Quilts: Writing style

Use an active voice whenever possible.


To describe a cut piece of fabric, list adjectives in this order: color, measurement, shape (red print 2″ square).

Be consistent with descriptions: If it’s a “sawtooth border strip” in one step, it’s a “sawtooth border strip” in the next step. Its name changes once it’s sewn to something else.

SEW the block, PRESS the block, MEASURE the block, then REPEAT if needed: Once something is pieced, such as a triangle-square, press it, then give its measurement before instructing readers to make multiples. That way a reader can double-check she’s done it correctly before multiplying her efforts.

It’s a “quilt center” when it does not have borders; it’s a “quilt top” after the borders have been added.

Give measurements whenever possible (for units, blocks, strips, quilt center), though they may have to be deleted for copyfitting. No measurements are needed for a quilt top because that’s what’s given just after Materials.

If border strips have just been cut (under the same subhead), say “long” or “short” rather than giving the actual measurements. If they were cut earlier (under Cut Fabrics), give the measurements again so readers can confirm.

When sewing border strips to a square quilt center, say “add the short/long strips to opposite edges,” then “add long/short strips to remaining edges.” (Use “edges” not “sides.”)

Cut shapes are “pieces.” They are sewn together into subunits, then units, then blocks, then rows, then quilt center, then quilt top.

Do not use “Note:” to begin an aside to the reader; instead, just put the aside in parentheses: (You’ll use these eight segments plus the segments side aside earlier for the middle border.)

If a sentence ends with a letter or number that needs to be plural, rewrite so “total” is after numeral; do not add “s” to numeral or letter. For example:

… to make 12 total of star block 1 (not: “… to make 12 star block 1s total.”)

Repeat to make three total of setting triangle D. (not: “Repeat to make three setting triangle Ds.”)

Press open attached triangle.

For freezer paper and fusible web, say: Use a pencil to trace each pattern the number of times indicated in cutting instructions. For copyfitting purposes, delete: “Use a pencil to”

Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on wrong side of each cream print 2″ square.
For Quilts and More, add: (To prevent fabric from stretching as you draw the line, place 220-grit sandpaper under each square.)

Using a hot dry iron, press freezer-paper shapes onto wrong sides of designated fabrics.

Finish quilt: Include a page reference with Complete Quilt only on the first mention in this section. (It’s often mentioned twice.)

Diagrams (Updated 8/13/13)
Labels under diagrams should include the word “diagram”: Quilt Assembly Diagram, French Knot Diagram, Appliqúe Placement Diagram.
If the diagram label also includes the name of the pieced unit (Strip Set A, for example), that should come first, then the name of the diagram.
Strip Set A
Diagram 4

Captions should be hardworking, essential elements of the overall message. The style should be straightforward, with short, simple sentences. Captions should not repeat what has been stated in the story text, but rather expand on the individual elements within the photo, explain some relationship to the story as a whole, or provide some context with a direct quotation from the shop owner, quiltmaker, or story character.

Style for group photos:
The staff at the Quilt Block includes front (left to right): Name, Name, Name Name, and Name Name; back: Name Name, Name Name, and Name Name.


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