Making Scrap Strips into Quilt Blocks


Over my many years of sewing, I have accumulated quite a bit of fabric scraps.  I have them organized into categories & bins waiting to be used for projects swimming around in my head.  This past weekend I decided to start one of those projects.  In this post, I will talk about using my long strip scraps to make some fun quilt blocks.  This is the beginning of the first quilt I’ve ever made for myself!  I plan on doing more posts in the future about using different kinds of fabric scraps to make quilt blocks.  This project was really fun for me because it was a kind of free sew!  I wasn’t following anyone’s pattern, not even my own & just made things up as I went.  Very fun!

Make sure to check out Monique’s pattern for the Merry Christmas Sew-Along!  She released it earlier today & I can’t wait to get started!

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Picking Scrap Strips

You may have seen these bins in my fabric stash reboot post.  The tall one on the right is for strip scraps like selvage edges, trimmed quilt backs, etc.  Mostly anything that’s long and on the narrow side!

Since fall is right around the corner, I decided to pull fabric strips with warmer tones from my strip bin.  I want this quilt to feel nice & cozy for snuggling with!

I’ve had this little stash of corduroy pieces for a while now & they are perfect to mix in with these blocks.  I think they came in some gifted fabric bags or a yardsale fabric box.

I decided this bicycle fleece would be perfect for the backing.  It feels like a thinner minky fabric versus a stiffer fleece.  This is over a yard of fabric & since it’s 60″ wide it will be the perfect size for couch quilt.

I had already started sewing some blocks before I decided to make this into a post!

No worries because I had plenty of strips left to show you how I wrangled all those strip scraps into some fun blocks!

Happy Cloud Quilt Batting by Fat Quarter Shop

Preparing the Strips

The first thing I needed to do was iron the strips.  I’ve just been stuffing things down in that bin for a long time, so everything is super wrinkly!  I also needed to trim off some frayed edges….

And go over some pieces with a lint roller….

One thing I didn’t do is straighten wavy edges.  I wanted this process to be fun & less structured than following a quilt pattern.  I’ll show you how I handled these edges later on.

This little piece had some very set in wrinkles.  I decided to keep it because wrinkles show character!  ; )

This whole process made me realize how long I’ve been holding onto some of these strips!  This strip came of the backing of a quilt I made when my son was a toddler.  He’s 18 now!

Digging through scraps was a fun way to reminisce about past projects.  I also discovered some strips that were perfect for making binding!

Now that everything is ready, let’s sew some of these strips together!

Spelling Bee Book by Lori Holt

Sewing Wonky Edges

The first strip set I sewed together worked out to be about 9 1/2″ tall, so I decided I was making 9 1/2″ blocks.  To get an idea of how many strips I needed, I laid the strips out on my large cutting mat.

Some of these strips had straight edges & some had jagged edges.  I aligned a straight edge piece of fabric with the low points of the jagged edge fabric to make sure my seam is catching everything.

Here’s a close up view….

This just means less cutting time & more sewing time!  I wanted strips to be between 3/4” & 1” because I’m using a 1/4” seam allowance.  Anything less & the fabric disappears in the seam.

Sometimes some of the pieces were longer than others & I kept sewing.  I knew I could use those ends to make another block!

When I pressed these, I let the fabric tell me which side to press it to.  There are no seams that need to align, so the direction doesn’t matter. The plaid fabric is a flannel & heavier than the cotton fabrics, so I pressed the seams in opposite directions to help with bulk in the seams.  I did press the other seams “to the dark side”, but that’s the way they wanted to go!  ; )

Sometimes I needed to fold fabric over a bit to get things to lay flatter.  This was okay with me because I’ll stitch over that during quilting & it won’t be noticed.

I cut one end even with the rotary cutter & then cut strips at 9 ½”.  Pay attention to the height of the blocks so you know when your strip set won’t be tall enough anymore.

I rotated my 9 ½” strips so I could make a 9 ½” square.  I usually slide this around a bit to make sure I don’t end up with a sliver of fabric at one end.

This strip set gave me two 9 ½” blocks!

What about the rest of it?  I cut off the taller end even with the edge of the top piece & saved both sides for more blocks.

In the next section, I’ll show you how to mix things up even more!

Mixing & Matching

This strip set includes the right side of the strip set above, an end from my first strip set {dark blue & yellow}, & a strip of red to make it tall enough.

I decided I wanted to use a strip that came from altering a pair of pants I made.  This was sewn on top of the pieces, close to the edge on each side.

Here’s the finished block….

And here’s a close up view of the added piece.  I like the extra texture the frayed edges give it.

In this strip set, I sewed a selvage edge on top of one of the strips before joining them together.

I kept all the end cuts….

And smaller pieces…..

Then I arranged them into more blocks!

If it was big enough to sew, I used it!

I even started adding in pieces of the corduroy to fill in some gaps…

This made some fun, scrappy blocks that look like I used itty bitty pieces to make them.

This is what I have so far mixed in with some corduroy blocks.  My dog wasn’t happy about getting off the bed so I could take this picture!

I tried to brighten this picture the best I could.  My bedroom is very dark because my husband used to work a swing shift & had to sleep during the day.  Of course that was 5 or 6 years ago, so maybe I need to brighten it up a bit!

Look for the finished quilt on Instagram & in my September monthly roundup.  See y’all Wednesday for some DIY fun!

I’ll be linking this up to:

Tips & Tutorials Tuesday @ Quilting Jetgirl

Scraptastic Tuesday @ she can quilt

Quilting is more fun than Housework

DrEAMi Linky #7 @ mmm! quilts


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  1. Skye says:

    Love it!!! Another great way to reuse and waste less ? I always keep my scraps, slightly organised lolz. So many uses ? and your doggie is funny ?

    • Kristie Cook says:

      Thanks Skye! My dog likes to nap on my bed during the day because it’s dark in there. Sometimes she burrows under my sheets & everything!

  2. Joyce says:

    I save my scraps and selvage also and put them into bins. I also save any leftover binding when I finish a quilt. I’ve made some really cute quilts which I donate to our animal shelter. I love your blocks and will have to incorporate my scraps into actual blocks instead of just sewing them together. Who knows what I’ll come up with?

    • Kristie Cook says:

      I save everything too Joyce! Even super small stuff that most would throw away. I can’ wait to see what kind of blocks you come up with! 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Love the shot with your doggie peeking in! So sorry I didn’t see you’d linked up with my DrEAMi! party. I usually have it set to email me when there’s a link added, no clue what happened. This will be a very snuggly quilt. It feels good to tame our scraps doesn’t it…ha…somehow they never seem to be tamed, they just continue to multiply!

    • Kristie Cook says:

      No worries! I’ve had my share of technology ups & downs. 🙂 It is fun to use every last bit, but my scrap pile seems to grow faster than I can sew!

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