Sometimes after days, weeks, or months of hard work, the last thing you can do is make one more decision about your quilt. That’s why when you need to choose a quilt design to complement your quilt can feel really overwhelming. In most cases, once you’ve quilted the quilt it is complete and there’s no turning back. It can feel like a huge decision for your precious quilt.

There is good news though! Choosing a quilt design has no right or wrong answer. It really comes down to how you want your quilt to look or feel, and if you are unsure ask your friendly neighborhood longarmer, they are sure to give you some great advice.

Here are some real-life examples to help you confidently choose a quilting design that lets your quilt truly shine!

Choosing a Quilting Design with Small Blocks

This quilt was large and stunningly beautiful. The deep purples and blues were well-chosen for this design. In this quilt pattern, there were no obviously defined blocks. Instead, all of the small squares add to the overall style and effect of this quilt. When it came time to choose a quilting design, we looked at the elements already in the most dominant fabrics. Up close you can see a swirling pattern that looks like blowing snow or flowers in the wind. Our quilting design directly reflects that. Since this quilt is so dark we chose dark thread that was able to stand out both on the dark quilt top and on the lighter backing fabric. Also with the block-free pattern of the quilt, we chose to do the quilting larger. Remember: a larger quilt design=the more room your fabric has to “breathe” and the softer your quilt will feel. Smaller/tighter quilting=a stiffer and more textured quilt.

A large purple quilt with small blocks display professional longarm quilting with a beautiful swirled design

A beautiful purple quilt hangs from a tree at dusk. The photo describes how to choose a quilting design.

Choosing a Quilting Design on Busy Quilts

This quilt is absolutely amazing to look at. Even from far away you can tell the detail and dedication the quilter put into every cut and stitch. When it came time to choose a quilting design we knew that the quilting was merely a secondary element to this stunning quilt top. When you have a quilt top that is this busy, your quilting will not show up very well (which is totally normal!). So don’t worry too much about what design to choose. You can try choosing a colored thread to let the quilting design peek out. We chose a red thread that camouflaged nicely in most of the quilt, but stood out on the white parts of the quilt.

A big red quilt with an intricate design of small red, black, and white squares

Choosing a Quilting Design Based on the Fabric

Sometimes you can find an exact match with your fabric and the quilting design. This can be such a fun way to give your quilt a custom and professional feel. In this flower quilt, we chose a quilting design that had a very similarly shaped flower. It gave the impression that the flowers popped right out of the fabric and into the quilting. Other great examples of quilts that do this well are: baby quilts & animal cracker quilting, woodsy quilts & acorn or leaf quilting, holiday quilts & snowflake quilting.

A red and brown daisy quilt up close showing the machine quilting design

Choosing a Quilting Design that Adds to Your Quilt

The really neat thing about quilting designs is that they can add an entirely new element to your quilting design. It can complete your overall design, add texture to certain elements, or even take your quilt from two-dimensional to three-dimensional. (Our favorite way to do this is by couching your quilt with chenille yarn instead of traditional thread. To learn more about couching, read here).

Christmas quilt with christmas trees and christmas quiltingBlue quilt with yellow fish quilted on a sea of beautiful blue fabric that looks like water

A Valentine's Day quilt lays outside in the sun. It is quilted with swirling hearts with yarn to be fluffy and cozy.