In 2008, I made a nice hooded jacket out of some really cute Scottie fabric and ever since then I have been shuffling around a small bag of scraps, hoping to find the perfect project for them. Since I reached my goal for 2014 of using up every small scrap I had other than special fabric like this, I’m a little ruthless in wanting to avoid saving any more small bags of scraps. I decided to go ahead and use this material in one of my favorite ways – to make panels that can be used as backings for wall hangings and small quilts, backings for cushions, linings for tote bags and other small projects, etc.
The first step is to take all the crumpled pieces of fabric out of the bag and press them. Then begin cutting them into pieces that will be formed into blocks. I like to make 5-inch blocks partly because they are easy to work with and partly because my ruler is 5 inches wide and makes measuring/cutting easy. So, first I cut any 5 inch blocks I can get out of the fabric.
Then, I cut strips 5 inches or more longer x 1-½ inches wide.
The rest of the fabric is cut into blocks, strips or rectangles at least 1-½ inches and on up to 5 inches.
The fabric pieces are placed in stacks – 5-inch squares, strips or pieces that are 5 inches wide, pieces that are various widths and shapes, and strips.
I start first with the various pieces and strip-sew them to one of the strips, using ¼ inch seams.
This sewn strip is cut apart …
Then, these joined pieces are sewn onto another strip, cut, pressed and trimmed until all of the pieces have been joined to something. These joined pieces are sewn to other pieces to form a 5 inch block.
Any 5-inch wide pieces are to sewn together or to other joined pieces to form 5-inch blocks. If I run short of fabric, I keep a supply of white or neutral colored strips on hand to finish off blocks.
When all of the fabric has been used, the blocks are sewn together in panels. If I know the measurement for a particular project, I sew the blocks to form that size panel. If I’m sewing for storage, I like panels that are two blocks across and three blocks down. This happens to work well for the projects I make. The panels can be joined or cut as needed.
The Scottie fabric gave me enough to make one panel that is 22-½ inches long x 9-½ inches wide.
I try to use this process whenever I finish up a project. Any piece over 5 inches is saved but all of the other bits and pieces are sewn into something that can be used later. It’s actually rather relaxing to do some mindless sewing like this after completing a project and at the same time, make good use of pretty scraps rather than dealing with them 7 years from now.