If you have followed me awhile you will know that I identify myself as a scrap quilter and I achieve that often by using lots and lots fabric strips. This week I’ll talk about building a fabric strip stash for when you want to whip up a “strippy” quilt and other things you can do with these strips.
Collecting and Storing Fabric Strips
Since I generally buy more fabric than a project calls for (to account for errors in cutting, etc), after I am done cutting out a project’s pieces from large pieces of fabric I am often left with a narrow strip (narrower than 1/8 yard). What do I do with those? I cut them into usable strips for later projects! My favorite size strips to cut are 1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ strips.
I chose these sizes because these are the width of strips I cut pieces from the most often. Whether they’re used for log cabin blocks, nine-patch blocks or for binding, it’s great to have them on hand. Early on in my collector days, I used to store my strips rather haphazardly.
The problem with these “storage” systems, over time the strips became a giant jumbled mess. Frayed and tangled, some of them were even unusable. So, my solution is the Sterilite tubs you can find at any big box store. Here’s what some of my bins looks like:
It’s a great way to keep my strips separated by color and width. I cut some pieces of acid free cardboard to fit in between as dividers. Now when I am working on a project I can easily find the size and color strip that I want without rummaging through a tangled mess.
Using the Strips
Making Blocks: I was inspired to write this post on using strips this week because of two projects I am working on right now. Here is one of them:
Of course! Use the strips in classic blocks like the Log Cabin. Using strips this way does not involve too much cutting.
You can also make strip sets and make Four-patch or Nine-patch blocks:
Next, you can cut units from your strips to make flying geese and use those in a star block or the Dutchman’s Puzzle block:
I’m sure if you search through a catalog of blocks, you will find that there are many, many more types of blocks that can be made using pieces cut from these size strips.
Creating Unique Borders: I like to create unique borders for my quilts using strips. Especially if I have strips leftover from the project itself. Here’s the border from my new project I’m working on:
It’s basically a traditional piano key border with flip & sew corners of tan fabric to create the sawtooth. I started out with units like this:
Then I took a set of two of these 3-strip units and did flip and sew corners, going in opposite directions, and then joining those two units together to get the finished border unit:
Other creative borders include checkerboard style and plain piano key borders.
Or just simple strips combined with some plain borders in between:
Making these creative and unique borders are also another way to make a quilt top bigger if you want to.
Binding: Finally, I use the 1 1/2″ strips to make single-fold binding and 2 1/2″ strips to make double-fold binding. You can even combine many different colors together to create a scrappy binding!
So that’s it for now. I hope this talk of strips has inspired you to start your own collection of strips and use them creatively. Comment on this post and be entered into a drawing for my patterns Rail Fence Blooms and Twinkling Log Cabin to make use of those strips!
The drawing will be on Monday, November 16th!
June Alton says
Love the ideas for borders. Going to try this on my next quilt.
Donna Schulz says
I love, love the border you created! I will try that one. Your Twinkling Log Cabin is so beautiful!
Cindy Shelley says
The quilt is gorgeous. Love the strips and the border design. Your storage info so helpful. I think I may try cutting my leftovers in those size strips. I also like 5″ squares too.
Carmen Montmarquet says
Really love the Rail Fence Blooms and Twinkling Log Cabin patterns, never thought of using strips this way but sure love how you used them in these patterns. I think I will start cutting my leftover strips this way, thanks!
Karen Hickman says
Great ideas for using strips!! love your patterns and the way you did the borders-
will now be able to get more creative with my quilts- thanks for the ideas and tips
Love your strip ideas! I just completed the task of going through all of my scrap fabric, cutting into 1 1/2, 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 inch strips and storing into their respective tubs. It took a couple of weeks, but….all done and ready to go! Thanks for the inspiration!
I absolutely love the strip units with the flip and sew corners. Scrap quilts are my favorite and I’m looking forward to using these for a border. Thank you for sharing.
Right now my scraps are cut into 2.5 inch strips but now I think I will add 1.5 inch as well. I love all of your border ideas.
Cathy Weatherford says
Such a great post. I am working on cutting strips, and now have a goal for storing them. thank you so much. been on a scrappy quilt project too. It will be so much handier having a larger selection of strips to choose from.
Nancy Wells says
Love the ideas! I collect 2 1/2 inch strips, but will add 1 1/2, too. Love the scrappy borders. Will have to try the flip method as it gives a different look.
I also cut 1-1/2″ and 2-1/2″ strips from leftover fabric. I use a lot of the narrower ones to make log cabin blocks. Love your ideas for the piano key border with the flippy corner. Thank you for the concept.
Janet T says
My favorite of your borders is the black background quilt with the strips mixed with background fabric. It makes the strips seem to float. I have the perfect UFO to try it on. Thank you for showing us other border choices, and a great storage solution. Love those patterns, too!
Kathy in WV says
Even after quilting for more years than I care to admit I had no idea strips could be so versatile. Thank you for such an enlightening post!
Mary T Salmon says
I don’t know why I received this newsletter late because you’ve already had the drawing. In any case, I love your suggestions. Your ideas will help me organize my strips and leftover bindings. Thanks so much! I’m not new to quilting but never knew how to organize strips!
I love the border suggestions!
I’m going to have to go back in your site to find the pattern for the blooms on log cabin. Love it! I just found your site and looking for to BOM
Jane L says
Very helpful! Definitely going to start using those little selvage dots.
Linda Morrison says
Love the storage & organization ideas–would like to get started on my sewing room! Also love the scrappy log cabin ideas. Would like to make them soon!
Jan Canales says
Love these tips! I’m more of a novice/beginner quilter who has bought jelly roll strips and wants ways to use them! I love your ideas! I’m
Dorothy Van Pelt says
Love your border idea and can’t wait to try it
Ruth Wetzel says
Enjoy all the wonderful ideas you share with us.
I have a few scraps ! Ha ha! I love the thirties for all
the colors. Enjoy your tips, and your lovely quilts.