From Scraps to Panels to Backings and Linings

fabric

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.

scottie panel (4)

I start first with the various pieces and strip-sew them to one of the strips, using ¼ inch seams.

scottie panel (5)

This sewn strip is cut apart …

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…pressed….

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…and trimmed.

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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.

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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.

scottie panel (18)

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.

 

Halloween Vintage Embroidery

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I’m continuing with projects that use vintage embroidery and lots of autumn-colored scraps.  I found this free pattrn online and made it into a place mat.

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I embroidered another vintage pattern and added fabric to make a Halloween pillow.

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The scary, feathered owl was a birthday gift from my younger granddaughter who liked it so well that she bought one for herself.

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I made a pillow set for my vintage folding chair.  This design is based on a Helan Barrick decorative painting pattern that I first used about 25 years ago.

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It’s fun to take the embroidered pieces and figure out what I can do with them, using scraps and reducing the amount of leftover fabric I have to store.

Vintage Scenes Scrap Wall Hanging

VS-cu

I’m still working on my goals for this year of using up all of the small scraps I have.  I found a lot of fussy-cut scraps from some material I bought 5 years ago to make this apron which won a blue ribbon at our county fair.

fullapron

I used a few more pieces in small projects but still had a lot of scraps that I couldn’t bear to throw away.  I used them along with some green/yellow scraps to make this wall hanging.

VS-Q

I pieced the squares on-point and for the corners found a vintage pillow cover fabric among my scraps to use as corners.

VS-corner

I still had some odd-shaped pieces of fabric left and put those together with scraps to make a cover for a large cushion.

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VS-pillow

I’m down to one large bag of scraps to work with now – brown, tan, and orange shades.  I might make my goal of emptying all of the bags by the end of the year.

A Round Tablecloth from Scraps

rdcloth-top

I recently made a small Linus quilt with red/white/blue scraps I had accumulated.  I was determined not to put the bag of scraps back into storage and was looking for other fabric to use to make another project.  I found a ½ yard piece of a fabric I’ve had for about three years and never wanted to cut into.  I used this as the centerpiece of a large round tablecloth.

rdcloth-panel

I used a pattern called New Water Wheel and adapted it to use the size pieces I had the most of from my scrap bags plus a few pinwheel blocks left over from the Linus quilt.  Even the binding was cut from strips of red scraps.  Backing was made from some scrap curtain material.

rdcloth-binding

I used small pieces of the focus fabric combined with red/white/blue scraps to make two large mats that can be placed over the tablecloth to cut down on laundry.

rdcloth-mats

 

A Small Linus Quilt from Scraps

Linus14-top

I’ve been donating quilts to the Greater Cincinnati Linus Project since I first started quilting 11 years ago.  Most of the donations (4 to 5 a year) have been twin size, but I’ve been having back problems which ruled out making anything that large.  I thought maybe I could handle making a smaller quilt and wanted to use some of the red, white and blue scraps I’ve accumulated.  I chose a simple pinwheel pattern and sized it to make a 9-1/2 finished block.

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Our Linus group prefers fleece rather than backing fabric and batting.  I chose a bright red fleece and made the binding from strips of the red scrap material.

Linus14-bind

I didn’t add a border and used very simple straight line quilting on my Bernina.  The quilt finished at 30×40 inches – a nice size for a young child to carry around.

Small Pillow with Frame – Gift Idea – Tutorial

SP-needle

Awhile back, I saw a cute item in a needlework shop – a small pillow that had a frame on top in which a piece of needlework could be inserted and then changed out if desired.  I thought it was something I could duplicate and I worked out the details for a 5×5 inch pillow that would accept a 4 inch piece of needlework (see picture above).
I plan to make some of these pillows as Christmas gift card  or check holders, using a favorite photo and tucking the gift card or check in back of it.  I’ll attach a tag:  Look behind the picture for a surprise.

Here is how I made the pillow:

Cut:

  • 1 piece of 5-½ x 5-½ inch muslin for the top of the pillow
  • 1 piece of 5-½ x 5-½ inch fabric for the back of the pillow
  • 4 pieces of 3 x 5-½ inch fabric for the frame
  • You will also need a small amount of stuffing

SP-layout
Press the four pieces of frame fabric (3×5-½ inches) in half lengthwise.

Place the muslin on the table and arrange two of the frame pieces on top of the muslin, matching raw edges with folds toward center.

SP-sides
Place the remaining two frame pieces top and bottom on the muslin, matching raw edges with folds toward center.  Pin and stitch 1/8 inch from the raw edges to secure the frame.

SP-frame
Place the right side of the backing on top of the frame, matching raw edges.  On the bottom edge, place a pin 2-½ inches from each side and leave the center portion open for stuffing.  Stitch ¼ inch seams, beginning and ending at pins.  Remove pins, trim four corners and turn piece so that frame portion is on the front of the pillow.

Stuff the pillow and hand-stitch the opening gap.

SP-back

For insert, choose a needlework piece with a 3-½ x 3-½ inch design and leave a ¼ inch border around the edge to form a 4 x 4 inch block.  Zigzag stitch around the raw edges of the piece.  Insert into pillow frame.

You could also fussy-cut a pretty design from fabric 4 x 4 inches ….
SP-fab

…or print a 3-½ x 3-½ photo on fabric (such as June Tailor’s Sew-In Colorfast Fabric Sheets) and leave a ¼ inch border around the edge to form a 4 x 4 inch square.
SP-photo

This would make a cute gift with just one insert or, even better, stacking three inserts in the frame with a tag for the recipient to check under the first fabric for a surprise or two.

This pillow is very easy to make and uses up a little bit more of that scrap fabric that is in everyone’s sewing room.

Indian Summer Paper-Pieced Block

IndSum-top

My blogger friend at knitNkwilt posted about an interesting paper-pieced block called Indian Summer.  There’s a free downloadable pattern on Craftsy.com.  I like paper piecing for small projects and the 12-inch block plus a 2-inch border makes a piece that is perfect for my mini-rack….

IndSum-rack

….for two separate spots in my kitchen…..

IndSum-cab

hanger

…and for what we used to call a “stand cover” or table mat….

IndSum-cover

I was able to reduce my bags of black, white and red scraps a bit and have two pieces that will get a lot of use.

Super Stars and Sofa Cushions

futon-top

Wedding Dress Blue has an interesting quilt-along and tutorial for an easy version of the Lemoyne Star called Super Star that is fun and quick to put together.  Click here for her tutorial.  I have a large, deep-seated sofa that requires large cushions behind my back if my feet are going to touch the floor.  I had salvaged two large foam cushions from a discarded couch and the 16-inch star was perfect when I added some strips and additional half-squares to make the block larger.  I made the block for the front and back of each cushion and chose not to quilt the covers which will have to be laundered frequently.

futon-1

I used only scraps in these two cushion covers, including a large bag of white scraps I had bought last fall in Ohio Amish country.

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I made a total of 80 half-squares that were 2-½ inches and for this many pieces, I turned to my Wonder Cut Ruler which made quick work of them.

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I also used scraps for the side sections, cutting 6-inch wide strips of various lengths of fabric.
futon-sides

I had salvaged two long zippers from the original cushions and didn’t have to buy anything to complete the project.

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My dog, Addie, wondered when I was going to be finished taking pictures so I could fill her dinner bowl and also when I was going to get out of the way so she could get back to her favorite spot on the couch.

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Quilt Blocks and a Bag from Leaders and Enders

For years, I’ve heard about leaders and enders (little scraps of fabric inserted at the beginning and ending of a seam to avoid tangled threads and to save thread), but my attempts to do this were always distracting and I’d give up on it.  Lately, though, eye problems have made it difficult to thread the needle and I re-evaluated the leader and ender pieces of fabric.  I know a lot of quilters keep a box of scraps near the sewing machine to use in this manner and eventually have enough scraps sewn together to make a quilt.  Anything that will use up small scraps appeals to me and I got out my jars of scraps which are sorted by color and cut several colors into 2-inch squares.  This size accommodates a lot of my fabric pieces and is easy to stitch together.   I carried it another step further and put the pieces together to make a 9-patch rather than having another box full of 2-inch patches to put together – SOME DAY.

Before I begin to sew, I put two 2-inch squares right-sides-together and stitch them.  Then, without breaking thread, I sew the seam on my current project.  At the end of this seam, I insert another two squares and stitch them together.  I cut the thread on the first set of 2-inch squares, add another square to make a row and this becomes my “leader” or “ender” as needed.  I keep the rows for one block on the ironing board beside me until a 9-patch is completed – then it goes into a basket and I start another set of patches.

I used this technique on a recent mini-quilt project and when I had finished the quilt, I had made 19 five-inch blocks   They are all in coordinating colors so they can be put together easily as needed for a pillow backing, small quilt or wall hanging backing, gift bags, etc.

Now, I’m so accustomed to putting 2-inch scraps together as I’m sewing that I use the process for any project, including making clothes.  No more birds’ nests at the beginning of the seam, no more wasted thread and a minimum amount of needle-threading – plus, I’ve used up some scraps and have nice blocks on hand to use with other projects.

I was able to use some of the blocks recently to make a lining for a small bag I made to give to some friends with jars of pickles and blackberry jam.  I used 1-1/2 inch sashing between the 5-inch blocks.  The lining is pretty enough to make the bag reversible.

For the outside of the bag, I used two orphan blocks.

All I had to do was add straps and facing around the top to make a nice little gift bag.

I also have strips cut 1-1/4 inches wide which I like to use for log cabin blocks and pieces cut in 1-1/2 inch squares.  I make sure my basket is full of scrap leaders and enders before I begin any project.

P.S.  My friends liked the bag and the home-canned goods.

Pocket Gift Basket from Scraps–Tutorial

For Christmas, I wanted to make some small baskets with pockets to hold little gifts.  I bought a pattern  and made three baskets, but they were very time-consuming and labor-intensive.  They turned out well, but I didn’t want to put that much time and work into the 8 additional baskets I needed.

I drafted my own pattern that made a 5-½ x 5-½ inch basket with a handle and pockets on the inside for the gifts.  It turned out to be just what I wanted and took about an hour to complete each one which included 15 minutes of hand-sewing, as opposed to about 3 hours for the first pattern and an hour of hand-sewing.  I also liked that I could use up fabric scraps to make them.  The basket is not difficult to make – basically two cubes joined with binding and handles.

I thought they turned out very cute and can be used after the Christmas treats are gone.

My daughter wrote on her blog about the three baskets I donated as craft table items at our favorite dog shelter, along with the items my two daughters donated.

LITTLE POCKET GIFT BASKET

Following are the materials I used to make one basket.  The fabric can be different or coordinating for any of the sections.  It’s fun to see how different each one can be.

Basket Outside fabric:

Cut four 5-1/2 x 6-½ inch pieces (note direction of fabric) for sides
Cut two 6-½ x 6-½ inch pieces for bottom (outside and lining)

Lining fabric:

Cut four 5-½ x 6-½ inch pieces for sides

Pocket Fabric:

Cut four 7-½ inch wide x 5-½ inch long pieces for pockets.

Binding Fabric:

Cut one 2-¼ inch strip 24-1/2 inches long

Handle Fabric

Cut two pieces 2-¼ wide x 8-½ inches long.

Stiff Fusible Interfacing such as Inner-Fuse by Dritz – A strip 28 inches x 5-¾ inches wide

Cut four 4-¾ x 5-3/4 inch pieces for sides

Cut one 5-¾ x 5-3/4 inch piece for bottom


SEWING – ¼ inch seams unless otherwise noted

  • Outside fabric sides and bottom:  Center the fusible interfacing on the wrong sides of the four sides and bottom of outside fabric.

  • Flip over and press according to manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Pockets and lining:  On the pocket tops (7-½ inch side) turn under ¼ inch and then another ¼ inch.  Stitch in place.
  • Finger press the center of each pocket and each lining piece along the wide edge.  Match up lining sides and pockets at the bottom edge – wrong side of pocket to right side of lining – stitch on the center mark from the top of the pocket to the bottom edge of the pocket/lining, back stitching at the top of the pocket.

  • Pin pocket to lining at bottom corners and at pocket hems on the sides.  Pin a small pleat on either side of the center stitching.

  • Baste along the sides and bottom of the pocket/lining 1/8 inch from the edge.  Make four of these pocket/lining sections.

  • To assemble outside of basket:  With RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, stitch a side panel to two opposite sides of the bottom, press.  Be careful that fabric is going in the right direction.  The design should be facing toward the bottom panel.
  • Place another side panel beside the panel on the left hand side of the center.  Be sure pattern is going in the same direction.

  • Flip the second side panel over on top of the previously sewn panel on the left hand side of the center – RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, matching raw edges at the side and top.

  • Stitch along the top, stopping ¼ inch from the point where the corner of the block meets the seam of the panel.

  • At this point, keeping the needle down, raise the foot, pivot, and turn the side panel and sew to the next pivot point.

  • Once again, pivot, turn panel and sew around to the top edge.  Back stitch at the beginning and ending and at each pivot point.  Don’t be afraid to fold or scrunch the basket to get it in the proper position to sew.

This is how the basket will look at this point.

  • Repeat with the remaining side panel on the other side of the basket.

  • Turn basket and press into corners with finger to shape basket.

  • To assemble lining:   In the same manner, sew together the lining/pocket sections to the remaining bottom piece.  Be sure the tops of the pockets are facing up.  Add the remaining two panels to form a lining/pocket cube.

  • Place the lining inside the fabric basket, matching up side seams, pinning at the top and pressing lining into place with your fingers.
  • Handles:  Fold sides of handle straps until they meet in the center, press, fold again lining up pressed edges.

  • Press and top-stitch on both sides of the handle
  • Pin a handle on opposite sides of the basket, 1 inch from the seam edge on each side.

  • Baste 1/8 inch from the raw edge, sewing from the inside of the basket.  Be sure all layers have been basted.  Note:  If pins are inserted with the points toward the top of the basket, they will be easy to remove as you sew.
  • Binding: Join ends with ¼ inch seam and press seam open.  Press in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
  • Place binding on top portion of basket, matching raw edges, and pin.  Stitch RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER to the outside of the basket.  Sew from the inside of the basket.

  • Turn the binding to the inside of the basket, allowing about 1/8 inch to show at the top edge.  Hand stitch the binding in place.

Here are the rest of the pocket gift baskets I made.