How do I make an autograph quilt?

By: Penny Halgren

 Autograph quilts are great gifts for just about anyone. They make great memory quilts for a teacher or are a wonderful and unique congratulations present for someone who has received a promotion. They are great for students, or for anyone moving, to take along thoughts and memories from the friends they leave behind.

An autograph quilt can be as simple or as detailed as you want to make it. Use any quilt pattern you like, just be sure to leave some light or bright, solid color pieces on which your autographers may write.

It is easiest to have the quilt autographed before quilting the top to the batting and bottom layers. This serves two purposes: it’s easier to transport and write on with out the batting and any ink that might be absorbed through the fabric will not leak onto the batting.

To minimize fading, use an acid-free permanent marker with a fine tip to autograph the quilt.

Provide a hard, flat surface for your signers to use, such as a large table. For extra protection for the table, tape down some craft paper so any ink that leaks through won’t permanently stain the table. Be sure the marker color or colors you choose will show up on the fabric you have used. For example, a pink marker won’t show up on a red fabric.

As an alternative on the autograph quilt, you could have people sign only certain areas. For example, you might have a large panel in the center of the quilt in which you allow everyone to write a message to the recipient. Or, perhaps the quilt will be the recipient’s favorite quilt pattern and messages will be written in the border only. There are a lot of options with an autograph quilt.

Don’t forget to reserve a special place for your own autograph. As the creator of the quilt, you should sign and date the project. Be sure to include the occasion (new job, graduation, etc.). If everyone else signs the front of the quilt, maybe you as the creator should sign a special place, like a corner of the backing (as long as the fabric is suitable to signing).

If you have used a busy print on the back, write your message and signature on a small fabric square and sew it onto the back side. It will stand out from the busy printed fabric and allow you the space you need for the relevant information as well. Be sure to stitch around all four edges of your signature “tag.” If you only attach it tag style on two sides, there is a chance it could be ripped away from the quilt over the course of years.

If you are making an autograph quilt for someone who is moving away or moving on to a new challenge, consider incorporating a group photograph into your autograph quilt, too.

A picture of all the co-workers or the graduating class will add extra special memories to the autographs on the quilt. For more information about adding photos to your quilt projects, see this photo quilt link.

Quilts are special, but autograph quilts can make occasions just a little more special. Everyone who signs the quilt has a special role in the autograph project even though they might have never sewn a stitch of it.

The uniqueness of it, along with the utilitarian properties of the quilt, insure the project will be appreciated and admired for a long time. Be careful, though. When others see the reception your autograph quilt gets, they may just request that you make more for other lucky recipients!


autographed memory quilt

This autographed memory quilt was made as a thank you gift for a PTA President.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Here are some great quilt block patterns for autograph quilts. All of these are available at the

album quilt block birthday cake quilt block calico spools quilt block flowerbed quilt block memory quilt block
Album Quilt Block Birthday Cake Quilt Block Calico Spools Quilt Block Flowerbed Quilt Block Memory Quilt Block

  Happy Quilting!


Penny Halgren