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What to Do With Those Itty Bitty Scraps of Quilting Fabric

Summary

As quilters we all end up having some tiny scraps of fabric that we just throw away. Quilting Contessa has some ideas to rescue those fabrics from the trash bin!

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What to Do With Those Itty Bitty Scraps of Quilting Fabric

As quilters we all end up having some tiny scraps of fabric that are just too good to throw away, but what shall we do with them to not be wasteful? Quilting Contessa has some ideas to rescue those fabrics from the trash bin!

What to Do With Those Itty Bitty Scraps of Quilting Fabric

 

Crumb Quilts

Have you heard of making crumb quilts? This technique has you sew all of those small bits and pieces of fabric together however they fit so that you can use a ¼" seam allowance. Think of this as a fabric jigsaw puzzle. Take two scraps of fabric, line up a straight edge on each and sew as long a seam as possible. Add another bit of fabric to those two and stitch. Repeat in this fashion until you have made a piece of fabric about the size of a quilt block and then trim the piece of fabric to square it up. Continue to make more blocks in this manner and then join them together, or add a sashing strip between the blocks to give the eye a bit of rest. This is a great way to create a "memory" quilt of all of the quilts you have made since you will be able to add bits and pieces of each quilt’s leftover scraps into your crumb quilt.

Crumb Quilt

 

Snippets

Snippet quilts are made by pressing a fusible material onto the wrong side of your fabric scraps, removing the backing paper, and cutting your scraps into even tinier pieces to form a fabric confetti. Then these pieces are sprinkled onto a background to form a fabric picture or scene, or even something abstract. The pieces are then fused in place, the quilt top is layered over backing and batting and the quilt is machine stitched to help hold the tiny fused pieces in place.

Snippets

 

Postage Stamp Quilts

Unlike crumb and snippet quilts, postage stamp quilts use "regular" shapes approximately the size of a postage stamp. These quilts are great to display on a doll bed or other small-scale displays. These are really cute, but do not use up a lot of scraps quickly like the first two ideas.

Postage Stamp Quilt

 

Paper Piecing

Paper piecing can be an excellent way to use up scraps and make small projects like pins to wear, key chain decorations, Christmas ornaments, coasters, pot holders, etc.

Paper Piece Pattern

 

Crazy Quilts

Crazy quilts are similar to crumb quilts because they allow you to use oddly shaped pieces of fabric. The main differences are that you use a fabric foundation to stitch your bits of fabric to (similar to applique, but the foundation fabric is completely covered) and crazy quilts are generally made using a variety of fabrics like wool, velvet, silk, satins, and other textural fabrics. The patches of fabric are then embroidered around or on to further decorate the quilt top. Traditionally, these quilts are not "quilted" either by hand or machine, but earn the title of quilt since they are 3 layers (patches, foundation fabric, and backing). These quilts can be quite heavy since they are typically made from very small pieces of fabrics and ones that are thicker than your average cotton fabric would be.

Crazy Quilt

 

Decorations

Have you ever looked at the pile of tiny scraps that are left when you finish cutting out a quilt and say how pretty they look together? Why not place them in a glass jar on your cutting table or shelf and allow them to be decorative and inspiring?

 

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Glossary

Applique
Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué


See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
Backing
The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).

Same As: Lining
Batting
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
Fusible
Various webs or interfacings which can be ironed onto a fabric for easier applique or to support the fabric.
Paper Piecing
A method of hand piecing using paper templates of shapes to assist you with cutting, piecing and sewing accurately. The paper is used as a guide for sewing and then later removed.

See Also: English Paper Piecing, Assembly Piecing, Machine Piecing, Chain Piecing, Hand Piecing, Piecing
Pressing
Picking a hot iron up off your fabric or quilt top and then putting it down in another place to remove the wrinkles. When you press your fabric, you do not slide the hot iron.

See Also: Ironing
Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Sashing
Fabric that separates the patterns or blocks, framing them and making the quilt larger.

See Also: Strip
Seam Allowance
The width of fabric left to the right of a sewn seam. In quilting this is traditionally 1/4 inch. For sewing garments it is usually 5/8 inch.
Strip
A construction technique in which long, narrow pieces of cloth are joined lengthwise, sometimes with long rows of quilt blocks, to form a quilt top. The term "strip" can be used to describe the long pieces of fabric between blocks (see Sashing) or to describe the small, narrow remnants used in string patchwork.

See Also: Sashing
Author
Quilting Contessa
Quilting Contessa is a collection of various authors around the world that have submitted articles for the QuiltingHub 'How To' quilt wiki.  These are authors that do not write enough to have their own authorship, yet provide valuable content for the site.  If you wish to submit an article, contact us on QuiltingHub.
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