Tips for Making a Scrappy Quilt
Scrappy quilts are fun to make and will bust your stash! They do require some planning to get the look you want. Here are some tips for getting the process underway.
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First, let’s talk about the definition of a scrap quilt. Scrap quilts are quilts that seem to be sewn with a random assortment of fabric – like the quilter put their hand in a bin of fabric and pulled out pieces without looking. Historically, many scrap quilts were “make do” projects and were pieced with leftover fabric and even clothing items. They were thriftier and more utilitarian, but today, scrap quilts are still popular with people who just love fabric and want to use as many as possible in their quilts.
1. Many times scrap quilts rely on contrast, value, and even color to get a clear design across. So although you’re using a variety of fabrics, you still want to make sure the pattern’s design is being showcased. You want to select a range of light, medium, and dark fabrics to get that contrast. If you’re unsure if your fabrics have enough contrast, take a picture of them on your phone and convert the picture to black-and-white. If you don’t see a strong difference in the photo, your quilt may end up with a mushy design in the end, so add or delete fabrics and take more photos until you are happy with the result
2. Anything goes when it comes to fabric for a scrappy quilt. You can mix reproduction and contemporary prints, choose stripes or florals, add in batiks and tone-on-tones. Include some sparkle, making sure about 25% of the medium/dark prints are brighter than the others. Scatter the brighter pieces evenly throughout the quilt.
3. If you desire a calmer version of scrappy, use a single background print rather than an assortment. Or pick a specific color palette, and pull scraps of fabrics that fall into those colors. This will bring a little more order to your quilt.
4. There are some patterns that lend themselves great for your scraps. String quilts, Log Cabin quilts, and Trip Around the World quilts are all popular quilts that use scraps and look wonderful with a variety of fabrics. One-Patch quilts are also great, such as any quilts that uses one repeated shape like squares, diamonds, or hexagons.
5. If you don't have a variety of scraps, cut extras of fabrics you do have and trade with friends to get a broader selection. (Although we can assure you, once you start saving scraps, they add up quick!)
6. To get the scrappiest look you can, throw your pieces for your quilt in a bin or container, then mix them up with your hands. When you start sewing, grab pieces from the bin randomly.
7. Trust the process. Sometimes scrap quilts can look uncoordinated until the entire quilt comes together. Stick with it, and remember that scraps truly shine when they're all together in a finished project.
See free scrappy quilt patterns here.