In this post, I’ll show you how to create a quilt in Adobe Illustrator, so you can draft your layout and plan your fabric choices. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what is going to work until you see it laid out. Some fabrics seem like they’d go well together, but the size and proportion of each fabric can drastically affect the final look of the quilt. Test out your choices and play with them beforehand, so you can make sure you’re getting the right fabrics and the right amount of each fabric.
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- Adobe Illustrator
- See Adobe Illustrator tutorials here
- See how to use Adobe Illustrator to design textiles, too
- Fabric from designer Anna Maria Horner
Creating the Layout for Your Quilt in Adobe Illustrator
First, create artboards the size of your final quilt. My quilt was going to be 54 x 80″, so I set up a custom-sized file. It doesn’t really matter what unit of measurement you choose–I used centimeters here. You can also choose the number of art boards you want. I recommend only one right now because you’ll want to create your layout and then copy it to more artboards.
Use the rectangle tool to create your preferred layout. You can see the highlighted boxes at the top of the screen give you the option to make your rectangles the exact size you want them. This one is 38 x 8 cm. On my final quilt, the measurements were in inches, but as long as the proportions are the same, it doesn’t matter what unit of measurement you use here.
Once you’ve got the layout that you want, duplicate that artboard so you’ve got several to play with. Now you can fill them in with different combinations of your fabric swatches.
On one artboard, I saved images of each fabric sample. Use File, Place to add an image to the artboard. Create a tiled pattern for each piece of fabric by going to Object, Pattern, Make.
Planning the Fabric for your Quilt in Adobe Illustrator
Use the Direct Selection tool to select the area on the quilt that you want to fill and then select your chosen pattern from the Swatches menu. Be sure to select Fill rather than Outline. The pattern will automatically repeat itself and fill the section.
Here are all of the different color combinations that I tried. This quilt was for a friend, so I let her see all of them and choose which one she liked best.
She ultimately chose this one.
And here’s how the final piece ended up looking: