Quilt to Give: Step One—Sort Your Fabrics


Quilt to Give: Step One—Sort Your Fabrics

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This post kicks off the Nancy Zieman’s Quilt to Give Project, where you’ll be able to make a great looking quilt from your fabric stash in 10 Easy Steps. Nancy designed our Quilt to Give project for you to use your stash to create an attractive, easy-to-make bed-sized quilt and then give it away to an individual or family in need. Making and giving a needed bed quilt is a heartfelt way of showing support and encouragement.

Find an overview and listing of the 10 Easy Steps for Nancy Zieman’s Quilt to Give at QuiltToGive.org.

Step One: Sort Your Fabric Stash!

When looking at your fabric stash, you may first feel a bit overwhelmed. You may think there are not enough leftover fabrics to create an attractive quilt.


The Quilt to Give project will give you incentive to organize and cull your fabric stash to create an attractive, well-planned quilt. Instead of creating quilt of blocks, your Quilt to Give will be made in columns. This photo shows a column unit with solid strips of fabric on the outside, with a patchy center strip.

Quilt to Give sort fabrics Nancy Zieman

How to sort your fabrics:

  • Begin by selecting several fabric prints that will be used as inspirational fabrics.
  • Gather solid-colored fabrics that coordinate or match with each print. Choose as many solids or mottled fabrics (subtle prints that appear as solid colors from a distance) as possible for this project. The solid fabrics will be used for the outside columns.
  • Create several stacks of fabric, placing the inspirational fabric on the top.

Quilt to Give sort fabrics Nancy Zieman

Quilt to Give sort fabrics Nancy Zieman

  • Decide which fabric grouping will be the candidate for your Quilt to GiveIt may be necessary to measure the fabric (next step) to determine which stack has enough yardage to complete a quilt.
  • Measure solid fabrics to make certain there’s enough fabric colors to create one or two outside column units. Yardage needed for each solid fabric column unit is 10″.

Note From Team Nancy Zieman Productions


Pin sticky notes to your fabrics and write the yardage or number of inches on the notes.

Double quilt:

  • A double-size quilt will have 11 column units.
  • Select six solid fabrics: five fabrics are used twice and the sixth fabric is used for the center column unit.
  • Fabric needed: 20″ of five fabrics and 10″ of one fabric.

Queen quilt:

  • A queen-size quilt will have 13 column units.
  • Select seven solid fabrics: six fabrics are used twice and the seventh fabric is used for the center column unit.
  • Fabric needed: 20″ of six fabrics and 10″ of one fabric.

King quilt:

  • A king-size quilt will have 15 column units.
  • Select eight solid fabrics: seven fabrics are used twice and the eighth fabric is used for the center column unit.
  • Fabric needed: 20″ of seven fabrics and 10″ of one fabric.

Note From Team Nancy Zieman Productions A twin-size quilt is a great size to make and donate. A twin-size quilt will have 10 columns. Select one of the layout options below.

Column Layout Options

Depending on your fabric stash, you may use only two or three fabrics – alternating column colors.

Quilt to Give sort fabrics Nancy Zieman

Quilt to Give sort fabrics Nancy Zieman


Or, select a different color theme for each column unit.

Quilt to Give Nancy Zieman

Note From Team Nancy Zieman Productions We look forward to you sharing photos of your Quilt to Give color combinations!

•          Determine which fabrics will become the outside column strips. Our choice was easy, we didn’t have enough yardage of the red and black fabrics.


Note From Team Nancy Zieman Productions It may be necessary to buy one or two fabrics to create an attractive color combination. Oh darn … time go shopping!

  • Gather more prints and solid fabrics to be used for the patchy center strips. Notice our short yardage of  black and red is now within the patchy stack!

Plan your quilt by printing our Quilt to Give Cutting Worksheet–Twin Size.

Or, print a Quilt to Give Cutting Worksheet–Twin, Double, Queen and King

The process of cutting our fabrics took only about two hours.

That’s it! Step 1 is complete! Next up, Step 2 …


Review Upcoming Steps

Step 1—Sort out fabrics from several stashes

Step 2—Cut column strips and center patchy strips 

Step 3—Stitch column lengths

Step 4—Stitch the patchy center columns

Step 5—Create the columns

Step 6—Piece the quilt top

Step 7—Audition borders

Step 8—Add borders

Step 9—Layer and quilt your creation

Step 10—Binding and labeling

Quilt for Others with “Quilt to Give” Learn how to set-up and organize a Quilt to Give Event.


The gift is in the giving!

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions. LLC.

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  • rose
    June 15, 2011

    Very excellent encouragement, thank-you! My heart is willing to help others and you are so right in saying it could be one of us next, there seems to be tradegy at every quarter today. Thank-you for straight-forward and practical directions to help me past just being stunned by the disasters and actually do something to help bring a little relief. God bless you Nancy.

  • Mardell
    June 15, 2011

    I like this idea and shared it on my Facebook page. I also emailed it to my sewing machine dealer, hoping they will take this on.

  • Marie
    June 15, 2011

    I look forward to sorting my fabric stash and getting started with my quilt!

  • Rita Honz
    January 12, 2013

    When I was 5 years old, our house burned while we were in town on Sat night getting groceries and hair cuts. We lived on a farm and the volunteer fire dept couldn’t get there in time to save anything. My Mom’s club the LTC (Ladies Thimble Club) made each of us a quilt. This was in 1939.
    O how I loved that red quilt. I hope to make one for another family. Thanks for your suggestions. Rita

  • Cathy
    July 23, 2013

    Would it be possible for you list this in a PDF version. I like having the printed version of instructions for quick reference.

  • Sandy Kent
    January 29, 2016

    Hi Nancy,
    This is a great tutorial. Lots of great information!
    I have BC awareness blocks made, I may incorporate a column in the middle. Thanks so much.
    Sandy in E. Texas

  • Jeanette Schultz
    April 22, 2017

    Thank you for this site. I have a hard time grouping fabrics for a quilt. This helps alot.

  • Karen Sternberg
    January 9, 2019

    Just finished one of these tops for my Guild, Empire Quilters in NYC. A member who does our long arm quilting for Charity work is going to long arm it. Hope to display it at our Quilt Show next Spring at FIT in NYC. Have also posted same top at

    Have also posted it & shared the Link at:
    (fka Gardenweb)

    I hope someone is watching the site after Nancy’s death. I wish her Family to see & know how her strong contributions to quilting survives.

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