Centering an asymmetrical design


Here’s my favourite drafting tip for circular patterns you may not know.  It’s pretty subtle but will save you some stress. When putting a couple of circles around each side the design to frame it or just wanting to place the design within reference guidelines, you’ll usually want the design to sit perfectly in the middle (i.e. an even amount of space either side of design).  This can be a little tricky to figure out when the base units are asymmetrical.


Where do you measure from to place this design in between two circles?

Where do you measure from to place this design in between two circles?


Use reference guides around the outside and inside of the pattern.  Divide the circle into four quarters and take note of points D, E, X and Y as shown below.  You can see the design doesn’t touch any of these points.  It’s funny, but not many of my designs do. I didn’t realise I use the tip I’m giving you so often!




These reference guides will give you the true diameter of the design.  If I’d made the design the same height as the reference circle, the design will be larger than the reference circle.  You’ll probably need to decrease the size of the design a smidgen so it fits the circle.



The computer will always measure the height and width of the design, not the diameter of the circle (unless you can ask your computer program to measure it). An unsuspecting human might do the same.


Here’s the enlarged versions, the first shows the design the same height so the design is larger than the reference circle and the second has the design a little smaller so it fits within the reference guide.




Once the design fits the guides perfectly, measure out from these points to place the circles around the design.



Finished design.

Finished design.

Final tips:

  • Two circles either side usually looks better than one.
  • Analyse how far from the design the circles need to be. Too close and they will suffocate the design, too far away and they won’t enhance/frame the design.
  • If you use two circles on each side of the design, find the optimal distance between each pair to give the texture you’re after.

Happy quilting,


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