Lap quilts are probably the most underappreciated quilts in the quilt sizing chart.
They aren’t quite as small as a baby quilt but also aren’t quite as large as a throw.
So what exactly is a “lap quilt”?
That is precisely what we are going to discuss today.
I’ll go over the different uses of the lap quilt and then show you some gorgeous patterns to inspire you to create your own.
What Are Lap Quilts?
This may surprise you but, a lap quilt is…a quilt for your lap! Crazy, right? Jokes aside, lap quilts can supply such warmth and comfort to those who need it most.
You can make one to fit perfectly on a wheelchair or recliner to keep a loved one’s legs warm or to keep them warm while they sit through different treatments in the hospital.
Some may use “lap” and “throw” interchangeably, but I would define lap quilts as a bit more narrow than throw quilts (around 40”-45”) and not quite as long (around 50”-60”.) They cover the lap and legs of the recipient who may need a little extra warmth and comfort.
I’ve made a few lap quilts over the years, and they are cherished and loved by those who use them.
FAQs About Lap Quilts
What is the best size for a lap quilt?
Since a lap quilt covers the lap and legs, the dimensions should be around 40”x55”, give or take a few inches either way. You could call anything larger a throw quilt instead.
How many 5-inch squares does it take to make a lap quilt?
To make a 40 ½”x54” lap quilt, you will need 108-5” squares.
How do you make a simple lap quilt?
Follow these simple steps to create a 40 ½”x54” lap quilt from 5” squares.
- Step 1: Choose the layout for squares. If you are using charm packs, you will need three. The rows will be nine across and 12 down, like the image below.
- Step 2: Sew the horizontal rows. Once you have the squares in the layout you like, Sew the blocks together to make horizontal rows.
- Step 3: Sew the rows together. After sewing each horizontal row, you will start sewing the rows together.
And there you have it! A simple lap quilt that measures 40 ½”x54”.
19 Gorgeous Lap Quilt Patterns to Try
Now that we know a bit more about lap quilts, let’s look at some easy lap quilt patterns, shall we? I’ve also gathered up several free lap quilt patterns for beginners, so if you have never made a quilt before or are still a beginner, these free lap quilt patterns will be perfect for you.
1. Brick Quilt Pattern
Here is a fantastic example of a beginner lap quilt — and the best part? It’s free! This pattern allows the selected fabrics to shine and has a straightforward layout, perfect for your first quilt or if you need to make a lap quilt in a hurry. The finished size is 40”x52”.
2. Four Patch Spin Quilt Pattern
Another free pattern, the Four Patch Spin is a modern classic. This pattern will show you how to construct a 40”x56” quilt. Similar to the Brick pattern, this design shows off the beautiful fabrics you have chosen.
3. Interlocking Rings Pattern
This pattern offers three different sizes: baby, lap, and twin. I would suggest making the baby size (54”x54”) for a lap quilt. The dimensions for the “lap” size are probably too large for a wheelchair at 60”x70”.
4. High Tide Pattern
Check out those gorgeous curves! The designer of this pattern wrote it to show you how to create this quilt top using the quilt-as-you-go method. The pattern offers five different sizes, including a lap quilt size.
5. Trip Around the World Pattern
Trip Around the World is another beginner-friendly pattern using the same size square for the entire quilt top. The finished quilt will measure 42”x50”.
6. Ombre Mountains Pattern
Wow, this pattern is jaw-droppingly beautiful! The designer has written the pattern to offer six different sizes, including lap and throw-sized quilts. They give detailed instructions and illustrations to help you create this quilt.
7. Jelly Roll Strip Pattern
This fun yet simple design is a beautiful option for beginners. The final quilt size will be 50”x60” if you follow this free pattern precisely. It may be a smidge too large for a lap quilt, but you can easily leave out one column from the pattern to make a more narrow lap quilt.
8. Zigzag Love Pattern
This sweet pattern comes in 3 different sizes: baby, lap, and bed. The lap size will measure 44 ½”x56 ½”. The pattern designer made sure to create this design with beginner quilters in mind. She gives detailed instructions and fabric suggestions using precut fabrics.
9. Dawnland Pattern
This modern quilt pattern will make a gorgeous and cherished lap quilt. There are five size options in this pattern, and I suggest using the crib size (44”x62”) for a lap quilt.
10. Aurora Borealis Pattern
A beautiful modern take on a star quilt, this pattern is sure to “wow” everyone that sees it. The finished quilt will be a 53” square. It may be too large for a wheelchair but perfect for snuggling under in a chair or couch.
11. Over and Under Pattern
This pattern may look more complicated than others, but it only used two different blocks to create this unique design. The pattern provides detailed instructions on how to make this quilt top from start to finish. Quilt size: 40”x56”.
12. Luna Moth Pattern
This pattern uses simple blocks to make this eye-catching moth. The final quilt measures 52”x52”. Using your creativity, choose colors that will make your moth pop! This pattern suits a child or adult.
13. Wonderful Woodland Pattern
For all those true animal lovers out there, the Wonderful Woodland pattern is sure to excite adults and children alike. This pattern shows you how to construct this lovely quilt top which measures 44”x60”.
14. Wild Blooms Pattern
Modern and striking, the Wild Blossoms pattern is a wonderful option if you or your loved one wants something less traditional. This pattern gives instructions for you to create a 45”x48” quilt top and also has instructions for twin and queen size options.
15. 3 Hour Baby Gingham Pattern
16. Spinning Stars
Here is a beautiful quilt pattern in two sizes: baby and throw. The baby size measures 42 ½”x56 ½”, which is the perfect size for a lap quilt. This fun geometrical design uses paper piecing, and the pattern designer states you should know how to do paper piecing before using this pattern.
17. Hearts and Flowers
This sweet, adorable quilt pattern would make a wonderful gift for someone who might need a lap quilt. You will piece the hearts using traditional block piecing techniques and applique for the flowers. The finished quilt measures 48 ½”x53”.
18. Mod Flower Box
This gorgeous modern quilt pattern is a precut-friendly design and comes in two sizes: wall hanging/lap (51” square) and large (78” square.)
This is an excellent option for a confident beginner since it does have some curved pieces. The pattern does a great job showing you how to make this quilt step-by-step.
19. Cactus Sunrise
Cactus Sunrise is an excellent choice if you need a quick, easy quilt project. This beginner-friendly quilt pattern will show you how to make a 48”x64” quilt. You only need five fat quarters for the patterned fabrics and 2 ¼ yards for the background fabric.
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Gingham is a timeless design, and what better way to celebrate it than through a quilt? This pattern is technically a “baby quilt pattern,” but the dimensions (40 ½”x50 ½”) are an ideal size for a lap quilt. This gingham quilt pattern is a free downloadable PDF.
Weren’t these patterns fun? I love the idea and the act of creating something special for someone, especially when it may be for a period in their life that they need that extra comfort and love.
Lap quilts are wonderfully versatile projects that the recipient can cherish for years. I hope this list has given you some great ideas for your own lap quilt projects. Quilts truly are the perfect representation of the gift of love.
About the author: Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she’s not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.