Sure, scrappy quilts are eye-catching and colorful, and who doesn’t love creating a quilt from a gorgeous fat quarter bundle?
But sometimes, you want to make a quilt with a minimal fabric selection and timeless appeal.
That’s why so many quilt pattern designers have created patterns for 3-yard quilts.
These patterns make fabric selection a breeze and are usually wonderful beginner-friendly designs.
Let’s take an in-depth look into these versatile patterns and see what is possible with just three yards of fabric.
- What Is A 3-Yard Quilt?
- What Size Quilt Does 3 Yards Make?
- How Much Backing Do I Need for a 3-Yard Quilt?
- 15 Fun and Easy 3-Yard Quilt Patterns
What Is A 3-Yard Quilt?
You can probably guess the definition of a 3-yard quilt, but just in case you’re wondering, a 3-yard quilt is a quilt top made entirely from three yards of fabric.
That doesn’t include the fabrics needed for the backing and binding.
You could also call this category of quilts a 3-fabric quilt since that also defines it perfectly. These quilts are a great way to use up your yardage and create a beautiful yet simple quilt.
When you are selecting the fabric for a 3-yard quilt, you will choose the following fabrics:
- The Focal Fabric: This will be the main fabric for the pattern. Try choosing something with a bold print or one that speaks to you.
- The Coordinating Print Fabric: This should be a print fabric that compliments your focal fabric well. Try picking a color from the focal fabric you love and finding a blender print fabric that matches it. You can also choose a solid fabric if you prefer a more simple mixture of fabrics.
- The Solid Background Fabric: This fabric will fill the “blank space” of the design. You can choose a neutral for a timeless look, or if you want something more vivid, choose a vibrant color that coordinates with the other two fabrics.
What Size Quilt Does 3 Yards Make?
The most common size quilt you will see for 3-yard patterns is a lap-size quilt. The average size of a lap-size quilt is approximately 50”x60”, give or take a few inches. This size quilt is lovely for gifting and is perfect for all ages.
How Much Backing Do I Need for a 3-Yard Quilt?
Whenever you are figuring out how much backing you need for a particular project, you need to keep in mind that the quilt should be at least 3” larger on all sides of the quilt. For example, if my quilt top measures 50” x 60”, that means my backing should measure 56” x 66” inches.
Here is how much fabric you would need for this example in the different fabric widths:
- 42” wide: 4 yards
- 90” wide: 2 ⅔ yards
- 108” wide: 2 ⅔ yards
15 Fun and Easy 3-Yard Quilt Patterns
Now that we know the basics of these fun quilt patterns let’s look at 15 examples of this pattern type. I’ve found a great mixture of free 3- yard quilt patterns and paid from some fabulous designers.
1. Topsy Turvy
Here is an excellent beginner-friendly free pattern that features solid fabrics for the quilt design. The pattern uses one quilt block in two color layouts to give the quilt a fun, log cabin-esque look. The finished quilt measures 48 ½” x 60 ½”, so you could easily make this quilt top over a weekend.
See what I mean by timeless? This free pattern from Sew Can She shows us step-by-step how to make these traditional blocks using only three fabrics. The finished quilt measures 40” x 52”. That’s a bit small for cuddling but will work great for one person as a lap quilt.
3. Boxes and Bows
Look no further if you’re looking for a quick, easy quilt pattern. This pattern uses HST (half-square triangles) and squares to create this beautiful design. The finished quilt measures 49” x 61” and will only take a few hours to construct.
4. It’s a Snap
Here is an excellent example of how to choose two bold fabrics that complement each other perfectly. This unique quilt pattern makes it look like there are squares of fabric lying on the cream background. The finished quilt measures 44” x 62”.
5. Strip Happy
“Strip Happy” is another beautiful free 3-yard quilt pattern that is perfect for a brand-new quilting beginner. The quilt top uses three yards, and so does the backing. The finished quilt will measure 46” x 62”.
6. Town Square
This 46” x 60” quilt top is the perfect pattern for you if you have some fabrics with bold patterns that you want to highlight on a quilt top. With this design’s large squares and rectangles, you can show off some gorgeous fabrics. I love how this quilt is equal parts modern and simple, don’t you?
7. Pink Picture Frame
This free quilt pattern starts with a large rectangular centerpiece. You then build out different borders to create this lovely framed look. The finished quilt will measure 44” x 53”.
This beautiful square quilt measures 49” square and is made up of HST, squares, and four flying geese blocks. The block size is 6” square, so if you’re hesitant to cut or sew smaller blocks, this is a great pattern for you. This free pattern from Wood Valley Designs gives you step-by-step instructions to create this quilt top.
9. Oh, So Sweet and Simple
Here is another free pattern from Wood Valley Designs that features three fabrics. These simple blocks are made by sewing strips of fabric together and then cutting them to size. The finished quilt measures 47” x 53 ½”.
10. Christmas Forest
Here is a quick and easy Christmas quilting project that features simple tree blocks and two framing borders. The blocks are beginner-friendly and don’t need specialty templates or “Y” seams. The finished “Christmas Forest” quilt measures 43” x 59”.
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11. Porch Rails
This quilt demonstrates the three fabric choices we talked about earlier perfectly. They have blue and white focal fabric, dark blue blender fabric, and white background. Gorgeous! This pattern will help you make a 45 ½” x 60 ½” quilt top.
Here is another timeless quilt pattern that uses a block similar to a churn dash quilt block and a framed square. These blocks are laid out in a checkerboard layout and look amazing on this quilt. The finished quilt measures 43” x 61”.
This unique design uses only one block with two different color variations to create a thatched optical illusion. This design will look incredible in any color combination. The pattern has easy-to-follow instructions for making this 46” x 58” quilt top.
14. Perfect Pets
Can we take a moment and admire these adorable cat applique pieces? This adorable pattern includes templates for a chunky cat (as seen above) and a cute dog. The instructions will show how to construct the quilt top and attach the applique pieces. The finished quilt measures 42” x 53”.
15. Olde Glory
If you’re feeling patriotic and have some red, white, and blue fabrics lying around, why not make this beautiful “Olde Glory” quilt? The pattern features four-point stars and strips reminiscent of the American Flag. The finished quilt will measure 44” x 62” and would make a beautiful gift for a veteran.
I hope you enjoyed this journey through the 3-yard quilt patterns. It’s incredible how you can use just a few yards of fabric and make a wide variety of unique and beautiful designs.
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.