How to Judge Quilts



How original is the design/technique? Is it a commercial pattern, kit or style of a well-known designer? Was it made in a workshop? Does the content have integrity?

Choice of Materials

Does the choice of materials match the category requirements?


Does it have wavy edges? Are markings removed – quilt markings, animal hairs, bloodstains etc.?


Does it meet category requirements? Does it add to the overall design of quilt?


Is the quilt the right size? Is it entered in correct category?

Visual Impact

Do the colours strike you? Does the design make a statement? Does it draw you in for a closer look? Are you in awe of the workmanship?

Border Finishing

Does it meet category specifications? Does the finish suit the quilt; has the choice enhanced the quilt? How well has the binding been applied? If a square-binding method is used, how neat are the corners? If the binding is mitered, how well has this been done? If wadding is used, did it fill the binding? How neatly has the binding been sewn on the back?


Are all pieces stitched well? Are curves smooth, points sharp? Is thread colour appropriate? Are there enough stitches to hold pieces down well? Where appropriate, are the stitches as invisible as possible? If decorative stitches are used, are they appropriate in scale and style?


Do seam allowances shadow; should they have been pressed differently?

Have intersections in the piecing been handled well, so as to lie as flat as possible, or are they puckered, pleated?


Is it balanced, harmonious, and unified? Is it disjointed, a collection of unconnected parts? Is it a safe setting/design or innovative/adventurous? Are the parts of the whole in proportion to each other?


Does it add texture, in the form of light and shadow? Does it add something more to the quilt top? Is it consistent? 


Do seams match? Do pieces lie flat? Are curve seams smooth? Are sashing/borders equal width and parallel along their length? Do blocks line up where they should? Are inset corners accurate? Is stitching tension good? Is thread colour appropriate?

Quilt Construction

Are the stitches even? Do hand stitches show through to the back, even with top? Do machine stitches have good tension top and bottom? Are straight lines straight? Are curve lines smooth? Are starts and finish points neat and anchored? Are threads trimmed?

The above judging criteria and comments have been provided for the purpose of education and do not represent the views, opinions or position of judges, officials or the RA&HS. Any resemblance to actual persons, competitors, or exhibits living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

More Judging Information