Do you have fabric scraps? Hahahaha! Oh my, sometimes I make myself laugh. Ahem. Let me try that again. Are you currently buried under a pile of fabric scraps? Does your scrap bin runneth over? Do you feel a pang of guilt when cutting into freshly purchased fabric knowing that your sad sack of scraps is being neglected in the corner?
If you answered yes to any of those or even just shrugged your shoulders in ambivalence, I'll take it! Today I will walk you through 6 tips on how to take the Shining Star quilt pattern or the Shining Star pillow extension pattern and make them super-duper scrap-o-licious!
In this post, I will be using the Shining Star pillow extension pattern. Here are the fabric requirements for that. I will reference them throughout this post, so don't get them confused with the requirements in the full quilt pattern which are different.
The pillow extension pattern makes a 16" block with borders to fit a standard 18" square insert. The full quilt pattern makes a 20" block.
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Tip #1: Pull some foundational colors.
You can rummage through your scrap bin or even your regular fabric stash of precuts to find some colors you like. Sometimes it's easiest if you start with a hero fabric and build from there. My hero fabric is this fantastic large-scale floral I just got from DuckaDilly. Isn't it amazing??
Once I decided to go with highly saturated cool tones I went deep diving in my scrap bin. This is one of nine bins and none of them are organized. Picking fabric scraps would be a lot easier if these bins were organized by color...which I do recommend. 😉
Tip #2: Combine fabrics to make what you need.
In this example, I have enough Color 1 and Color 2 fabric but will be scrapping together my Color 3 fabric. I laid out the Color 1 fabric (the background) and placed my other fabrics on top to make sure there was enough contrast between them and they remained cohesive.
An easy way to keep scrappy fabric looking cohesive is to pick fabrics that are all in the same color family. I'm not doing that because this large floral is making me feel extra wild.
Tip #3: Just follow the cutting instructions!
It's really that simple! Whether you are using the exact fabric requirements or not, follow the cutting instructions to get the total of what you need. For example, if the pattern says you need four strips but your scrap fabric is only large enough for three strips, grab another scrap for your fourth strip.
Below you can see that to get my corner squares, I needed to cut from four different fabrics. I also cut 1.5" strips from a handful of different scraps so I could test out what I liked as I was making the block.
Tip #4: You can use the one-at-a-time flying geese method.
In this example I am not scrapping together my flying geese blocks so I am still able to make them with the 4-at-a-time method in the pattern; however, if you would like to use smaller pieces of fabric for this part because you do not have a piece large enough for the 4-at-a-time method, use the one-at-a-time method from this blog post.
To make the 4.5" x 8.5" flying geese blocks for the pillow, using the one-at-a-time method, you need to cut (2) 4.5" squares from Color 1 and (1) 4.5" x 8.5" from Color 2.
Tip #5: Lay out your scrappy strips before you sew.
It helps me a lot to visually see how these blocks will look before sewing them all together. You can cut strips or even just lay them in place to get a sense of how they play together and if they should move around. Remember, this is improv sewing, so even though the pattern is a wonderful guide, you really can do whatever you want.
Tip #6: Give yourself permission to change your mind.
I followed the pattern and used the emerald green in the center of my improv log cabin. It's fine. Like very very OK. I do not love it.
Was it a missed opportunity? Would this bright poppy color have been better? Yeah. I think so. Time to perform surgery! I ripped out that center piece and changed it up.
It's a lot easier to change your mind before you sew pieces together. In this instance below I saw that top left square and knew it needed to go. I originally planned on using that color in some of my log cabin strips, but when all of those got cut, this corner square needed to get cut too.
But what to use? The pattern I have going is purples in opposite corners so it only made sense for me to find a color that was greener than this dark blue. Let's see what the 'ol scrap bin has to offer...
What do you think? It's a little wild and had me scratching my head a couple of times, but all in all, I'm happy with it and you know what? I had a lot of fun making creative decisions throughout the process.
When making your scrappy Shining Star blocks you can keep it simple or, like me, let yourself run free and change your mind throughout the process. There's no wrong way!