[ Quilting Tips ]

Scrappy Quilts

I love to make scrappy quilts. I like fabric so much I want to use it all in every quilt I make! But, I really don’t care for the whole-kitchen-sink randomness that some people imagine scrappy quilts must be. My preference is for controlled scrappy so I can choose the color scheme and make sure identical pieces don’t end up together very much.

Inspired by Bonnie Hunter

My quilting journey has been inspired by Bonnie Hunter. Check out the quilts in her book, Addicted to Scraps.  Each year, Bonnie hosts a mystery quilt-along and in her instructions for choosing fabrics, she explains the process of choosing fabrics within a color family. Often, she will pick up some color cards from the local paint store and then quilters around the world can match their own fabrics to her chosen shades.  The last time I participated in the one of her quilt-alongs, I piled my cutting mat with various cuts of green, pink, yellow and cream fabrics until I reached the recommended yardage for each color.

Sewing Scrappy Quilts

With all the fabric choices around us, it is easy to get a variety of fabrics. Then how do you sew them together and maintain the scrappy feel?  Many quilters find it hard to just grab the next fabric from a stack or bag and blindly sew pieces together.  We quilters like to be in control of our designs!  was worried with a recent project that my piles of scrappy triangles were ending up matchy-matchy when I wanted a more random look.

How to “plan” a random scrappy look

When you are working with a variety of fabrics for a scrappy quilt, there are a few simple rules to ensure that random placement of fabrics.

First, choose a healthy mix of fabrics in each color family.

Cut the pieces you need, then put a random pile next to a pile with like fabrics together.

Your units will have a nice scrappy feel!

Scrappy Quilts do not have to feel chaotic

Here are a few of the controlled scrappy quilts I have made.  In each one, I kept the color families together so the overall look of the quilt block was cohesive. Using many different fabrics makes it really fun to get up close and study the quilt.

Pattern: Allietare by Bonnie Hunter

Pattern: Boxy Stars by Bonnie Hunter

Arizona Flag True Blue Quilts

Pattern: Arizona’s Flag 2012, original design by Andi Stanfield

About Author


Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


1 Comment

  1. Andi, I love your Arizona flag quilt! I’m mostly a scrappy quilter, sometimes controlled … sometimes not! I still love Amanda’s (Crazy Mom) Vortex quilt, and am still working on a huge one. I think it’s one of the most enjoyable quilts I’ve ever made, but I also do a lot of scrappy red/white/blue for American Heroes. Your tips here are right on!

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