Tip Tuesday: 11 Tips to Increase your Scrap Quilt Efficiency!

Nothing gets quilters’ blood moving like good ol’ scrap quilt patterns! It’s a way to use up the fabric scraps in our stash and to express our creativity in a way we can’t do with other quilt patterns. No wonder we love them! This Tip Tuesday, take advantage of some great scrap quilt ideas, tips, and tricks for making scrap quilting much more efficient!

Before we get to all those great scrap quilting tips, let’s see what the expert of all scrap quilt experts has to say! Bonnie Hunter teaches workshops and lectures to quilt guilds all over the world, and has been kind enough to share her knowledge with us! She’s brilliant at working with recycled and scrap fabrics and quilt block techniques. Take a look at the Scrap Quilts with Bonnie Hunter preview here for a closer look at her course in scrap quilts. Then, keep reading for some great tips from fellow quilters!

Take advantage of these tips from fellow quilters. They might save you some time when you go to work on your next scrap quilt pattern!

TIP 1: Save those Selvages
The selvages that you remove from your fabrics can double for twill tape to stabilize inside seams of knit garments.

TIP 2: Scrappy Idea
Use scraps from projects to make 6″ blocks that you can join into a pillow to fill with potpourri, lavender, or cinnamon sticks for quick sachets. They make great gifts or gift enclosures.

TIP 3: Use All Of Your Fabric
Use selvage strips or other skinny, leftover fabric strips in the garden to tie up tomato plants, branches of fruit trees, or hang up shrubs to deter deer. The fabric is gentle on the plants and biodegradable.

TIP 4: Old or Ugly Fabric Solution
Use older or ugly fabric to create a pillow case – should be about 15 inches by 15 inches or 15 by 18 when finished. Hang the pillow case near your sewing machine and fill it with scraps of threads, fabric and batting. When it appears full, sew the end very securely. be sure that the scraps are distributed well. Sew an X thru the pillow (corner to corner to hold some of the stuffing in place. Deliver the pillow to your local animal shelter or vet to use in cat cages.

Bits and Pieces Book - Scrap Quilt PatternsTIP 5: Scrap Quilts
I like to cut my leftover fabrics into usable pieces for scrap quilts. I make a color copy of a quilt I plan to make, write on a sticky note the sizes of the pieces I need to cut, and slip the pattern into a plastic sleeve. The pattern is next to my cutting table, and a plastic storage container labeled with the name of the quilt is ready for the pieces.
Fons & Porter tip: If you’re looking for ideas on how to transform your “bits and pieces” of fabric into small, sweet, and simple quilts for decorating, gift giving, and more, you might be interested in Bits and Pieces: 18 Small Quilts from Scraps and Fat Quarters.

TIP 6: Using Scraps
I save scraps and extra strips in a storage bin. Then, when I have time, I make crazy quilt blocks. I start with a foundation square of muslin, and sew scraps to it, starting in the center. By using strips and pieces from other projects, I save time while creating a quick and easy quilt.

TIP 7: Fabric Storage
I use plastic salad containers for storing fat quarters and/or scraps. The containers stack nicely, and you can easily find what you’re looking for.

TIP 8: Needle Book
I make needle books using tiny scraps of fabric on graph paper foundations. Stitch on the lines using small stitches with lightweight thread in a neutral color. Remove the paper, layer the tops with a backing square and batting, and stitch around the edge. Trim the outer edge with pinking shears. Make a back using 2 squares of fabric and 1 square of batting. Stitch and trim in the same way. Attach the pieces with embroidery floss or perle cotton and a cute button.

TIP 9: Quilted Postcard
I like to use leftover scraps for mini quilt postcards. Zigzag stitching around the edges in variegated thread looks pretty, and holds the layers together. My friends love them!

TIP 10: Handy Fabric Kits
I like to keep my fabric and kits in paper bags rather than the plastic ones that stores use. You can buy these inexpensive bags at hobby stores. I type a label to attach to the bag including name of kit, contents of bag, and anything I need to purchase to complete the project. They line up neatly on the shelf in my fabric closet.

TIP 11: Scrap Storage Jar
I use a plastic pretzel container for storing small scraps. It’s easy to find what you need for a paper piecing or scrap quilt project because you can
see through the container.

I hope you enjoyed these scrappy tips! Do you have any ideas you’d like to share with your fellow quilters? Send in your quilting tip submission or tell us about them in the comments below.

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!
Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

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Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.

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