The Ever Thicker Mattress and Your Quilts

If you’re a quiltmaker, at some point you’ll probably make a quilt to fit a bed. If you’re lucky, you’ll know exactly which bed and can plan accordingly. We’re often asked what size of quilt will fit a certain size of bed, and the answer is always, “It depends.”

Jasmine Star from Jan/Feb ’11

We patterned Jasmine Star, above, as a 107″ x 107″ king. It’s a very large quilt. However…

I got a new queen-size mattress last week. I’d heard that mattresses were thicker, taller and deeper these days, but I wasn’t really prepared for how much thicker, taller and deeper. I decided to measure the new mattress because I’m thinking it needs a quilt.

bed1 The Ever Thicker Mattress and Your Quilts

New mattress

The box spring is 9 inches high. That part seems pretty cut and dried. The mattress is 12 inches high when measured along the side, from the cording on the bottom to the cording at the top. But if you take into account the additional “puff” on top, it’s another 2 to 3 inches for a total of about 15 inches.

To completely cover the mattress and box spring, you’d need to figure a 24 inch drop on both sides. Add that 48 inches to the standard 60 inches of width and you get a whopping 108 inches of quilt width needed for this “queen-size” project. I would actually plan for a few more inches because the top will “shrink” when it is quilted.

And think about this: that 108 inches is not enough if you want the quilt to reach the floor. For that you would need a total of 122 inches from side to side!

I was curious—I decided to visit the basement where an older mattress lives in a spare room. The old box spring is a bit less than 7 inches high, 2 inches shorter than the new version. (So much for cut and dried.)

bed2 The Ever Thicker Mattress and Your Quilts

Old mattress

The old mattress is—get ready for this—7 inches high. That’s about half the thickness of my new mattress! I would not have believed there was such a large difference if I hadn’t measured these myself.

While there’s no one answer for what size of quilt you should make, we’ve created a short article called Suggested Quilt Measurements for Standard Bed Sizes. It’s a place to begin, but my experience demonstrates that you really must have a good look at the bed you’ll be dressing, tape measure in hand.

This exercise has made me aware of how drastically mattresses have changed over the years. I’ll use this information the next time I create a bed quilt, and maybe you can, too!

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