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!