What is Scrap Quilting
If you’re new to quilting or even if you’ve been quilting for a while, you might ask yourself at some point, “What is Scrap Quilting?”
The answer is, scrap quilting has been around from the beginning of time. Quilter’s and sewers of the past used whatever fabric they could get their hands on in order to make a nice warm quilt or blanket. Quilts weren’t used like they are today. They weren’t mostly hung on a wall or displayed and never physically used.
No. They were actually items that were made from used clothing, flour sacks and other fabric they could get their hands on. I remember as a young child my mother making quilts for her parents and siblings. I was always enamored at her ability to put something so beautiful together in such a short time and they were always exceptionally warm.
Her idea of quilting was cutting simple squares or purchasing a sheet that had print on it, an old blanket for the batting and then another sheet for backing. She always yarn tie her quilts and I loved helping her make them. You see, the quilting process is different for everyone.
I’m sure I’ll catch some flack for saying that, however, it’s the truth. Quilting can be working with simple squares or intricate cut designs. It can be working with new coordinating fabric or it can be old clothing that you’ve cut and saved for many years. Quilting is what you yourself, the artist do with the fabric.
Scrap quilting is the ability to take all of the scraps that you have been collecting, cutting and saving, either from clothing or from projects in the past. You can have large pieces, small pieces or even the tiniest of pieces to work with. Some people actually prefer to work tiny little pieces of fabric and I must say, those quilts turn out amazing! I wish I had the patience to do what they call, “crumb quilting.”
I have made scrap quilts in the past. I have to admit my favorite scrap quilt that I have ever made was the one that had absolutely no planning involved. I just sat sewed, cut and kept adding while I was at the machine. The quilt turned out so beautiful and it was actually my late Labrador Retriever, Sophie’s, favorite quilt. It was also really fun to make. I would also like to add that this quilt top is 100% made from scraps. Even the borders are scrap fabric that I had left over from other projects. I did purchase the backing because when I saw the suns with smiley faces fabric in the fabric store, I knew it would be perfect for this quilt.
Which brings me to my next point. Scraps don’t just have to be used on the front of your quilt. You can also get creative and add some to the back of your quilt. I have started doing this on most of my quilts just within the last 2 years. Some designs are really gorgeous and others, well…not so much! But it is the back and it’s hardly ever seen and I use my quilts for cold nights, laying around watching TV.
Here are a few examples of quilts that I have added scraps to the backing.
So in a nutshell, scrap quilting can be many things. It is what you are willing to do with your left over fabric or clothing items. I recommend using 100% cotton as it is easiest to sew with and if you are going to add knits, use a stabilizer. It will save you a lot of grief. Trust me, I know this from experience and I can’t stress it enough. Also, you want to keep in mind when piecing your designs, you want to use a smaller stitch length on your sewing machine. I personally use 2 mm but you could use 2.5 or less. Just be mindful that if you need to seam rip, you don’t want the stitches so tight that it makes it tough to remove them. The reason we use a tighter stitch length for piecing is so our blocks don’t fall apart when start cutting to make different designs with them. In case you are wondering what stitch length I like for quilting, I use 3 mm. You will need to play with your machines settings and get a feel for works best for you. There is no right or wrong way, there is only the way that will work for you. Be confident in your work. Even if you’re a beginner, you’ve got this and there are plenty of tutorials out there to guide you along the way. Ask questions and most of all, have fun!
I have started a new scrap quilting series on my YouTube Channel called The Crafty Author. I’d love to have you join me! My new series is called Scraptastic Scrap Quilt Series.
It’s free and I walk through how to make the entire quilt top. If you are wondering what a quilt top is, that is the front part of the quilt. It does not include the batting (center) or the backing or binding. It’s just the front with the design.
You can find that tutorial here: 👇🏻
I’ll see you there! Happy Quilting! 🧵