Threadbias Quilt Design Tool Review + Giveaway

on April 4 | in Contests & Giveaways, Products | by | with 54 Comments

Jen Carlton Bailly showed us how to make Scrappy Whole Cloth Placemats, His + Hers Pillows and she’s been an expert here more than once too. Today she’s sharing her experience with the new Threadbias Quilt Design Tool; you’ll love the quilt she designed! Learn more about Jen in her introduction and be sure to stop by her blog.

Threadbias is giving away a one-month pass to their Quilt Design Tool, or a one-month credit for existing subscribers. Leave a comment here telling us what tools you currently use to design your quilts for a chance to win! We will pick a winner on April 8th. (Sign up for a free account on their site if you don’t have one already.)

When Kristin asked if I’d like to review the new Threadbias Quilt Design Tool I was really excited. However, like with most things, I was also skeptical. I like my pencil, my gummy erasers from art school, my pretty pencils and my calculator. Plus I’ve played around with several different programs like it that just didn’t work and ended up being frustrating. Hearing though that the tool had a fabric calculator and would tell me how much fabric I needed to make my quilt totally peaked my interest.

I sat down and opened the program. I tried to play around, tried some more and then got frustrated. Oh right!– I was told to watch the tutorials. Of course, I know better… So I hopped over to the YouTube page and watched all fourteen videos. They were short, sweet and to the point. Once I had run through all of those I felt like I was totally set up for success. It was still a little frustrating getting around and remembering everything, but after a few dedicated sessions I totally got it. So don’t try this and expect to just “get it.” It’s a computer program, and will take some time to learn. Practice is really the key. Oh, and watch the videos!

If you know who I am you know that I have a slight obsession with ¼ circles. That was my jumping off point. It took me about a minute to create one, and that’s when my obsession with this tool began. I started copying the ¼ circle and playing around with different angles. In literally a matter of minutes I had the nine blocks below. MINUTES! It was right after this that I had to give myself time limits on using it. Otherwise I knew it would consume me!

Seeing all the blocks laid out got me thinking about the tiling tool that Alex talked about in the videos. (This happens to be my favorite part of this whole program.) I picked my favorite block and added some colors.

Then I copied the block and tiled over four spaces and got this.

From there I copied the whole row and tiled down four more rows. When I saw my screen I was so excited. There were so many different patterns that came out that I didn’t even know were there! Now, you might be good at spotting a repeat pattern– I know I marvel at my husband’s talent for it– but it’s just not how my brain works. So when I saw them I was ecstatic!

When I selected the fabric requirements tool for my design I knew it was a little off. The calculations are over-estimates and cutting this particular block can be done more efficiently than the program could probably calculate. That being said, it was still helpful to have a good place to start.

The one thing that I would love is a cut schedule. (It’s promised for a future release.) A cut schedule tells you how many and in what size yellows to cut, how many blues, etc. In the meantime I just added them up on my own which is just fine! This quilt has 25 blocks. Each block has 16 pieces in it, which means 400 blocks for a 120 by 120 inch quilt.

After a few days I kept coming back to the block. Finally I decided I loved it so much it was going to be my new king quilt. I gathered all my yellows, blues, grays and my favorite yarn dyed Essex. (Thanks to everyone who gave and sent me yellows!) Here are my first four blocks.

I love how it’s turning out. It will probably take some time but will totally be worth it.

Overall it’s such a great tool. I designed 15 different quilts in the matter of an afternoon. There was no erasing, no tearing out my paper and throwing it away, just lots of fun trying out new patterns. I’ll share the quilts with you all over the coming months on my blog.

I really encourage you to try it. It’s free with a 9” x 9” workspace and all of the features; you just wont be able to save your designs. You can buy a subscription to the full tool for just $10/month that can be cancelled at anytime. They have a support forum for the tool and have been amazing about getting suggestions implemented. Updates are free as well! It is a web-based program so you don’t need to worry about installing any software or paying for upgrades.

If you would like to try your hand at making quarter circles, you can get the template that I used here at TabSlot.

Threadbias is giving away a one-month pass to their Quilt Design Tool, or a one-month credit for existing subscribers. Leave a comment here telling us what tools you currently use to design your quilts for a chance to win! We will pick a winner on April 8th. Be sure to sign up for a free account, if you don’t have one already.

Don’t forget to visit these other sites that are also part of the blog tour:

      March 25 -

Freshly Pieced

      March 26 -

Don’t Call Me Betsy

      March 27 -

Generation Q Magazine

      March 28 -

The Sometimes Crafter

      March 29 -

Diary of a Quilter

      April 1 -

Swim, Bike, Quilt

      April 2 -

Fresh Lemons

      April 3 -

West Coast Crafty

      April 4 -

Sew,Mama,Sew!

      April 5 -

Alison Glass

      April 6 -

Pink Castle Fabrics

      April 7 -

Ellison Lane Quilts

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54 Responses to Threadbias Quilt Design Tool Review + Giveaway

  1. esther says:

    Currently using paper and pencil, but eying on EQ7…

  2. NiCaam says:

    Paper and pencil, greatly inspired by blogs like yours and YouTube.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I usually just use paper and pencil. This looks like a much better method!

  4. dawn says:

    Since I am a Mac user, I haven’t had much to use. When I got my iPad, I got TouchDraw and that is the tool I’m currently using. It’s not great. I love what I’m seeing from Threadbias!

  5. Lindsay H says:

    Excel, paper & pencil & my preschoolers crayons. Lol.

  6. Kim says:

    I like old school. As an avid doodler I can’t see doing it any other way. The Threadbias tool can have some value if in a hurry, I guess. The fabric calculator kinda’ interests me.

  7. Jennifer G. says:

    Sketch Pad, colored pencils, ruler, eraser, calculator… and then into Photoshop/Illustrator where I struggle to get everything to scale! This Quilt Design Tool sounds dreamy!

  8. carla says:

    I usually sketch in a gridded notebook and then go into Illustrator or InDesign to do a more formal drawing – usually at full size since they support it. I can draw everything out accurately and know how it will look. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Lisa says:

    I have only used touchdraw so far, but fairly new to quilting and have been watching the threadbias new tool with interst. Thanks for the five away.

  10. Heather says:

    Graph paper and colored pencils plus a calculator.

  11. Jen V says:

    The good ol’ pencil & paper are my first tools!

  12. Beth says:

    I have never designed a quilt but think that using this tool to do so would be a great way to start.

  13. Cheryl B says:

    I use grid paper and colored pencils when designing my quilts but it definitely has its limitations – would love to win this software.

  14. Wendy says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one using graph paper and colored pencils!

  15. Bethany says:

    graph paper and pencil. I sometime use colored pencils, but usually just graph paper. It can be hard sometimes to see the finished product that way, but my quilts seem to turn out okay….

  16. Cathy B says:

    I love doing improv quilts: just seeing where my fabric takes me when I sit down with the rotary cutter, mat and sewing machine.

  17. Em says:

    I use paper and pencil and colored pencils! Digitally, I’ve been working in Photoshop, but this seems so much easier.

  18. Christina M. says:

    I’ve never used anything to design quilts, but I’d love to start!

  19. Kirsty says:

    I usually pull out the colouring pencils and some graph paper to draw my designs and work out the measurements so the Threadbias Design Tool sounds awesome!

  20. Hilary says:

    I use design boards, pencil and paper. I’ve tried basic quilt software that is included in embroidery software I have. It worked for a few projects, but now is not compatible with current operating system. Threadbias looks so much simpler!

  21. Melissa says:

    I use many of the skills I developed to get my engineering degree! Graph paper, excel, calculator, heck… Sometimes even cad!

  22. prsd4tim2 says:

    Currently, I use graph paper when I can get it… or plain paper… or the back of an envelope – just whatever I have handy when inspiration strikes. Maybe its time to update my process. I’d love a chance to try this cool tool.

  23. Munaiba says:

    Paper and pencil and then as an absolute last resort EQ6

  24. Colleen says:

    I use MS Publisher on my PC and Touch draw on my iPad!

  25. Dkb says:

    I follow other people’s patterns :) but last year I worked with my 7yo to make a quilt for her teacher using graph paper and colored pencils

  26. Mama Spark says:

    I have not jumped in yet, but plan on giving this a try in the near future. Winning a free month may be the incentive I need to do just that!

  27. Linda F. says:

    I have just been using graph paper and pencil. I currently do have a subscription to the Thread bias design tool but would love to win an extra month. Thanks for the chance.

  28. KeriAnn says:

    I use graph paper and colored pencils. It’s not perfect, but it has been working! Thanks for the great giveaway! :)

  29. Dee says:

    I use paper and pencil–and would love to try Threadbias!

  30. Patti says:

    I haven’t tried to design my own quilt, but just use pencil and paper for block layout etc! Thanks for the chance to try the Design tool.

  31. Kimberly says:

    I am all about grid paper, pencil and an eraser. I have used photoshop one twice before, but it’s not my preferred way to design a quilt. Great review!

  32. ~Michelle~ says:

    I usually use excel or powerpoint.

  33. Marcia says:

    I think this design tool looks really amazing! I have been hoping for a tool like this – simple and straightforward – for awhile now. Currently I use colored pencils and graph paper which I find very limited.

  34. I am not entering but wanted to comment on how beautiful that quilt design is. I couldn’t see it in the first layout but the tiling choice is amazing. And your choice of fabrics let’s me see modern o and x. Beautiful!

  35. Mary says:

    Well I use to use graph paper and colored pencils but for the past several weeks I have been using the Threadbias Design Tool and LOVING it!!

  36. Jen says:

    I am with you – usually pencils and graph paper. I have been known to steal a moment away at work, though, and use Microsoft Excel, too!

  37. kerry says:

    I just use a standard cutting mat and square/triangle templates. I’m thinking I should get into using some software tools like this, it looks so much easier. Some of the quilting fun for me is the puzzling of all the pieces and trying to make them fit right and make sure my math was correct.

  38. Nati says:

    Does pen and paper apply as a quilt making tool? Maybe that’s why I always get my measurements wrong lol would LOVE to try the tool, thanks for the chance to win!

  39. Christine Sherman says:

    I’m fairly new so don’t use anything yet. I’ve been wondering how I would go about doing it, so this is great!

  40. jenny says:

    I’d love to give this design tool a try! I’ve only worked with pen and paper so far…

  41. Rachel B says:

    Using a copier and sketches to come up with applique pieces.

  42. I currently design with paper and pencil

  43. chibidani says:

    I use Photoshop, Notepad and Calculator most regularly.

  44. L says:

    I just use pencil and paper–graph paper if I’m being really fancy!

  45. Mary Claire says:

    I currently use photoshop and it’s not the best method! Looking foward to trying Threadbias. =)

  46. Karen says:

    I don’t really use any design tools right now but am interested to start.

  47. Becky Greene says:

    What a great review and WOW to your quilt design and quick progress!!!! This tool sounds like so much fun – thanks for the chance to win a free month.

  48. Jess says:

    I use graph paper, colored pencils, and a ruler. I’m not much of a design person, so software like illustrator scares me. This, however, seems very approachable and user friendly. I’m excited to give it a try!

  49. Jenny says:

    By the way, this is a great design! Love what you did with the colors and repeats.

  50. Sarah L. says:

    I am currently using graph paper and colored pencils, but I would love to give this a shot!

  51. Jenny says:

    I use a lined spiral notebook and a pen (when my family haven’t stolen it). I’d like to get more technical, and would love to try this! A great way to try out new ideas before committing the time and fabric to making it.

  52. shawn says:

    I use graph paper and pencil. Then go back and use colored pencils. I guess I need to move to the more modern way. This looks great. Can’t wait to try it.

  53. beth says:

    I mostly used graph paper and my design wall. Still rather a newbie at designing my own quilts. Thanks for the giveaway. Sounds very intriguing.

  54. Sarah says:

    Paper + pencil ;) Then photoshop, depending.

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