I love scraps because …. I always have a lot of them! I don’t think many quilters are actually without scraps. When I cut out a project, I usually end up with basket by the side of my cutting table looking like this:
Yeah, this mess … it’s one part wanting to get to sewing my project and 3 parts laziness. I really need to sort out the strips. I usually sort them into containers based on whether they are a color print or a tan print and if they are a full width of fabric (40″) strip or just a piece of a strip. Here’s one of the bags I use to contain my strips:
So what can you do with all these leftover strips? I like to design patterns with log cabin blocks.
And 1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ strips are great to make a very scrappy log cabin quilt. I used mine to make a Courthouse Steps Log Cabin block (above). Of course you can also use them to make traditional Log Cabin blocks as well.
Another great use for leftover strips are pieced borders. Especially if you finish a project, have lots of fabric left over and you want to make it bigger. This example below is the piano key style strip border created by using 2 1/2″ strips.
Another option is to mix pieces cut from 2 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ strips to make a unique border.
Finally another use for my strips is to make scrappy binding. What a great way to use up the fabric from a project! And you do not have to buy additional fabric for a binding.
If it does not work to cut a leftover piece of fabric into strips, I separate those pieces by color and put them into bins to use in appliqué projects. Instead of having to cut into a larger piece of fabric for a small flower, I just dig into my appliqué bin of the appropriate color!
Here’s some of those bins:
Another way I put scraps to use is to use them to make test blocks. I make these when I am trying out color ideas for a block. Instead of cutting into “fresh” fabric, I dig through my scraps for colors I want to audition and make the block. I can even make two or three different variations. Once I have chosen the color combo I want, I can purchase the fabric and make the quilt with no worries. This is also a great idea because it familiarizes you with the pattern instructions before you tackle the whole project.
When you are done with the test blocks, you can add a few scrappy borders to it and have an instant mini quilt! They make great gifts! Here’s one I made a few years ago:
So do you want to try a scrap quilt and are not sure how to get started? Try a “planned” scrap quilt. Take a quilt pattern for a quilt made with one block make each block separately using different colors (but still coordinating). Another way to get scrappier is to do it while buying fabric. If a pattern calls for 1 yard of blue, consider buying 4 fat quarters in different blues or other colors in that color family. Do the same for the other colors in the pattern. You’ve instantly made it scrappier!
The key to enjoying scrap quilting is to let go and have fun! Buy smaller cuts of fabric in many colors from your local quilt shop instead of larger cuts of just one color. Once you build up a stash, it’s fun to go “shopping” there and experiment.
***Share with me your ideas on scraps! I’d love to hear from you. I’ll pick a winner from the comments to receive my scrappiest pattern, Scrappy North Stars!*** Winner will be chosen next week. ***We have a winner! Yvette Borden. Congrats!***