TouchDraw for Quilters

Today I am talking about a program that I am currently using to make quilt patterns. This program is called TouchDraw.

In the past I have only ever used Electronic Quilt and that was many years ago. That program worked fine when I used a windows machine, but when I moved over to a Mac things got a little too interesting for my taste and quite frankly I didn’t really like using it, I found I didn’t use most of the options and it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I have been without a quilt design software for quite a few years and thought that I could do quite well without one until I tried drawing out some ideas that I had in my head. I started out drawing on graph paper but eventually all that rubbing out was just driving me nuts.

At this point I started to look at software to use for this purpose, the obvious was EQ but I didn’t really like it and it was expensive and didn’t want to have to install a windows platform on my Mac to run just one program. So after a bit of searching I came across TouchDraw and I liked the look of it.

I managed to find a few tutorials related to how to use TouchDraw as a quilt designing program. The links are HERE, HERE and HERE. I really recommend that you take a look at these tutorials if you are interested in using TouchDraw for quilt designing to see how to get started.

I have the desktop version rather than the iPad version which the above tutorials are based on however, the instructions work for both just the placement of the options is a little different. I will give a quick overview on using TouchDraw on a Mac.


This is the opening screen. It is fairly simple, the canvas in the middle is where you do your design and the left hand side has the drawing toolbar and the right hand side is the sidebar which is used to make attribute changes for objects (shapes, lines, paths, and text), to manage drawing layers, and for inserting stencils into a drawing.

By clicking on the icon that looks like a canvas on an easel the units and rulers options come up and by hitting the blue arrow drop down menu you can select inches.



I usually have my major gridlines at 1” and my subdivisions at 8, which shows 1/8” increments on your grid.

The grid also has positive and negative grid space which is great because if you decide that you want to add extra borders or make your quilt larger you can do it without having to either delete or group and move the whole design.

I usually start all my quilts at the 0,0 axis and add an outline of how big I want my block or quilt to be for that project.

At this point I would look at Lily’s Quilts tutorial on Getting Started . This will give you to building blocks you need to start your first project. I think she did a great job with this tutorial. It is for the iPad version however it works for the Mac version too, some of the options are in slightly different places but they are easy to find.

I have a few tips for getting started:

  1. If you want a perfect square hold the shift key down while dragging out your shape
  2. Double clicking on an icon in the drawing toolbar makes it sticky which means you can use that option as many times as you want without automatically going back to the selection icon, to release the sticky option just click on a different icon
  3. Holding the shift key down while selecting multiple shapes allows you to make changes to all selected or to group them together
  4. Command D duplicates whatever shape is selected
  5. Command G groups your selection together
  6. Use layers to make and save changes to your design without having to do multiple copies. I will make a tutorial about how to do this at a later date

Here is an example of a quilt I designed on TouchDraw.


The first thing is that TouchDraw is defaulted to metric measurements so this is the first thing I change as soon as I open up a new working file.

Then I created the outline of the block, filled in the rectangles and squares to make up the block, coloured in the units and grouped it to make it one block.


Then I duplicated the block 12 times and placed them within my quilt outline all in the same orientation.  I then used the handles to rotate the blocks the way I wanted.


To give the quilt a finished look I added the ‘binding’ to the quilt by using the line drawing tool. I did this by selecting the straight line and increasing the size of the line to 30pts and then drew it around the outside of my quilt.


This is such an interesting program and I am only just getting started with it. I will share what I learn with you as I go.

Let’s make scraps beautiful,





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