Scrap Busting: String Quilts and Crazy Quilts

Quilters love fabric and want to make the most of every piece! Do you have a pile of scraps and leftovers? Julie took inspiration from a scrappy quilt made by her great-grandmother for a scrap-busting challenge. The Friends of Two Chicks Quilting Facebook Group had the first peek at the video tutorial. Included in the video are tips for making a string quilt, crazy quilt, and using those decorative selvedges.

Making a String Quilt 

Vintage quilts were often made from scrap fabrics including clothes and flour sacks. You can use pieces of assorted sizes, and they don’t have to be straight or uniform! This is not a hard technique. In fact, you may find the real challenge to be in overthinking it and trying to make it matchy-matchy. Scrappy is best when it is just that, scrappy and a mixture! 

You need a foundation to add your fabric pieces to, this foundation can be fabric, paper, or Scrap Tape. 

If you choose to use fabric it can be muslin, which is quite inexpensive, but keep in mind that it stays in your quilt and will add weight. Sometimes this is a desired feature, in memory quilts and quilts made out of clothing, but there are other options.

Paper foundation can be used but it does require extra steps to remove it at the end. 

We like to use Scrap Tape as it gives a foundation like muslin, but simply wash it out by tossing it in your washing machine when you are done! Scrap tape is available in several widths: 13”, 5” and 2.5”. Click here to see our previous demonstration of Scrap Tape! 

Here are the steps: 

  • Starting with strips that are similar but not uniformly the same, place your center strip right-side UP on the center of your foundation, pin or glue to hold in place. You want to make sure this strip is long enough to cover the foundation.
  • Place your next piece right-side DOWN on top of the center strip, line up edges, remove pins from step 1 and pin through all layers. Make sure to keep pins out of the stitch path or remove them as you are stitching, do not stitch over your pins.  Stitch ¼” from edge.
  • With the first piece on, remove your pins and press back your added strip. 
  • Take care to not hit the scrap tape with your iron as  it can cause shrinking!
  • Julie likes to go back and forth side to side, it’s stabilizing.
  • As you add pieces, you don’t have to pin, but you can if that makes the process better for you. 
  • You might have to give the scrap fabric a quick press if it doesn’t want to lay flat.
  • When the foundation is covered, flip it upside down and trim off the edges. – some pieces you cut off can go right back into the scrap bucket! 
  • These new scraps are still usable! Sometimes you just need one tiny little corner!  

Don’t get caught up in choosing – just pull out a scrap!  Remember this is to use up your scraps don’t worry about being matchy matchy!

How to use selvedge scraps

It’s the same concept as the string quilt we discussed above! Take a moment to notice your selvedges as they are printed with fun designs and sayings on them. Selvedges are tiny, so this method works well to make mug rugs, potholders, and smaller bag projects. 

Crazy Quilts

When you make a crazy quilt, do your best not to overthink it. Each block you make, the first piece starts right-side up in the center or the off set to a side, or in a corner. You work around that starting piece in a circle, overlapping along the way. Take care to be sure you are not leaving a gap when you add in a new piece; you don’t want a hole in your quilt! The goal is to cover the foundation and the fabric is covered in the seams. This means you will sometimes have to go at an angle. Again, don’t overthink it or stress about it – this adds to the character and look of a crazy quilt! 

Scrap projects like this are great to give yourself an easy, quick project inbetween bigger projects. Make a few blocks when you feel like it or have a pile of scraps! It doesn’t have to be done in one day. Paper foundation needs to be removed before quilting.  However,the scrap tape will stay in your quilt until after it is quilted and bound and simply washes out! 

We hope this tutorial inspires you to use your scraps! We’d love to see your projects and invite you to share them with us either in our Facebook Group and tagging us in your Facebook or Instagram pictures! 

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