it will. Do you solve small problems as you go along sewing? I do, can plan but then some other idea sounds like it will work better so switch and usually works lot better. Your save is so pretty and so practical, love it.
    I use quilt on our bed, not bedspread. Just love look of quilt on bed instead of trying to find bedspread that will work. Actually I use a bedspread for my bed skirt. Just put spread between mattress and box springs. Spread was too small for our bed so one day thought why not use the spread so I did. looks great, is heavy enuf to withstand dog rubbing on it often. I got tired of dealing with store bought bed skirts that were always coming loose from be or didn’t fit right, so just use that old spread. In winter we use about 4 quilts on bed cause it’s cold here in western CO. Great project, so glad you shared this idea. Happy week

  4. Donnamae says

    Great idea! I’ll remember that the next time I run across a quilt that I think is too small. I’ll buy it…and alter it! I used to do that “long on one side towards the door” thing too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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