Ugly Quilts Photo Gallery

Quilts stacked and wooden chest with stacks of fat quarters on white wall background
MaxCab / Getty Images

One of the best ways to learn how to work with color and color value (and select fabrics) is to view quilts that other quilters regard as mistakes. It's mistakes that help us grow -- and help give new quilters some insight into what not to do.

The quiltmakers who submitted these quilts labeled them ugly. I think maybe surprise quilts might be a better word. And some of the quilts in this gallery are first quilts -- very good first quilts.

  • 01 of 25

    Thomas the Tank Engine Quilt... oops

    Thomas the Tank Engine Quilt... oops
    Thomas the Tank Engine.... Oops Quilt Quilt by Gina

    Ugly Quilts Photo Gallery

    From Gina: This was my first attempt at creating something from scratch, before I learned how to really quilt. I had no help or guide, only a 2 year old boy excited about Thomas the Tank engine, and a bunch of cheep ugly fabrics. If you can tell, the eyes are stuffed and puff out. Too weird.

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  • 02 of 25

    Afra's Ugliest Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    My Ugliest Quilt Quilt by Afra

    Ugly Quilts Photo Gallery

    From Afra: I made this quilt from all the left overs from the first couple of quilts that I made. I had only been quilting for about a year and I didn't have much of an idea about colour or pattern. If I could do it over I would take more time to consider pattern and colour distribution.

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  • 03 of 25

    Diane's Ugly Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    Diane's Ugly Quilt Quilt by Diane

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Diane: What was I thinking? This was only my second quilt, and I think I made a mistake in my fabric choices. However, my family likes the quilt and I'll probably keep it on the wall (in an upstairs bedroom).

    From Janet: Diane, I'll bet that I hear from lots of people who love this quilt, who think it should not be in the Ugly Quilts gallery.

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  • 04 of 25

    My Ugliest Quilt Ever

    Ugly Quilts
    My Ugliest Quilt Ever Quilt by Debby

    From Debby: I loved this black and white Zebra print with the bright colors, but when I put it together, it was just too much. I think I would like the fabric in smaller doses. Judy (Sisneros) would be frightened at the results of this quilt, called Pizazz on Point.

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  • 05 of 25

    Really Ugly Crazy Quilt

    crazy quilt
    Really, Really Ugly Crazy Quilt Quilt by freemanor

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From freemanor: I was making charity quilts, crazy quilt style, and was centering anything I thought would interest children. This is one center I should have never used.

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  • 06 of 25

    Dott's Scrap Closet Quilt - 1987

    Ugly Quilts
    Dott's Scrap Closet - 1987 Quilt by Michele Murphy

    Ugly Quilts Photo Gallery

    From Michele: This was one of my first quilts. It was 1987 and I was living in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I walked into my first quilt shop fell in love. I bought scraps by the pound and made the quilt in a class. It looked great to me at the time, but I think it's really ugly now because the colors do not go together.

    I would use only three or four colors, like red, white and black. Yellow, blue and white. All colors that look good together. I learned to put fabrics together to get the warm fuzzy feeling later in my quilting journey. I am more careful with my stitching now, using a smaller stitch so the quilt doesn't come apart. I was nervous in the beginning, because it was the first time I used a quarter inch seam and I was worried the seams wouldn't match up.

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  • 07 of 25

    Autumn Fell on its Face Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    Autumn Fell on its Face Quilt by Cathartes

    Ugly Quilts Photo Gallery

    From Cathartes: This wasn't my first quilt but it was my first ambitious attempt at a busy pattern. The fabric choices looked so good laid out next to each other. Then I cut and pieced it all into a horrid mess. It took me 2 years to get through it since it was so ugly. But I wasn't about to waste all those bits of fabric.

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  • 08 of 25

    Ug Leeey Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    Ug Leeey Quilt Quilt by dorisy123

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From dorisy123: When I first started to quilt I worked with scraps a lot. I got them from a group that loves to quilt -- they were more than thankful to get rid of them. Some said that this quilt was very nice but I think they were just being supportive. It was enough to get me hooked in this craft. Now I use the scraps in a better more organized manner and I feel they really look much nicer (to my eyes anyway).

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  • 09 of 25

    Really Ugly Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Quilt: Really Ugly One Quilt by Cindy Haas

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Cindy: I wanted to make a quilt for my daughter. So I decided to use up some scraps that I had. After putting it together, I didn't like it at all and I call it my "Really Ugly One." I was short one quilt block and made one nine patch out of black and white. The colors (to me) don't go together at all. Some of the blocks don't match up right. This one was my learning quilt, and I would choose different colors if I were to do this pattern over. It will make a nice floor quilt to watch TV. My daughter said she likes it just because I made for her.

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  • 10 of 25

    Ugly (but Warm) Quilt

    Flannel Quilt
    Ugly (but Warm) Quilt Quilt by Gail

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Gail: I thought it would be a good idea to make a quilt out of all my leftover flannels -- wrong! I use this quilt on the bed because it's really warm, with flannel on one side and fleece on the other, but I do cover it with a nice quilt so that no-one sees it.

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  • 11 of 25

    Kokopelli Stack and Slash Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    Kokopelli Stack and Slash Quilt Quilt by Liz Dyer

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Liz: My sister-in-law gave my this fabric to make a quilt for her. Nice prints, but way too busy. I added some marbles to tone it down some. But I really hate the results, even though she likes it. Would definitely use a different pattern next time and probably separate the prints with a solid black.

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  • 12 of 25

    Warm & Ugly Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Warm & Ugly Quilt Quilt by Myna

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Myna: The color is terrible. The pattern is beautiful. DH loves it. It's tied, not quilted, and it's very warm. The design could have been so beautiful with better color coordination.

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  • 13 of 25

    Patriotic Puzzle Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Patriotic Puzzle Quilt Quilt by KyleAnn's Kreations

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From KyleAnn: I have not finished this quilt, and probably won't.

    I love mystery quilts, but I have LOTS to learn about how colors and prints go (or don't go) together (our instructions: 1 light, 1 medium, 1 dark). There is too much commonality in my prints and the quilt is too busy, too busy. I love the individual prints.

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  • 14 of 25

    Janet's "What Was I Thinking?" Ugly Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    It's fairly ugly, isn't it? But I think the design has promise. More contrast between elements, better color choices -- both will make an immediate improvement. Can you help? Really Ugly Quilt by Janet Wickell

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    Here's one of my ugly quilts -- I have no idea what possessed me to actually finish it, because I knew it was pretty awful as soon as it was pieced together.

    The design is okay though -- it's my fabric choices that are, well, terrible. The pattern is online if you'd like to give it a go.

    Please Rescue this Ugly Little Quilt

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  • 15 of 25

    Bahama Mama Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Bahama Mama Ruth Clark

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Ruth: I signed up for this class and we were all left to our own devices for fabric and color. As you can see, I'm not good at picking color and fabric. Since I made this I stick with quilt kits. I have called this the ugliest quilt ever made, and my instructor pretty much agreed with me. However, my husband likes it, so it does get used.

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  • 16 of 25

    Glittering Gems from APQ Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Glittering Gems from APQ Quilt by Jennifer Cobb

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Jennifer: This was my first quilt made from directions. I made the quilt for my sister for letting me stay at her house for a year in 1999. I used a bunch of scrap material that sort of matched in color, but not in print selection. I would definitely choose different prints next time and use more solids. You really can't see a pattern to the quilt. My sister really likes it and treasures it, but I think it's the ugliest quilt I ever made.

    Update Here's a portion of what Jennifer's sister said when she saw the quilt online:

    "Yeah, yeah, that poor quilt! It is NOT ugly! I will never part with it because it was made with love and determination. I think this quilt should be in the 'Quilts only a sister could love' web site."

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  • 17 of 25

    Neil's Ugly Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Neil's Ugly Quilt Quilt by Kat

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Kat: I made this for a friend who has a passion for the brightest, ugliest shirts he can find (yes, he actually wears them....funny). I took several months to search out scraps of the most eye-watering cotton fabrics I could get from fellow quilters and from donated fabrics from others for our quilting group. I meant to make a quilt so ugly you couldn't look at it without sunglasses, but it tuned out like this -- actually rather cheerful. But I submit it anyway as Neil's Ugly Quilt.

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  • 18 of 25

    Orange Sherbet Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Orange Sherbert Quilt Quilt by Deborah Raptis

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Deborah: These were blocks of the month I made back in 2004. I decided to put them together with a batik fabric in 2008. I just think the colors are awful! Someone might like it, but not me! I wish I'd used different colors to enhance the blocks.

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  • 19 of 25

    Rod's Scrap Quilt

    Ugly Quilt
    Rod's Scrap Quilt Quilt by Rod Crider

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Rod: After I would get done sewing, I would sew leftover scraps together -- they became the ugliest quilt. I gave the quilt to my adult nephew and told him I would make him a nice one, too, which I did.

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  • 20 of 25

    Inge's Snowball Quilt

    Inge's Snowball Quilt
    Inge's Snowball Quilt Quilt by Inge

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Inge: Here is my top of a Snowball quilt for your Ugly Quilt Gallery. My snowballs are too busy. I don't know how to finish this quilt top, but I intend to do so. Maybe find a right border? Use floss to tie in the same color?

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  • 21 of 25

    Justin's Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    Justin's Quilt Quilt by Shirley Meyer

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Shirley: I like making kids' quilts. One of my daycare kids picked out the prints he wanted in his quilt. I was limited with time, so this was made in a few days. As you can see, it is a mess. If I were to do it over I would chose different fabrics and make blocks... and take my time putting it together... and lay it out before sewing it up... but then I am still learning.

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  • 22 of 25

    Bu** Ugly Quilt

    Bu** Ugly Quilt Lucky Me's Quilt Find

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Lucky: I found this (top only) at a garage sale. My friends all call it Bu** Ugly. However, I had it finished and appraised. Surprise, it is worth few hundred dollars!

    Note from Janet: The asterisks are mine -- to stay in touch with my guidelines... smile...

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  • 23 of 25

    For the Pets Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    For the Pets Quilt Quilt by Debbie

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Debbie: I am self taught, so this is the first quilt I did. The pattern is from a book I got at the library. Blues and yellows should have been pretty, but the points were cut off and I had to fudge on putting the blocks together. This goes in my car for my pets. They don't mind the ugly thing.

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  • 24 of 25

    Purple Disaster Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    Purple Disaster Quilt Quilt by Kathleen

    Pictures of Ugly Quilts

    From Kathleen: This was one of my first quilts. It is "supposedly" the Bento Box pattern, but I just don't know what I was thinking. Apparently I believed that all purple fabric would be lovely -- and I was wrong. I gave it to my non-quilty sister and she put it on her son's bed. No accounting for taste I guess.

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  • 25 of 25

    Mardi Gras Disasster Quilt

    Ugly Quilts Gallery
    Mardi Gras Disasster Quilt Quilt by Pamela Kock

    Ugly Quilts Photo Gallery

    From Pamela: This was not my first quilt. I did actually make a few nice ones before this debacle. I remember picking out this pretty pansy fabric at the quilt shop, thinking how nice it would look with the right pattern and fabric combo! Unfortunately, this "rail fence" disaster is not it.

    What's amazing to me is that I kept sewing the thing together, thinking that once I got it all pieced, it would look better. It has been tucked away in the back of my closet for two years.

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