Help for the Scrappy

Help for the Scrappy

It starts out innocently enough- trimmings from a half square triangle, a couple of extra inches left of this yardage. "I'll totally use those little pieces later!" But eventually, every quilter ends up with The Scrap Section. Maybe it's a box, maybe it's a bag, maybe it's a pile of shame in the corner. I used to save mine to cushion packages mailed to my quilty BFF- she went through them like treasures and asked questions about the history of every little bit. Eventually I realized the value of what I was giving away- all my scrappy pieces are perfect for an EPP project!

Scrap Fabric Control Organize Colorful

Today I want to take a tour of some of our scrap-friendlier projects. There are two schools of thought on scraps: Controlled Scrappy and Random Scrappy. Controlled Scrappy means you group your scraps by color- all your red scraps together, blue scraps together, etc. Random Scrappy means once you get your pieces cut, you toss them in a hat, draw one out, and that's the one you use! This is a recommended tip in our Tumbler Quilt!

Tumbler Quilt by Paper Pieces

Our good friend Kali is working on a continual hexagon quilt. She cuts 2-1/2" squares of her scraps and bastes them onto 1" hexagons. She hasn't actually sewn any of them together yet, but it makes her scrap stash much more manageable and makes her happy! You could do this with bigger or smaller scraps!

Scrappy 1" Hexies

If you have a variety of scrap sizes, here's a good single block to work on: Hidden Star Block . You could do controlled scrappy, one block for each color you have, then when you sew the blocks all together, you'll have a beautiful rainbow of blocks!

My latest purchase is Ice Cream Soda by Tales of Cloth. I want to do a slightly controlled scrappy, to keep the outer ring in similar tones, and then the inner ring in another hue of similar tones. I love how even with scrappy color choices, the overall quilt has a cohesive look.

Ice Cream Soda Quilt - Photo from Tales of Cloth

To give you a little insight into how our minds work, we used Van Gogh's "Starry Night" as color inspiration for The Starry Night Project found here. This is an example of controlled scrappy where we've pulled the bright yellows and varied blues to make a fabric kit that absolutely sings the praises of Van Gogh's most famous work. If paintings are not your cup of tea, you can make the project your own. Pull colors from your favorite photo- the blues and tans of an idyllic beach scene, the rich colors of autumn in your family's trip to the pumpkin patch.

The Starry Night Quilt Kit

Eventually, you'll work your scrap pile down to the tiniest bits of "unusable" pieces. Just because you can't piece with them doesn't mean they aren't usable! I have a friend who makes pet beds for animal shelters and uses her scraps for a soft stuffing. Or, you could use them to make stuffed animals, or even a crazy quilt! 

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Oh, Paper Pieces! Why did you take down the page for your wondrous scrap bags?! Those of us who purchased them would love to humblebrag about the additions to our to-be-EPP’d pile. I couldn’t believe all the beautiful fabrics! Some are not to my taste and will be shared with others or made into gifts. They also generated LOTS of ideas. Sadly, some of the prints are too huge a scale for teeny equilateral triangles. Sigh! I shall have to start another project. THANK YOU! — ldp


I am making a sampler epp quilt out of nothing but scraps except for the background that I will applique the various units to (some day).


Been seeing for long time, but not tried paper piecing. Recommend a pattern to start? Cindy

Cindy Grgurich

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