Workshops to make Fiddle Quilts

If you would like one of us to run a workshop for your group; contact

See below for some tips if you would like to run your own workshop

We can also supply teaching/session plans on request

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Requirements list Fiddle Quilts Workshop

Requirements List for Fiddle Quilt Workshop

Fiddle quilts are easy and fun to make and allow you to be creative without worrying about matching seams or sewing tiny stitches. A Fiddle Quilt is made to stimulate and soothe those living with dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, who often have restless hands. An ideal size for a  Fiddle Quilt is about 41 x 66cm/16 x 25″. This is a very easy size to work with and it will fit perfectly on someone’s lap. You can make up your own pattern or use one of ours


Rotary cutter/ruler/mat OR scissors

Iron, ironing board

Sewing machine

Basic sewing kit: needles, thimble, pins


  • Fabric: scraps of solid or printed cotton in bright, highly contrasting colours (some novelty prints are desirable)
  • Textured fabric such as: corduroy, fleece, towelling, velvet     
  • Elements for fiddling such as: ribbon, pompoms, net, braid, lace, zippers, giant rickrack, Velcro, straw, crocheted or knitted squares or flowers, parts of clothing (such as pockets, cuffs or shirt plackets), Suffolk Puffs, Prairie Points, labels from clothing, sewing elastic, rubbery shelf liner, small drawstring bags, hair scrunchies etc. 
  • Tactile items such as: large buttons, strings of beads, charms, bells, keys, keychains, metal rings and buckles. Keep in mind that these items should not be sharp or easily detached and must be able to go through a washing machine cycle
  • Optional: Embroidery floss and embroidery needle
  • If you have any, bring brightly coloured “Unfinished Objects” (UFO) blocks in patchwork or appliqué; Fiddle quilts are a good way to use them up
  • Rectangle of fabric for backing such as: flannel, corduroy or fleece, approximately 41 x 66cm/16 x 25”
  • Wadding or fleece cut to same size as backing
  • Fabric for binding: 218cm/86” strip, 5cm/2” wide; or spare jelly rolls strips are handy
  • Cotton thread, variety of colours 
  • Strong thread for securing buttons etc


  • A Fiddle Quilt must be washable in hot water and dried in a dryer, especially if made for use in a public institution. Pre-wash all fabrics and elements for fiddling at a temperature of at least 40°C.
  • Use highly contrasting fabrics to achieve visual interest either in colour or pattern. Interestingly, colours in the blue-violet range all look the same to dementia patients—their retinas have more receptors to see shades of red, so choose red, orange and bright pink fabrics to attract their attention. However, keep in mind that some people may not wish to have a dazzling pink quilt, or may prefer calmer colours so in fact, the range of colour combinations is endless. Try to avoid black. If you are making the quilt for a specific person, of course choose their favourite colours!
  • Themed/novelty fabrics that will trigger memories or happy thoughts are desirable as they may help patients to remember a forgotten part of their lives. Photo transfers of family, friends, pets, etc. can also be a thoughtful addition. If the recipient was a quilter or crafter, try to include some of these elements to bring back pleasant recollections.
  • Everything needs to be safe – eg impossible to pull off and with no sharp edges.
  • This workshop will give you a great chance to clear out your drawers of those items you can’t really use but can’t bear to throw away. I found that collecting items for my Fiddle quilts was very cathartic!