Thursday, January 9, 2014

Designing a new TARDIS quilt

If you're not a Whovian, and you're tired of seeing TARDIS stuff on here...then you might be in the wrong place, because let me just say this is not the last of them!  Most of the photos through this post are unrelated to the TARDIS design though--they're just photos of some of my other concept drawings.

EDIT:  You can see the update TARDIS pattern/design here.

Possible heart designs for the Aspen Mini quilt.

If you are a Whovian (or you love one, haha), and you're interested in making your own TARDIS quilt, then you are definitely in the right place!  This post outlines how I've made my own pattern for a TARDIS II quilt, and how you can do it too.

For the Landscape Quilt.

First, start with research.  I usually troll through pinterest a bunch, searching for keywords like TARDIS and TARDIS quilt and TARDIS quilt pattern.  I haven't seen any pattern out there that I wanted to use--they were all too simple.  If you're seen my quilts from the past year you know I don't do simple very often.  I like putting a lot of detail in my quilts...and when it comes to something from a fandom, you don't skimp on the details!

For my F.C. quilt--which is in the works now.

I've amassed quite a few good TARDIS quilt stuff in one of my pinteret boards.  The only thing I haven't figured out how to do yet is the 'POLICE public call BOX' sign.  Until I figure out how to make one to my standards, I've decided to buy one from this etsy shop.

Various concept drawings of my Starry Night quilt.

I found multiple sources for TARDIS measurements online.  There have been so many TARDIS versions through the years!  I generally stick with the 10th and 11th doctor stuff though.  I printed out a few that had measurements for reference, and then scaled the numbers down so the finished quilt would be around 40"x70".  

The printed numbers are for a life-sized TARDIS, so I multiplied all the numbers by .625 to keep the right ratio.  The TARDIS shown here is one of the older ones, so I used my artistic license, and other TARDIS measurements I'd found online, to change a few things (also so it would fit in my quilt area).

Then I used some graph paper to draw a TARDIS with my own measurements.  Then I made second measurements  for the 'raw' pieces of the fabric--how big I would need to be cut each piece (adding a 1/4 inch to each side for the seam allowance).

This is not quite to scale, but close enough for designing a quilt.  The numbers on the TARDIS are the finished measurements, and the numbers outside the TARDIS are the raw fabric measurements (how big to cut each piece, in case you're going to go make your own).

Then I figured out how much fabric I would need in each color, and added 20% for any errors and waste fabric.  I really wanted to use all Kona solids, but my local Joann's has two colors of blue: navy and candy blue.

There are two final measurements for the medium fabric--the bottom one if you make the panels the same color as the rest of the TARDIS and the two boxes above that are if you make the panels a different color.

On a separate piece of paper I designed the panels and light:

I decided adding a border to the panels, with mitered corners, would look really cool.  Still working out the details for the light and the Police Box sign.

Then I went fabric shopping!  I've been ironing and cutting and piecing like crazy and it's starting to look like a TARDIS!

If you use my TARDIS pattern/measurements to make your own, let me know, I'd love to see it!

If you're interested in seeing how other people design their quilts, go check out Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty link up!


  1. A TARDIS quilt is on my quilting bucket list. It's been so fun seeing your concepts for Doctor Who quilts and I can't wait to see how this one finishes.

  2. Great post. Although I used to wath Dr Who a lot I'd missed out on most of the Matt Smith years but have been catching up since the holidays - I can see now where so much of your inspiration has come from. Really brilliant.
    Have you thought about designing your own Tardis sign and then using Spoonflower to print it?

  3. Definitely going to do this. What are you going to use for your background? Thanks so much for posting this!

  4. I love hearing about your detailed measurements and process. I keep wavering back and forth about making a full size TARDIS quilt. I may leave it for now but now I know to come back when I decide :)

  5. Who knew there had been so many variations in police box measurements over the decades?!

  6. Very cool! You may have a tardis problem and that's OK with me. :)

  7. Cool! Love seeing your process! And while i'm not a Whovian i can definitely appreciate the cool factor!

  8. Planning can be almost as fun as the actually making :) Love how the new Tardis is coming together.

  9. a TARDIS quilt would make a totally inappropriate baby gift, right?! :) I have a baby quilt to make (sigh I know it has to be Single Girl in purple and orange) but the momma really digs Dr. Who. Maybe as a wall hanging gift someday! Thank you for writing up your process.

    1. I would have LOVED a TARDIS quilt for a baby gift! I think that is a great idea :)

  10. I've been planning of making a TARDIS quilt for ages, but I couldn't figure out how I wanted to go about it. I now think I know what I want to do and have already bought the fabric. I might even start it in the next month :)

    I look forward to seeing any quilt that you make, but the Doctor Who ones blow my mind :)

  11. I'd love to know which colors you used to get the right TARDIS look and shading. I love it when someone has the knowledge and wear-with-all to do all that figuring for us. You're awesome to be sharing it with Who fans everywhere!

    1. Thank you! I made a list of the fabrics I used on this design post: