How to make a community quilt for the Day of Action

We’ll be crafting quilts with local partners to engage our MPs and share why we want warm homes for all. Find out how to make your community quilt.

31 Aug 2023

To get our MPs’ attention on the United for Warm Homes Day of Action, we’re going to do something a bit different. We’ll be using craftivism (crafting plus activism) to create an eye-catching community quilt.

The community quilt will show the diverse and heartfelt support for the campaign from people and organisations across your constituency. Each square will be decorated by local people, showing why they want warm homes that don’t cost the Earth.

We’ll finish our quilts on the Day of Action and invite our MPs and the local press to attend our events. This will be our opportunity to show them the local support for the campaign through both the quilt and the petition signatures we’ve collected. And if your group feels ready, this is also a great moment to hand in your petition. See our guide to planning your Day of Action for more info.

If sewing isn’t your thing, don’t panic. We’ve got lots of ideas below for making a quilt without even touching a needle and thread. And if you're worried about getting hold of materials for your quilt, get in touch with us and we can help. But if quilt-making really isn’t for you, or your group is short on time, you can still get involved in the Day of Action by taking a photo outside your MP’s office and collecting petition signatures.

What to put on your quilt

Every square on your quilt is an opportunity to get our key campaign messages across. Here’s what you’ll want to include:

  • Your campaign name. That could be “United for Warm Homes” or “[Your town] for Warm Homes”. Make sure it’s easy to read, including in photos, so that everyone knows who you are and what you’re campaigning for. Use our template letters in A4 or A3 to cut out your campaign name.
  • Support from your community. Invite a wide range of local partners and community members to contribute squares to show their support for the campaign.
  • What you’re calling for. The quilt should showcase the solutions we’re calling for, particularly the national street-by-street insulation programme. Invite people to add the changes they want to see to the quilt, for example, “Warm homes for all”; “Insulation is the solution”; “Cut energy bills now”; and “Cheap and clean renewable energy”. 
  • Why it matters. Most importantly we want the quilt to get across why people care about this issue. Heartfelt messages from your constituency deserve to be heard and will really get your MP’s attention. These will be personal but might say something like “everybody deserves a warm home,” or highlight how certain communities are disproportionately impacted by fuel poverty. 

These messages could be added in writing or communicated through pictures (like our template images in A4 or A3). A mix of these will create a beautiful quilt.

You might want to include local facts and figures, such as data on fuel poverty. However, try to keep it simple and focus on why people care. We’re creating tailored briefings for you to give to your MP that include all the local data, so don’t worry about getting them on the quilt too. Can't find a briefing for your constituency? Please get in touch and we'll provide you with one. You can also use the info in our general MP briefing.

How partners can get involved

Getting partners involved will be crucial to the Day of Action’s success. We need to show there’s a strong and broad movement behind our campaign, and we also want to ensure our campaigns are representative of our local community. Have a look at our guide to building partnerships for ideas on how to find local partners. 

The quilt is an ideal way to show partners’ support. They can get involved by:

  • Adding their organisation’s name and logo to the quilt. This shows the support of a big network of local people. If they can’t sign for the whole organisation or use their logo, they could just include their name and organisation, or an image to represent their community. 
  • Adding a message from their community and sharing on the quilt why this issue matters to them.  
  • Hosting a square-making session. You could run a workshop with partners to decorate squares with their members, or give partners materials to use at upcoming meetings or events where there’ll be lots of people, like a coffee morning. 
  • Inviting their networks to the Day of Action. The more partners you work with, the more people will join your event on the Day of Action. People who’ve contributed to the quilt will be keen to show it to your MP, which will help ensure a good turnout. 

Ensure everyone can get involved. Offer ways for people to contribute to the quilt even if they can’t come to the Day of Action or join a square-making session. You could invite people to make a square at home and send it in, or ask people to share their messages and then add them onto the quilt. People could even join in online by sharing their messages of support on social media. It's important to ensure everyone can take part so your quilt is truly representative of your local community.

How to fund your quilt

You’ll probably need to buy a few bits and pieces to make your quilt and run your event. You can apply to the United for Warm Homes Fund to help pay for anything you need to take part in the Day of Action. Even if you’ve already received the full United for Warm Homes grant (£500) for this financial year, you’re still eligible for the Day of Action grant, which is an additional £100. Be sure to register for the Day of Action so that you're eligible for this grant.

What happens to the quilt after the Day of Action

The quilt can continue being an eye-catching part of your campaign, showing your community’s support for warm homes that don’t cost the Earth. You might want to keep adding squares to it, use it as a banner on your stalls, display it in your local community, or take photos with it in your local area. You could also bring it along if you meet your MP after the Day of Action, especially if your MP wasn’t able to make it on the day. We may even bring all the community quilts together in the future. 

How to make your community quilt

There’s no right or wrong way to make your quilt, as long as you’re able to bring together lots of squares with community messages into one big quilt on the Day of Action. You can find lots of quilt-making ideas online, but we’ve got a few suggestions below for how to make one, whether you’re a natural sewer or a craft avoider.

Things to consider in how you make your quilt

Gathering squares from your community

As well as decorating quilt squares on the Day of Action, you can gather squares from your community in advance. This will ensure you’ve got lots of squares ready to go representing a broad range of local people. You could do this by having materials available on a stall so that people can easily decorate a square. Or you might want to run a square-making session, perhaps with a local partner. Bring along lots of fabric and materials and invite people to decorate a square over a cup of tea. These square-making stalls and events are also a great time to chat about the campaign and invite people to sign your petition.  

Bringing your quilt together

It’s a good idea to decide who in your group will be responsible for the logistics of bringing the quilt together, for example ensuring squares are collected from partners in advance and that you have all the materials you need to assemble the quilt. Ask someone to be in charge of this so everything runs smoothly.

Finishing your quilt on the Day of Action

The focus of the Day of Action will be running a community event where you’ll finish the quilt and show it to your MP. At this event, people will be able to add squares to the quilt, but you’ll also need to make sure it’s finished by the time your MP arrives. We’ve shared some ideas below on how you can ensure your quilt is finished in time. 

Getting too many squares

It's good to have a plan for if you’re super successful and end up with too many squares. Prioritise getting a range of messages and partners onto the quilt to show the breadth of support. If you can’t include all your squares on the day, think about how you can display the additional squares at the event and in the future, such as on a pinboard or in frames. You might even be able to make a second quilt after the Day of Action or add more squares around the edge to grow your quilt further.

Quilt-making methods

Now you know everything you need to consider when making a community quilt, have a look through our 4 quilt-making ideas and decide which method is best for you.

One of the simplest ways to make your community quilt is to use a large blanket and add your squares to it. 

A blanket with square fabric attached showing warm homes messages and images
Blanket patchwork quilt


What you’ll need:

  • Large blanket (ideally plain so messages can be seen on top)
  • Fabric
  • Fabric glue
  • A needle and thread (optional)
  • Pinking shears or scissors
  • To decorate: fabric pens and paint, fabric glue, embroidery thread and needles, scrap pieces of fabric, any other decorative touches eg buttons. 


  • Cut out your fabric patches (using our template for a 15x15 cm square in A4 or A3). If you cut them with pinking shears it’ll mean the fabric won’t fray and you won’t need to hem the squares. If you use regular scissors, you might need to hem each fabric square. Make sure to leave room for a hem if you need it by using our 18x18 cm template in A4 or A3 instead. 
  • Decorate your fabric patches on stalls, at community events, by distributing them to partners and at your Day of Action event. Use fabric pens, paints, embroidery and fabric glue to add your community’s messages to the patches. Make sure to add your campaign name too and make it visible. Use our template letters in A4 or A3 for this.
  • Use fabric glue or a simple straight stitch to attach your fabric patches and campaign name to your blanket.
  • You can make a start attaching these to your quilt ahead of the Day of Action, but leave space and time for any additional squares to be added on the day. You could also attach blank squares to the blanket, which can then be decorated on the Day of Action.

Use fabric patches with holes in each corner to create a tied together patchwork quilt. Follow our instructions or use this kit

Felt patches tied together to form a quilt with warm homes messages on them
Tied together quilt


What you’ll need:

  • Fabric or felt patches
  • Pinking shears or scissors
  • Eyelet pliers (if using fabric squares)
  • Ribbon or string
  • To decorate: fabric pens and paint, fabric glue, embroidery thread and needles, scrap pieces of fabric, any other decorative touches eg buttons.


  • Cut out your patches (using our template for a 15x15 cm square in A4 or A3) if you're using fabric, or get your pre-cut felt squares ready. See the instructions for the blanket patchwork quilt for tips on cutting fabric squares with pinking shears.
  • Make a hole in the corner of each square using scissors or eyelet pliers. Test out your method first to check the squares will hold together and the fabric or felt won't tear. Your local craft group might be able to help with this.
  • Decorate your patches on stalls, at community events, by distributing them to partners and at your Day of Action event. Use fabric pens, paints, embroidery and fabric glue to add your community’s messages to the patches. Make sure to add your campaign name too and make it visible. Use our template letters in A4 or A3 to draw or cut out letters, and use fabric glue or simple straight stitch to attach them to your squares.
  • Tie the corners of each square together using ribbon or string to create a big quilt. You can make a start ahead of the Day of Action, but make sure people can still create squares on the day and add them before your MP arrives.

If you don’t want to use fabric to create your quilt, you could make a version out of card. This'll be a little more fragile, but it’s the easiest way to make a quilt without fabric. 

Squares of card attached together with warm homes messages on them
Card patchwork quilt


What you’ll need:

  • Coloured card
  • Holepunch 
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or string
  • To decorate: felt tips, paint, glue, coloured paper or card, and any other materials to decorate the squares.


  • Follow the steps for the tied together quilt, but cut your squares out of coloured card and make holes in each corner with a hole punch. Decorate your squares and tie them together to create your quilt. Using lots of different colours will help to keep that patchwork feel. 
  • Make sure you’ve got a plan for how you’ll assemble your quilt on the Day of Action so that people can keep adding to it while ensuring it’s ready in time for your MP’s arrival. 

A traditional patchwork quilt is the most authentic way to create your community quilt. However, it’s a real art form and takes a lot of skill and time. If you have experienced quilters in your community who’d be happy to co-ordinate this project, that’s brilliant. But if you’ve not made a quilt before, other options like the ones above might be best. 

A patchwork quilt with various messages and images on it
Traditional patchwork quilt © Leeds Craftivists


There are lots of guides online for making a simple patchwork quilt. If you’re thinking of using this method, we’d recommend keeping the design simple and cutting out squares of the same size and similar fabric in advance, ensuring you’ve left enough seam allowance. Make sure to leave plenty of time to sew the whole quilt together in advance of the Day of Action. You can sew in lots of blank squares so that they can be decorated at your Day of Action event. 

Top tips for a successful quilt

  • Work with local craft groups. Get their help and advice on making your quilt. They might be able to lend you equipment, donate scrap fabric, or host a community quilt-making session. 
  • Find scrap fabric. Ask local craft groups and your community for scrap fabric donations, or go searching in charity shops for cheap, second-hand fabric. This’ll help ensure your quilt is as eco-friendly as possible.
  • Test out your supplies in advance. However you’re planning to make your quilt, test out a few squares in advance to check your plans will work. You don’t want the glue not to stick, or fabric pens to run all over your quilt on the Day of Action.
  • Embrace the mess. Your quilt might end up looking a little messy, but that just proves it’s been made with love by people from across your community. Don’t feel the pressure to make your quilt too neat, and embrace the community feel.