Thursday, February 18, 2016

PWS- How to Write a Quilt Pattern - Round table Topic 6 - Computer Programs

Topic VI - Computer Programs - Round Table Discussion

On Wednesday, I covered Topic VI which discussed various computer programs available to create your designs, illustrations, text, and pattern layout as well as what I use to create my patterns.  In this round table discussion the guest designers are going to share which programs they use in their pattern work.  I think that you will be amazed at the variety of programs used by them, it really shows that there is no one "right" program to create your pattern.

Tomorrow (Friday, Feb 19th), Christa from Christa Quilts will be posting on experiences in hiring a graphic designer.

Which computer program(s) do you use for the illustrations, text, and for laying out the pattern (Word, PowerPoint, Adobe, etc). 

Did you hire out any of the work out?

Christa of Christa Quilts - I use EQ7 to design all of my quilts. When I first began selling quilt patterns, I would import my EQ images into Photoshop for cropping and adjusting. Then I would copy and paste them into a word processing program in between the pattern text.
My husband helps me with the photography. I tried to hire that part out to a professional photography studio but found that I could get better detail images of my quilting if I did it myself.
I recently hired a graphic designer to make my patterns look more professional. I give her the EQ images along with a “transcript” – a rough draft of the pattern instructions with notes that say “insert illustration 1 here, insert photograph 2 here” etc. She takes the images and imports them into Adobe Illustrator, or redraws them if needed. She then takes the images, words, and photography and lays everything out in Adobe InDesign. Because she’s a quilter, she understands the terminology I am using and knows what I’m trying to convey. If anyone is interested, they can contact her at
It’s worth it for me to pay for things I don’t like to do, like graphic design, because she is much faster than I am, and it frees me up to do more of the fun stuff I like to do.

Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts - To write the pattern I use MS Word and, for the illustrations, I use the Paint program on my computer.

Soma of Whims and Fancies - I do all of the work myself, using Adobe Illustrator for everything.

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl - I think it is exciting to see how many different programs there are to accomplish the same goal. I want to encourage everyone to start with something they are comfortable with. My first patterns were drafted using EQ5, and I chose to learn Inkscape as my pattern writing skills improved and I wanted higher quality graphics. You don't have to start out an expert in expert level programs to get started!  I currently use Inkscape for illustrations, and I write my patterns in Word. To date, I have not hired out any work.

Amy of 13 Spools - Adobe Illustrator for all of the illustrations, and Adobe InDesign for the text and layout - and no! Even for my book, I did all of the illustrations. They listed an illustrator in the front of the book, but I really have no clue what he did…no offense. Seriously, I just don’t know.

Anne of Springleaf Studios - I use Adobe Illustrator for all the illustrations and Adobe InDesign for the actual writing and pattern layout. Both my husband and I have degrees in graphic design so the pattern layout process is something we are familiar with.  I'm no expert in either program but at least I can manage the basics for what I need. 

The hardest part of the whole process is getting a really good flat photo for the cover. I have tried indoor photography using lights and outdoor photography with natural lighting. My latest two patterns had a lot of white in the quilt which added to the challenge. I'd love to hear how the other designers handle their photography.


  1. Amazing how there are so many ways to accomplish the same. I appreciate the insight and honesty from each designer! Another great post!

  2. This "behind the scenes" look is fascinating! I agree with Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl that you don't have to be an expert to work with an expert program. Just get in there and click on buttons and see what they do. If you can't find what you're looking for, google "how do I (insert task here) in (insert program name here)" and you should find some help!

  3. I'm not even sure what is on my computer and Lorna's comment made me realize I should check that out.

  4. Lots of good information. I checked out the Inkscape tutorials. Not sure I need something like that at the moment.

  5. Ann, if you use Adobe Lightroom to edit your photos (or photoshop even) you can warp them to look straight and correct for perspective. It's super easy and is a great way to "digitally block" your quilts.

  6. It is so great to read how differently you all accomplish creating your patterns! I like that the methods run the whole range, thus reinforcing what Yvonne wrote about using what you are comfortable with.

  7. This is great info. I'm a long time user of Publisher and I know that's where I'll start, so I'm glad to see I'm not the only person in the world who isn't an Adobe master. And like Anne, I'd love to hear more about the photography aspect. Is there a best practice/sells better look for covers - static indoor vs organic outdoor, etc?

  8. I can't believe it has taken me this long to read the rest of this series. I am learning SO MUCH. Thank you all!


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