This is a simple project for using fabric scraps. I’ve shared it previously as part of scrap-busting series but never on my blog so I figured while I was away at Quilt Market this weekend, it would be a good time.
This project is for a 15” x 15” mini quilt, but of course you can make use this concept to make any size quilt or quilt blocks. This is a great project for using all kinds of random scrap sizes. This method is called “Foundation-paper-piecing” and it’s fun because it allows for lots of improvisation and does not require perfect accuracy (best part!).
What you will need
Assorted string-y scraps of your favorite fabric no wider than 1 1/2” and between 3” and 13 1/2” in length.
17” x 17” piece of batting
18” x 18” piece of fabric for backing
1/6 yard piece of fabric for binding (or more assorted 2 1/2” wide scraps)
4 pieces of paper 8 1/2” x 8 1/2”
Rotary cutter and ruler
I suggest pressing your fabrics (scraps included) before starting.
Fold one of the 8 1/2” square pieces of paper diagonally down the middle. Lay one 13.5” long scrap down the center of the fold, using a small amount of glue at both corners to hold the first scrap in place.
Audition various scraps by placing them on either side of the middle scrap, in diagonal rows, overlapping generously to compensate for seam allowance. Make sure you completely cover the paper. Carefully remove the scraps, keeping them in the right order so that it’s easy to grab the next one and sew.
Turn stitch length on your machine to about 1 1/2. (The shorter stitches will perforate the paper more often, making it easier to tear the paper away later.) Put a new fabric scrap right sides together on top of the glued center scrap with right edges matched up. Sew through both fabric scraps and paper using a 1/4” seam allowance. Working from the front of the fabric, press both strips open and flat.
Start at the center and work outwards toward the corners, sewing your strips in the order that you auditioned them.Repeat the process with additional scrap strips, completely covering the paper.
Turn the square over and with the size of the paper as the guide, use a ruler and rotary cutter to trim all four sides.
Turn paper over to the fabric side and using a ruler and rotary cutter, cut into four equal 4 1/4” x 4 1/4” squares. Carefully remove the paper backing by folding on the stitched lines to crease and then tear them off completely.
Repeat the process with the three 8 1/2” x 8 1/2” paper squares and remaining scraps to create a total of 16 mostly different 4 1/4” x 4 1/4” scrappy diagonal blocks.Layout the pieced blocks 4 across by 4 down. There are a variety of designs you can create by rotating the blocks. Here is a sample.
Sew blocks together using a 1/4” seam allowance into four rows of four blocks each. Press seam allowances to the left on rows 1 and 3 and to the right on rows 2 and 4. Sew rows together in order, nesting opposing seam allowances.
Layer quilt top with batting and backing pieces underneath and quilt as desired (machine quilting tutorial here.) Using remaining fabric or scraps to create a 2 1/2” x 64” strip for binding the quilt.
You could easily make multiple blocks to make a bigger quilt, re-scale the sizes, use this panel for the side of a bag, etc. Since scraps can so easily get out of control, here are more tips for organizing and using your scraps.