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How to Make Your Quilted Projects "Scrappy"

Scrappy Quilt Tutorial
  • July 27, 2023

How to Make Your Quilted Projects “Scrappy”

Ever heard of scrappy quilting? Simply put, it’s when a project uses a variety of fabrics in (seemingly) random placement. The fabrics used can be scraps from your stash or recently purchased - it doesn’t matter. The effect is a one-of-kind project that shows off your own unique style!

Our August 2023 Perfectly Pieced box has an adorably scrappy feel to it. With a Perfectly Pieced subscription for machine embroidery, subscribers discover the life-changing simplicity of piecing and quilting in the hoop. Unlike traditional methods, piecing on an embroidery machine (aka "in the hoop") yields perfect points, corners, and 1/4-inch seams every time! It's so satisfying. Subscribers receive a new quilt block in four sizes, two background quilting designs, multiple project instructions, a beautifully curated fabric bundle, and more with every delivery - everything they need to create a beautifully pieced project! Learn more here.


So, let's talk about scrappy quilting! There are four “levels” of scrappy, varying in how controlled they feel. Keep reading for a summary of all four and our best tips for making your own Scrappy Quilt! 

An All The Way Scrappy quilt is entirely random in both fabric and placement - anything goes! Fabrics of any color, tone, or pattern can be used. In the quilt below, from Doodlebugs and Rosebuds Quilts, notice how the consistent, evenly-spaced white pieces keep it from feeling chaotic. It still appears to be well-planned and pleasing to look at despite its scrappiness.

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A Controlled Scrappy quilt uses random fabrics, but the color palette is somewhat controlled. The quilt below, for example, features a palette of pastels and brights and the fabrics are placed deliberately to keep the blocks symmetrical.

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Another “level” of scrappy quilting is a Planned Palette With Random Placement.  The quilt below uses a controlled palette of natural, earthy colors, but the placement of colored fabrics is random within the pattern constraints.

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Last of all is a Planned Scrappy quilt. Some may not consider this “level” to be truly scrappy; nonetheless, it’s a great way to use up your collection of scraps!  The quilt below uses fabrics in the red, orange, and yellow family.

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Our Best Tips for Scrappy Quilting

The example images below are from our July 2023 Perfectly Pieced block and fabrics. Notice how perfect every point, corner, and 1/4-inch seam is. That's because Perfectly Pieced blocks are stitched on an embroidery machine! In-the-hoop piecing (aka piecing on an embroidery machine) is a total game-changer. It's worth checking out!

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  1. Use a simple quilt block, where all the fabric cuts are the same size. You could use strips in a log cabin block or squares in a nine-patch.

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  1. Choose a simple color palette, such as greens and pinks. Gather all your fabric scraps that fit into these two colors. Be inclusive! Perhaps you have a magenta or red that you add to the pinks, or a teal you add to the greens. This will contribute to the scrappy look. Also, don’t worry about the scale and pattern of the fabric. The key here is not to overthink it! Other color palette options are to consider are all pastels, all neutrals, all brights, or all blues. Our color palette is all brights.

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  1. Keep one element of each block consistent and neutral.  For example, if there is a center piece in each block, use the same white/beige print on all the blocks in the same placement.  This will give some visual relief to the project. We used a simple white mini-print for our neutral background fabric.

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  1. Cut your block pieces randomly. Pull randomly from your chosen collection of fabrics for each cut. Don’t count pieces to make sure everything is even - let it be truly random! 

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  1. Choose your block pieces randomly. Here is one of our favorite scrappy quilting tips: toss all of your block pieces into a pile or bag. As you stitch your quilt blocks, pull from these fabrics randomly. If you grab two of the same fabric, don’t put one back. If you pull all pinks for one block, that’s ok. Take a deep breath and let it be unplanned.
    That’s part of the fun!  

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What do you think? Have you made a scrappy quilt before? Does this sound intimidating or fun to you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

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About ME Time: Every machine embroiderer knows how frustrating it can be to find the time and materials to start a new project. ME Time delivers complete machine embroidery experiences right to your doorstep, so you can start creating the moment you’re ready! Click here to discover the perfect subscription for you and get started!

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