Scrappy Sampler Quilt Layout Idea

A few months back, some folks at Riley Blake came up with a fun idea to get us through those weird months of being stuck at home – a weekly quilt block challenge. For 12 weeks we had patterns and ideas using traditional quit block designs. I’m finally sharing how I am putting my blocks together. I decided to go with a scrappy sampler quilt layout idea and and this post I’ll share how I put mine together as well as link to all of the quilt block tutorials.

Through the course of this 12-week quilt block challenge, in most cases I made a 12″ x 12″ and a 6″ x 6″ version of each block. (Some weeks I made extra 6″ blocks, or in the case of the bow tie blocks, I made four 6″ x 6″ blocks and sewed them together into a 12″ x 12″ block.)

Here are links to all of the quilt block tutorials from this series:


At the end of the post, I’ve got links to other Sampler Quilt layout ideas, in case your blocks are in need of a different look. 🙂

Scrappy Sampler Quilt Layout Instructions:

Here is how things finally came together. It’s a bit wild and crazy-quilt-inspired. This super scrappy sampler quilt layout is based on a 6″ x 6″ grid. I used:

  • 12 blocks 12″ x 12″ (12.5″ x 12.5″ unfinished) 
  • 40 blocks 6″ x 6″ (6.5″ x 6.5″ unfinished).

The 6″ blocks are comprised of assorted pieced and solid blocks. In my case I used 17 pieced blocks and 23 squares cut 6.5″ x 6.5″.

I still plan to add borders to the sides to frame (and help calm) this crazy layout.

Border Fabric Requirements:

I’m going to have a narrow 1.5″ border (1/3 yard cut into 6 strips 2″ x width of fabric) and a wider 4.5″ outside border (1 yard fabric cut into 7 strips 5″ x width of fabric.) For a finished quilt of 60″ x 78″.

Here is my favorite method + shortcut tip for adding borders to the sides of your quilt.

Scrappy Sampler Quilt Layout Assembly:

Above is a diagram that I drew up for this scrappy sampler quilt layout. Obviously all of the 12″ blocks are not identical to the ones we made as a part of this series. They are representational of any 12″ x 12″ (12.5″ x 12.5″ unfinished) quilt block that can be inserted in that place.

The smaller squares are 6″ x 6″ spots where you can at simple one-square-patchwork blocks, or pieced 6″ x 6″ (6.5″ x 6. 5″ unfinished) blocks.

To piece these scrappy blocks together, the quilt is broken down into three sections: A, B, and C. 

Before you start piecing blocks together, I highly recommend laying out all of your blocks on a flat surface or Design Wall (see notes at the bottom for where I got mine) so that you can play with color and fabric placement. The block shapes do not need to be in the exact same spots that I used. You may want to shuffle them around based or color and scale as that will have a bigger visual outcome on the overall picture, rather than which 12″ (or 6″) block is in which place. 

Section A Assembly

Here is the piecing diagram for Section A, broken down into smaller segments. Piece the 12″ blocks into sections with assorted 6″ supporting blocks. 

Then sew the top two sections together as well as the bottom two sections together. Then assemble the three section ‘rows’ to create Section A.

Section B Assembly

Here are the piceing diagrams for Section B. Start by piecing the smaller sections combining a 12″ block with assorted 6″ blocks, including a bottom row of four 6″ x 6″ blocks.

Sew these sections into four ‘rows’ and then sew the rows together to create Section B.

Section C Assembly

And here are the piecing diagrams for Section C  for the three sub-sections combining a 12″ block with a number of 6″ x 6″ blocks.

     After making these subsections, sew them together into one continuous piece to create Section C.

Sew Section A to Section B. Then sew Section C to the bottom of the combined A/B portion. You will end up with a 48″ x 66″ scrappy sampler quilt!

You could use this same layout with far fewer pieced blocks – adding only a handful of pieced quilt blocks to give some interest to a regular patchwork quilt. (Something like this version.)

I’m excited to get some borders on this and get it off to the quilter. I think the borders will also help tame with wild bunch of scrappy blocks! Right now it still feels pretty wild – but I have a feeling that once it has borders, is quilted and washed, I’m going to love this wild child. And it will definitely be a reminder of this weird, off-kilter start to the year 2020!

Other Sampler Quilt Layout Options

As mentioned above, there are SO many options for laying out sampler or orphan quilt blocks. 

Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane made nine 6″ blocks and assembled them on a traditional grid with sashing for this mini quilt.

Amanda of Material Girl Quilts used a uniform blue background for all of her blocks and mixed eight 6″ blocks and two 12″ blocks for another traditional layout. (I love how the uniform background lets the block shapes really pop! Hindsight, I wish I had shamelessly copied her. lol)

Melissa of the Polkadot Chair has a long list of inspiring Sampler Quilt layouts here.

I love how Melanie Collette added simple sashing to space out her scrappy blocks. You can read more about her Sampler Quilt Layout Here.

I love this variation made by Janelle of Dotty & Grace. Also a fun variation with the blocks planned out ahead of time.

And check out this Sampler Quilt Inspiration pinboard for even more ideas.

Enjoy the inspiration!

PS Whenever I share my sewing space, I frequently get questions. Here are more details:

Design Wall: I bought mine years ago from my local quilt shop. You can find a similar ready-to-hang Design Wall by Fons and Porter here or from Amazon (sorry I had the wrong link on a previous post). Or there are lots of tutorials to make your own: Here’s a tutorial to make a permanent design wall to hang in a studio, as well as a list of make-you-own portable versions.

Sewing machineBaby Lock Cresendo. I love using this machine so much. Available at Baby Lock Retailers.

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  • Reply
    July 26, 2020 at 8:40 am

    I really liked your layout. The plain fabric squares gave a place for my eyes to rest and move. Great job. Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      July 29, 2020 at 8:59 am

      Thank you, Janina!

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