Did you know there is a difference between a lap quilt and a throw quilt?
When I first started creating quilts for other people, I thought they were basically the same thing.
However, I quickly found out that they are different sizes entirely.
Today, we will focus on the different attributes of lap quilts, such as the size of lap quilts and how exactly they differ from a throw-sized quilt.
Why Make a Lap Quilt?
Before we go over why you would want to make a lap quilt, let’s go over the significance of the lap quilt. Lap quilt sizes vary from a traditional throw size quilt in both width and length.
Instead of being used to go over someone’s entire body or multiple people (a throw quilt is perfect for cuddling on the couch with someone special), the lap quilt covers a person’s lap and legs. Here are a few reasons why you would want this smaller version of a quilt:
- Someone is confined to a wheelchair.
- Someone needs to keep warm during treatments and testing in the hospital or nursing home.
- Someone is confined to a reclining chair.
- Someone sits a lot in a chair, and they need to keep warm.
What Size is a Lap Quilt?
Like most quilt sizes, there is not one specific size that a lap quilt must be. However, they will generally be smaller than a throw-sized quilt (which averages 60” square.) I would suggest for lap quilt sizes that you keep the width between 36”-40” and then the length between 40”-50”.
How Do You Make a Throw Quilt?
With literally thousands of quilt patterns available online or in different quilt shops, the possibilities are endless with the designs you could use for either a lap or throw quilt.
If you are a beginner quilter, instead of trying to design something yourself, I would highly recommend finding a quilt pattern with instructions on how to construct a quilt in the size you want to create.
Many quilt pattern designers supply different sizes in their patterns now, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find something that works for you and your needs.
To figure out what size to make your lap quilt, measure the space where the recipient will be using it most, whether a chair, wheelchair, or recliner. You don’t want to make something too bulky, especially for a wheelchair.
I would also recommend using batting to keep the person’s legs warm and cozy. I always use 100% cotton batting for my quilt projects since it’s dense and holds in heat well.
Lap Quilts for Seniors
If you are creating a lap quilt for a senior, they may be spending a lot of their time in a wheelchair, recliner, or some other type of chair. The lap blanket size for wheelchairs will vary a bit, but as I mentioned before, you don’t want to make a quilt that will be too bulky for the wheelchair.
The average width of a wheelchair is 25”, and the average height of a wheelchair is 36”. As a general rule of thumb, you could add 10” to each of those dimensions to create a lap quilt for a wheelchair (35”x46”.)
Creating a lap quilt for those that are in a nursing home can be a meaningful privilege. For many nursing home residents, these quilts give comfort and constantly remind them that someone cares about them.
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Lap Quilt Size: Your Complete Guide
Now that we have discussed the different applications for a lap quilt let’s go over the lap quilt dimensions one more time. I will also give you a simple quilt design and instructions for a lap quilt you can create for a wheelchair in just a few hours.
Lap Quilt Dimensions
|Wheelchair||Recliner or other chairs|
|35”x46” (approximately)||Width: 36”-40” Length: 40”-50”|
For this free quilt pattern, I will be showing you how to create a quilt top using 5” squares which you can cut from yardage or purchase two charm packs.
Free Simple Wheelchair Lap Quilt Tutorial
Finished Quilt: 36”x45”
- For the quilt top: 2 Charm Packs OR ⅜ yard of 8 different fabrics- cut 10- 5” squares from each fabric (80 squares total)
- Batting: 40”x50”
- Backing fabric: 1 ½ yard
- Binding: ⅓ yard
Step 1: Layout the squares.
Place the squares in whatever layout you like best. In my example mockup, I used a random layout for the design.
Step 2: Sew the horizontal squares together.
Each horizontal row will have eight squares. There are ten rows total.
First, sew the horizontal squares together using a ¼” seam allowance. The finished blocks will measure 4 ½”. Don’t forget to press the seams before you sew the rows together.
Step 3: Sew the rows together.
After you have the ten rows made, begin sewing them together. Keep your seams lined up and once you have all the rows stitched together, press the seams so the quilt top will lay flat against the batting.
Your quilt top is complete! Simple, right?
Step 4: Make the quilt sandwich and quilt it.
Put your quilt sandwich together with your quilt top, batting, and backing fabric. Quilt as desired. You can do fancy Free Motion Quilting or a straightforward quilting design such as “stitch in the ditch.” It’s totally up to you.
Step 5: Bind the quilt.
After you finish the quilting, trim the edges, create your binding, and bind the quilt. You finished the quilt!
For many people, a lap quilt is much more than some fabric to keep them warm. A lap quilt can be comfort, love, connection, warmth, safety, and a constant reminder of loved ones.
The lap quilt gets lost in the shuffle many times, but it is essential to shine a light on this particular quilt size.
I hope this simple quilt pattern helps you create your own lap quilt for yourself or someone you love and cherish.
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.