Sew a Color By Number Quilt! {free quilt pattern with printables}


Sew a quilt top in a day with my super fast new method! To be totally honest – I’m borrowing a few techniques from Bargello quiltmaking which can be fantastically complex and beautiful.

UPDATE: I used this free pattern in a quilt along! See all the videos.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional.

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But I’ve simplified the process down to the very basics.

Did I mention that this is a strip quilt?

That means you’ll cut strips, sew them together, cut, sew again, and be done!

By the way, the seams will nest at every single intersection. I’m an OCD quilter and I didn’t use a single pin so that might be my favorite part, lol.


That’s why this quilt is so very fast. And beautiful too.

The finished size of my Color By Number quilt is 54 1/2’’ x 63 1/2’’ – a perfect snuggle quilt.

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And to make designing your quilt even more fun, I’m giving you some printables that include a coloring page (so no guessing about what your finished quilt will look like) plus number slips to ensure perfectly organized fabrics along the way.

You can’t go wrong!

Are you ready to sew a Color By Number Quilt??? Let’s get started!


Color By Number Quilt – Free Quilt Pattern with Printables

You will need:


The 14 fabrics I chose were all from Tula Pink’s Pinkerville Collection.

Arrange your fabrics in a pleasing order and test it out using the Color By Number planning sheet. Feel free to print the sheet as many times as you need and color away until you have the perfect combination and order of fabrics for you!


Then use the printable number slips to pin a the corresponding number to each fabric. This will help you keep them organized as you sew.

After cutting my fabrics, I pinned a number to a scrap from each print so I could refer to them as needed.

You can also take a picture with your phone to refer to. 🙂


From each of the 14 fabrics, cut:

  • 1 strip 5’’ by the fabric width (42-44’’)

  • 1 strip 5’’ by 1/2 the fabric width (21-22’’)

Alternate FQ cutting instructions… from each of the 14 FQ’s, cut:

  • 3 strips 5’’ by the FQ width (21-22’’)


Sewing Strip Sets:

1. Arrange your 14 long strips in order from 1-14, and sew them together with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

As you can see, I didn’t cut off my selvages until later.

Don’t worry about pressing until all of your strips are sewn together.

Important Tip: use a short stitch length, such as 1.5 – 2. This will help your seams to not come undone when you cut the strip sets into columns later.

2. Arrange your 14 shorter strips in order from 1-14 and sew them together the same way.

FQ instructions: Sew together 3 shorter sets of 14 strips, instead of 1 large strip set and one half-size strip set.


3. Take your sewn strips to the ironing board. Press them with the seams going in alternating directions. This means that every other strip will have both seams pressed inward (toward the strip).

Press the half-size strip set the same way.

FQ instructions: press all 3 strip sets with the seams going in alternating directions.

4. Fold each strip set in half (right sides together) and sew the long edge of fabric #1 to the long edge of fabric #14. This will make a big loop and a half size loop.

Or 3 half size loops if you cut your fabrics from FQ’s.

Press the seam in the correct direction following your pressing pattern.


Cutting the Strip Sets into Columns

1. Lay out your loops of fabric as flat as you can. You will have 2 layers, with 7 strips showing


Then fold them over one more time (lengthwise along the middle strip so you have 4 layers of fabric and 3 1/2 strips showing.

2. Trim off the selvages, or if you already removed the selvages, trim away the ends to make them even.


3. Then cut 8 columns from your large strip set, each 5’’ wide.

You will have a few inches of fabric left over – so don’t hesitate to trim the edge of the strip set in between cutting columns if you feel you need to straighten up.


4. Fold the half size strip set the same way. Trim off the selvages, and cut four 5’’ columns from this strip set.

FQ users will have 3 half size strip sets and cut four 5’’ columns from each one. Refer to the photo above.


Un-Pick one Seam in Each Column:

Now comes the fun part!

1. Refer often (for each column!) to your Color-By-Number chart to determine which seam to unpick.

Side note: I can hardly sew a day without my surgical seam ripper. It changed my life.

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For example, for the first column, unpick the seam above fabric #1.

For column 2, unpick the seam above fabric #14.

For column 3, unpick the seam above fabric #13.

And so forth… but the pattern does not continue in that order (after column 5 the numbers start going up, not down) so refer to the chart for before unpicking one seam in each column.


2. Hang your columns on a quilt design wall or lay them out on a large workspace to make sure your pattern is correct.

Tip: If you mess up and unpick the wrong seam, just sew it back together and unpick in the right place. I unpicked the wrong seam in one of the columns above, but then I discovered that I could use it in a different place!


3. Now sew all of the columns together and you are done!

Enjoy the genius of your pressing: that each and every seam allowance nests with the one under it to ensure that your seams match up.



I know exactly how I want to quilt this top, but so many of you wanted the pattern ASAP, that I didn’t wait to finish it before I shared my tutorial.

UPDATE: see how I quilted my Color By Number Quilt!

Be sure to tell me what you think in the comments and share pictures with me on instagram. Just tag me at @sewcanshe so I can take a look!

Happy quiltmaking!


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. This is a beautiful quilt, and I thank you for the tutorial.

  2. Thank you! Your quilt is beautiful and for the rest of us your chart and labels will make it just as easy for us to create something beautiful as well. I look forward to your emails every day.

  3. Ann Rippel says:

    Love the quilt. Pretty colors. Great idea for my granddaughter.

  4. [object Object] says:

    This is genius!!! I’ve done a bargello quilt, and it was much easier than it looked. Thank you for the straightforward instructions. Can’t wait to see it once it’s quilted.

  5. Hi there, I would love to make this for my granddaughter, but I need to make twin size. Is there a tutorial for twin? Or can someone guide me to how to make it that size? thank you! Gayla

  6. Betty Nelson says:

    I am so excited to start this amazing project! I have just recently been following your wonderful patterns and your lovely words of wisdom. Thank you sooo much for sharing your creativity with so many!

  7. Betty Nelson says:

    Don’t know if my previous message got to you or not, but I cannot wait to sort my fabric and get started on this quilt! It is so beautiful and so colourful. I have just recently been following your e-mails and watching for simple patterns. Your ideas are amazing and I love your lovely messages. I will be back!

  8. This looks so lovely and simple to do with your instructions. Thanks for the link to the seam ripper too. I also saw there is one from the same company that comes with seam ripper blades and a buttonhole blade. I think I need that one.

  9. I am wanting to do this quilt for my bed, a queen, can you tell me how much bigger I would need to make the squares to make this pattern work?

  10. I am inspired and think I will be doing one of these for my Mother-In-Law for Christmas. Perfect gift

  11. Quilt looks amazing can’t wait to try it. Sorting fabrics out today thanks for the easy to follow pattern

  12. Ruth Coleman says:

    I have made this quilt multiple times! It is amazing and really easy. I have added up to three additional fat quarters so it is longer. I just finished a Christmas quilt out of this pattern and it is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, it is a great way to make beautiful quilts.

  13. Looks so fast and fun! I will try this one! It would be great for a Christmas quilt!

  14. I’ve always wanted to make a color morphing quilt and here it is. I’m making mine larger, as it will be a lap blanket and he’s kind of a big kid (adult) and who doesn’t want a lap quilt to cover the toes up to your neck! I bought 1/3 yard of each fabric, cut 3 rows lengthwise, and will just add rows to the side and bottom, keeping in line with the pattern. I considered getting another fabric or two, but was not that impressed with the selections available.

    So, because I made the sister a quilt, the boy will get one for Christmas too! Thank you for sharing this quick and easy, with a lot of bang, quilt!

  15. I am currently making my forth quilt from this pattern! Such a great tutorial and quick! Thanks so much for posting it!

  16. Sorry. I must be missing something. Where do the short strips come into play with the top? Thanks for your help and this fun quilt.

    1. When the full length strips are sewn together, you’ll cut the piece (loop) into 8 columns. The quilt requires 12 columns. So you need to sew those shorter strips together and cut the piece (loop) into 4 more columns.

  17. I was given the grid of the quilt only, no other directions. I used 14 different colors of fabric, cutting them into 12 5 inch squares of each color. I laid them out in 14 stacks of 12 squares each stack, starting with # 1 I sewed it face down to # 2 ect until I got my first row. Second row following the grid, I started with # 2 fabric sewing # 3 ect making row 2. I did this until I had 12 rows, labeled 1 to 12. Press the rows alternating the direction of the seams. Match up seams and sew the rows together. Took me about 8 hours to make the quilt.

  18. beautiful quilt! I am confused about unpicking the seams? Can you explain what you mean and why? Thanks!

  19. Rosemary Doherty says:

    I can’t find the link to the free PDF download today.

  20. Math Geek says:

    Thank you for the clear instructions and amazing pattern! I used this to make my first quilt about 2 years ago and absolutely love it.

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