Happy New Year, friends! If you’re anything like me, your scrap bins are positively overflowing from last year’s projects. One of my quilty resolutions for this year is to use more scraps than I make. So with that in mind, let’s make a scrappy quilt!
If you’re new to scrappy quilting and just don’t know where to begin, this is the post for you! I will explain how to make four different Suzy Quilts patterns using scraps from old projects. After you scrap bust your way through these four quilts, you should have the confidence and skills to make just about any pattern scrappy!
The quilt patterns we will use are Shine, Mod Mountains, Perennial, and Modern Fans. These four quilt patterns are all excellent for scrap busting and feature a variety of construction techniques. If you can feature scraps in these projects you can use scrap fabric in any quilt.
If you aren’t quite ready to make an entire scrappy quilt, I will also share some smaller project ideas that you can make with just a block or two from these patterns. So pull out your scrap bin and let’s bust those scraps!
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What Is A Scrappy Quilt?
Before we start stitching our way to the bottom of our scrap bins, let’s chat about the logistics of scrappy quilts. What even makes a quilt scrappy? In my opinion, there are a few ways to look at this.
A scrappy quilt can be any quilt that incorporates scraps (duh). But a scrappy quilt can also just mean the aesthetic of using many different fabrics, which weren’t scraps to begin with, giving the appearance of having dipped into your scrap bin.
I know, I know. This might seem obvious, but there is a reason I bring it up. Not everyone loves the “scrappy” aesthetic, and that’s totally fine. If you’re one of those people, I have good news for you! You can still make quilts using your scraps!
If an entirely scrappy quilt isn’t your style, you can just use a few scraps to add pops to a quilt. Alternatively, you can use larger scraps to give the effect of having only used yardage. It’s up to you! My point is, we aren’t after a certain scrappy aesthetic here, we are just here to start the year with empty (or emptier) scrap bins!
I have a confession to make—my scrap bins (yes, I have multiple) are wildly unorganized. And that works for me. I’ve tried a color-based scrap organization system, but it just never seems to stick. Instead, what I have found that works for me, is loosely organizing my scraps by size. I have two bins, one where I throw scraps smaller than about 4” x 4”, and a second where the larger scraps go. When my bins start to get full I know it's about time to clear them out with a scrap-busting project.
Don’t be intimidated by working with your scraps just because they aren’t perfectly organized. Sometimes, while digging through my scrap bin for something that I just know is in there somewhere, I come across the most lovely and unexpected color combinations.
When I set out to make a project using some of my disorganized scraps, I typically start by dumping everything out on the floor, and then the sorting begins. Sorting by what you might ask? Well, it depends.
If I know a pattern is going to require a certain size of scrap then I usually start by sorting by size. Other times I sort by color, prints vs solids, the scale of the print itself. I sort and sift through my scraps until something starts to catch my eye (a color combination, or the way a couple of the scraps look together) and then I build on that. I consider this process akin to panning for gold. Lots of sifting and rearranging until you strike gold!
Make a Scrappy Shine Quilt
Shine is a perfect quilt to dip your toes into the scrappy pool. The strip piecing is simple but bold and striking.
To create one scrappy Shine block you will need approximately 10 individual 2¼” x 18” scraps, and 14 individual 2¼” x 4½” scraps. Bigger scraps are of course welcome and totally usable, these are just the minimum sized scrap pieces you will need to create a single block.
To figure out how many scrap pieces you will need to create an entire quilt, multiply the number of scrap pieces for one block by the number of blocks in the quilt. For example, the throw-sized Shine quilt is made up of 16 individual blocks. So you will need 160 long scraps and 224 short scraps. This would be a perfect time to use up those awkward binding scraps that tend to be floating around!
Using your scrap pieces, follow the instructions in the pattern for cutting and block assembly, replacing the yardage for the colored strips with your long and short scraps. Then just add background fabric, and voila!
If you want to keep with the two-tone palette for each block, as is depicted in the pattern, sort your scraps by color and pick out a few that are tonally similar. For each block, half of your long strips and half of your short strips should each be one color, and half should be a complementary secondary color. Or, go completely wild, like I did, and pick several scraps in colors you like, assembling them randomly into one block!
Not quite ready to make an entire scrappy Shine quilt yet? Check out this tutorial to make a laptop case using the Shine pattern. Or turn your single scrappy Shine block into a tote bag, like I did, using this tote bag tutorial.
Make a Scrappy Mod Mountains Quilt
The Mod Mountains pattern is another excellent starter scrappy quilt. While the pattern is written with fabric requirements for four fabrics, it’s easy to scrap these up! The intentionally wonky nature of the triangle blocks that make up the quilt looks incredible with scraps, and the only other thing you will need to add is a background fabric.
Using the cutting requirements and templates found in the Mod Mountains pattern, let the yardage and cuts for Colors 1, 2, and 3 signify your scraps. Color 4 is your background fabric, and you should follow the yardage and cuts as they are stated in the pattern.
To cut a single Template A the minimum size scrap you will need is about 8” x 7”. Use the quantity of Template A pieces under Color 1 to determine the number of scraps you will need (for example, 23 for the throw size).
Template C will require a minimum size scrap of about 3½” x 4½”. Determine the quantity of Template C pieces you need to cut by adding those designated for Color 2 and Color 3 together (49 for the throw size).
Additionally, you will need strip pieces to go along with your Template C pieces. They should be 2½” x 8½” each. You will need an even quantity of strip pieces in each color you use so that they’re divisible by two, so the minimum size scrap piece you will want to use is 5” x 8½” (to cut two pieces). Use the quantity found under Color 1 to cut your strip pieces (that’s 42 for the throw size).
If you want to make a few of your Mod Mountain blocks extra scrappy, you can use four thinner strips, rather than two strips, per Template C block, as I have done here. To create this effect I used two 1¼” x 8½” strips, and then two 1¾” x 8½” strips, to replace the 2½” x 8½” strips. Get creative! This is an excellent way to add even more pops of color to your quilt.
Make a Scrappy Perennial Quilt
The Perennial quilt is made up of wonky triangle blocks similar to that of Mod Mountains, and therefore makes an excellent scrappy quilt for many of the same reasons! By grouping your scraps by color you can still achieve the same flower effect as you can by making your quilt from solids, but it will still have a scrappy look! While making my Perennial wall hanging top I challenged myself to use scraps exclusively, even for the background fabric, and I am excited to share how I did that with you.
First I sorted my scraps into two general color sections, yellows and pinks. I used my yellow fabrics to represent the fabric in the Perennial cutting chart called “Flowers” and the pinks were my “Garden” fabrics.
Using the templates and cutting chart provided in the Perennial pattern, cut the correct quantity of Template B pieces from both your Flower and Garden scrap pieces. For one Template B piece, you will need a minimum size scrap of 3½” x 4½”, so this is a great pattern for using up lots of smaller scraps.
Now, the extra fun part—scrappy background fabric! I decided I wanted a cream-colored background overall, so I sorted through my scrap bins to find as many various cream and white offcuts as I could. The minimum size you are looking for here is 2½” x 8½”. Use the cutting chart to determine how many strips of this size you will need for the quilt size you are creating.
For your Template A background pieces a minimum scrap size of 8” x 7” is required. Use the number of rows in your final quilt to determine how many of these you need (for me, creating the wall hanging size, that was 4).
For the WOF (width of fabric) border strips you can either use yardage cuts in a matching background fabric color, or piece together larger scraps to achieve a scrappier effect.
Make a Scrappy Modern Fans Quilt
Something I love almost as much as I love using scraps is sewing curves. Learning to sew curves was actually one of my 2021 quilting goals, and I am hooked! My love of curves isn’t the only reason I chose Modern Fans as one of the patterns to feature in this post though.
The Modern Fans pattern uses fairly small pieces, so it’s perfect for busting through some of those harder to use up scraps in your stash. And the bold design looks amazing in lots of colorways. This is a good pattern to use up what I consider medium-sized scraps (those in the 8” range). Sewing curves also has a way of creating more scraps, so you should have plenty of matching leftovers to make a scrappy binding, or another scrappy project when you are done!
The Modern Fans pattern is created from four different blocks. The pattern has a handy chart that details the quantity of each block you need to make up each size pattern on page 2, so I am going to give you the scrappy requirements to make one of each block, and that nifty chart will get you the rest of the way.
Block 1 has some fun and wonky piecing that is perfect for highlighting some of your scraps. For each Block 1, you will need three 3¼” x 6” scraps, in various fabrics.
To maintain the visual effect of the pattern it will probably be easiest to use yardage and the cutting instructions provided for Color 2 (this goes for all of the blocks). If you do wish to make your Color 2 components scrappy, I would recommend keeping your scraps in the same color family, as I did for the background on my Perennial wall hanging. For each Template A piece in Block 1 you need a scrap about 8” square.
Block 2 requires one 7” square scrap for the Template D component, and one 8” square scrap for the Template E component if you are choosing to not use yardage for Color 2.
For your Template D components, Color 1 in the cutting chart, consider using scraps in the same tonal range. This will give your finished scrappy quilt the same diamond effect the quilt illustrated in the pattern has.
For Block 3 you will need one 6” square scrap, for the Template B piece, and one 7” square scrap for the Template D piece. If you’re opting not to use yardage for Color 2 you will also need one 8” square scrap for your Template C piece.
Using the Block Requirement chart found in the pattern, multiply the number of each block required for the quilt size you are creating by the number of scraps needed for each block. This will determine how many of each scrap you will need.
If you’re new to curves first of all, welcome! Secondly, don’t skip this handy tutorial on sewing curves for beginners. If you don’t feel quite ready to commit to an entire curvalicious quilt yet, consider making some Modern Fans throw pillows, which is what I am planning on doing with my blocks!
Make Your Own Scrappy Quilt Using a Suzy Quilts Pattern!
Alright friends, I must leave you now, but do not fear! Scrappy quilts are within your reach! And remember, any quilt that uses scraps is a scrappy quilt in my book, whether it looks like it or not. So go forth with lighter scrap bins, to be filled again in this new year!
What are your quilty resolutions for the year? And what types of scrap-busting projects do you like to make? Let us know in the comments below!