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A layer cake is a bundle of 10” squares from a fabric line. 10” squares are a popular size of fabric because they can be divided down into 5” squares (charm squares) or 2.5” squares (mini charm squares). Packs of layer cakes usually include 42 pieces but the number of pieces may vary depending on the manufacturer.
I love layer cakes because they include larger cuts of fabric that work well with a variety of quilt patterns, especially if you’re going for a scrappy look. If I want to buy a fabric line but I’m not sure how much fabric to buy, I usually opt for a layer cake. Shop popular layer cakes here!
The pre-cut fabric speeds up the process of making a quilt. It’s even faster to assemble a layer cake quilt if you don’t cut the 10” squares and use them as-is to create a patchwork pattern.
Layer cakes are great for creating a quilt that has a scrappy look and the fabrics always coordinate beautifully because they are part of the same fabric line. You’ll usually get a few duplicate fabric patterns in a layer cake because most fabric lines do not offer 42 individual designs.
But how do you determine how many 10” squares you need for a quilt? Let’s find out!
Before you can determine how many squares you’ll need for a project, you’ll need to figure out how large your quilt will be. If the quilt you’re making is meant for a bed, you can use the mattress size. Remember to add several inches if you want the quilt to hang off the edge of the bed.
If your quilt is not meant for a bed, you can be more flexible with your measurements and use some of the suggested sizes that I have listed in my examples below!
After you have your desired quilt size, you can calculate how many 10-inch squares you need for your quilt, or you can use my example calculations to get a general idea of how many squares you’ll need.
My example calculations are using full 10-inch squares (minus ¼” seam allowance on all sides). After removing 1/2″ for the seam allowances, the finished square size will be 9.5″.
My calculations do not account for pieced blocks, sashing, or borders. If you want to cut into your layer cakes, add sashing, or add borders, you’ll need to adjust these calculations.
For my examples, I am assuming that a layer cake comes with 42 ten-inch pieces.
Please use my calculations for reference only, and be sure to double-check your quilt math before you go fabric shopping!
Want to save this information for later? Download the free 10″ Squares Cheat Sheet!
How Many 10-Inch Squares Does it Take to Make a Baby Quilt?
To make a 38″ x 47.5″ baby quilt, you will need 20 ten-inch squares.
This equals just under half of one layer cake. You could make two baby quilts out of one layer cake with these measurements, or save the remaining ten-inch squares for another project.
How Many 10-Inch Squares Does it Take to Make a Throw Size Quilt?
To make a 57″ x 66.5″ throw size quilt, you will need 42 ten-inch squares.
Lucky for you, this size quilt needs exactly one layer cake. This size quilt will highlight your fabric nicely and it’s a great size for gifting!
If you want a larger throw size quilt, you can make a 66.5″ x 76″ throw size quilt with 56 ten-inch squares, or 2 layer cakes.
HELPFUL TIP: Mix yardage with layer cake squares to save money on fabric. One yard of fabric will yield 12 ten-inch squares.
How Many 10-Inch Squares Does it Take to Make a Twin Size Quilt?
To make a 76″ x 95″ quilt, you will need 80 ten-inch squares.
A quilt this size can be made with 2 layer cakes.
A nice option for this size quilt would be to choose one patterned fabric layer cake and one solid fabric layer cake (or yardage cut into 10″ squares) for a fun checkerboard pattern.
How Many 10-Inch Squares Does it Take to Make a Full Size Quilt?
To make a 85.5″ x 104.5″ quilt, you will need 99 ten-inch squares.
A quilt this size will require 3 layer cakes.
How Many 10-Inch Squares Does it Take to Make a Queen Size Quilt?
To make a 95″ x 104.5″ quilt, you will need 110 ten-inch squares.
You will need 3 layer cakes to make a quilt this size.
How Many 10-Inch Squares Does it Take to Make a King Size Quilt?
To make a 114″ x 104.5″ quilt, you will need 132 ten-inch squares.
You will need 4 layer cakes to make a quilt this size.
What Size Quilt Can You Make With One Layer Cake?
The largest quilt you can make with one layer cake is a 57″ x 66.5″ quilt. Lay your blocks in a 6×7 grid to get these measurements.
You can add sashing between the ten-inch squares and borders to your quilt to easily increase the size.
A 57″ x 66.5″ quilt makes a great size quilt for a child or for a living room throw.
What Size Quilt Can You Make With Two Layer Cakes?
The largest quilt you can make with two layer cakes is a 76″ x 95″ quilt. This size quilt will use an 8×10 grid layout.
You will have 4 ten-inch squares left over with these measurements, but those 4 blocks don’t have to go to waste! Incorporate them into your quilt backing, or save them for a future project.
How to Calculate How Many 10-Inch Squares You Need For a Quilt
Want to come up with your own measurements? Here’s how to do it.
Before we do any calculations we need to subtract the seam allowance from our fabric. The standard seam allowance for quilting is ¼ inch. Because there will be seams on every side of our 10-inch square, we need to subtract two seam allowances from our starting measurement of 10 inches. That leaves us with a finished square size of 9.5 inches.
Now that we have the size of our squares, we can divide our finished quilt dimensions by 9.5”.
Let’s do a quick example:
We want to make a throw size quilt that is roughly 55” by 65”. To determine the number of layer cake squares we need we’ll divide 55” / 9.5” to get 5.78. Because we don’t want a partial square, we’ll round that up to 6. We will need 6 ten-inch squares to reach our quilt width of 55”. (The width will technically be 57″ (6 x 9.5), but you can trim the finished quilt top if you need the sizing to be exact).
Now let’s do the length. We’ll divide 65” / 9.5” to get 6.84. Again, we only want to use full ten-inch layer cake squares so we’ll round up to 7. We will need 7 10” squares to give us a 66.5” quilt length.
Now we’ll multiply the number of squares together. 6 x 7 = 42 squares. For a 57″ x 66.5″ quilt we need 42 layer cake squares.
Divide this number by 42 (the number of squares in a layer cake) to find out how many layer cakes we need. 42 / 42 = 1. If this number is not a whole number, round up. We will need exactly one layer cake to complete a 57″ x 66.5″ quilt.
HELPFUL TIP: When calculating how many 10-inch squares you need for a quilt, be sure to account for any sashing or borders you may want to add. For example, if you want to a 4-inch border around your quilt, subtract your desired quilt size by 8″ to account for your borders BEFORE you calculate how many 10-inch squares that you need.
Layer Cake Quilt Size Chart
Below is a chart that shows the largest quilt you can make with 42 piece layer cakes.
The column on the left shows the number of layer cakes and the column on the right shows the largest quilt you can make with that number of layer cakes (using the full 10″ squares and accounting for 1/4″ seam allowance).
|Number of Layer Cakes
|Largest Quilt Size
|57″ x 66.5″
|76″ x 95″
|95″ x 113.5″
Now you know how to figure out exactly how many 10-inch squares you need to make your next quilt. Grab the free 10″ Square Cheat Sheet to save this information for later!
Other Blog Posts You May Like:
30 Free Layer Cake Quilt Patterns
How Many Quilting Squares Are in a Yard of Fabric?
How Many 5 Inch Squares Do I Need to Make a Quilt?
Can You Make a Quilt Without Batting?
The Stress-Free Guide to Machine Washing Your Quilt