Quilt Pattern Design Using Inkscape and EQ7

Quilt pattern design is an activity that I wanted to ‘conquer’, especially after getting my patterns published in a magazine in 2014.

I design a lot of my quilts in EQ7 and I really like the program for the way I can plan, play, make changes before cutting a single piece of fabric.

But, when I decided to start writing patterns and more detailed instructions for my workshops, I thought that Adobe Illustrator was going to be my my best option.  UGH…expensive program and a steep learning curve.

But then…..several wonderful quilt designers mentioned Inkscape as a great alternative for drawing diagrams and step out instructions.  Well, it’s been marvelous!! And, it’s free.  After practicing, I’ve used it for a published pattern and it looked pretty good, if I do say so myself.   So now I’m a confident beginner with quilt pattern design using Inkscape and EQ7!

First, I found Youtube tutorials that taught me how to use the program. Here’s one to start with.   TIP NOT SHOWN IN THIS TUTORIAL:  You first have to save your block or quilt layout in EQ7 as an Adobe PDF file.  This isn’t shown in the normal ‘save as’ options.  For this option, go to PRINT and change your printer to PDF software that you have on your computer.  Sometimes I forget that step.  Inskcape reads the PDF file as an image and you can then edit it.

So, I wanted to go from this block diagram created in EQ7:

4 Patch block




…to create this in Inkscape–it’s called exploding the block to show how the 4 pieces actually fit together. The one on the left is the block shown above.

exploded blocks




I can also add text for directions, arrows and more when I need to because the files are saved as jpegs that I can edit in Word or Photoshop as needed.

Same process for your full quilt layout.  Here’s a snippet of a full quilt layout I created in EQ7 and then edited in Inskcape for one of my patterns –also exploded. Kaboom!

layout sample for blog 2









5 Responses to Quilt Pattern Design Using Inkscape and EQ7

  1. Sharon Lorfing July 28, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    Have you ever “exploded” an on-point quilt. I’m using Inkscape and having trouble exploding diagonally.

    • Carole Lyles Shaw July 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      No I haven’t used it to work with an on-point quilt. If you are using EQ7, the staff there may be able to give you some pointers. Let me know what you find out!

  2. Belinda Soderberg June 14, 2018 at 12:26 am #

    Thank you so much for the info Carole. I just started writing patterns for quilts I’m designing and was trying to figure out how to go about doing the illustrations in them. I stumbled onto your article and have been hard at it the past 2 days and now have 2 patterns written and illustrated. It went faster on the 2nd one as I’m becoming more comfortable with Inkscape. Your article was invaluable to me.

    • Carole Lyles Shaw June 14, 2018 at 8:25 am #

      That makes me so happy to hear! Please send me a link to your patterns–I’d love to see what you are doing (I’ll send you an email).

      • Belinda Soderberg June 17, 2018 at 1:19 am #

        Hi Carole! I have one of them listed at Craftsy now and will probably have my 2nd one uploaded by the end of the weekend. I’m working on some new ones now. I had over 100 I had designed years ago (early 2000’s) that I lost when my hard drive crashed..uugghh…sure wish I had those files still. Those would have kept me busy for quite some time just writing the patterns to them LOL I’ve started a web-site and have included the addy. I have the pattern posted there in Busy BZ Boutique and it is linked to Craftsy like your’s are 😉 I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! Thank you again!

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