Have you heard the rumour that improv quilting is highly wasteful?
This was something that came up quite frequently during the 30 Days of Improv QAL and it’s one of my favourite myths to bust. Because improv quilting is how I incorporate sustainable quilting into my creative practice!
It’s true, there’s this perception that improv quilting leads to lots of fabric remnants. Which I’ve always found confusing since fabric scraps are exactly why I was tempted to dive into improv in the first place (other than it looking super fun!).
After working on a patterned quilt project, I always have some fabric leftovers. Some are yardage remnants from cutting out my width of fabric strips (read this post for more tips on cutting your fabric!), but most are trimmings from piecing my blocks and squaring up my quilt. It’s usually these oddly shaped scraps that leave some quilters confused about what to ‘do’ with those bits. For me, it’s those bits that get me the most excited to see what I can create.
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MY FABRIC SCRAP PHILOSOPHY
I see these remnants as an opportunity to play and get a bonus project out of yardage I’ve already paid for.
It’s an opportunity to maximize your fabric dollars, save material from ending up in a landfill, and usually leads to a fun quilty outcome that you hadn’t planned on.
That’s a win-win-win in my quilty book 😉
WHAT TO MAKE WITH YOUR SCRAPS
One of the things I love about quilting is thinking beyond quilts!
Quilts are awesome, but if you’ve been quilting for quite a while then you’ve probably amassed quite the quilt collection. I certainly have! And have the stack of quilts to prove it – ha! I love wrapping myself up in a quilt, so I’ll still be making them, but every now and again, I want to mix things up and step away from just making quilts.
Sometimes you just want to make something quick. Or you want to explore a technique and then wind up with a bunch of orphan blocks.
There’s lots of ways you can feature those scraps in a quilted project, but my go-to is to turn to my freedom sessions and just see what emerges from my improv play.
Here are just some of the projects I’ve created using this approach:
IMPROV QUILTED TRIANGLE SEWING BAG
My latest improv finish is this triangle sewing bag. I recently made my first one and shared it with you here and you loved it so much that I’ve started working on the pattern for you.
Since I like to test my patterns multiple times before sending them out to my pattern testers, I decided to use it as an opportunity to show you what you can do with just the trimmings from your improv play. What I mean by that, is the block shown below was made entirely from the trimmings created while piecing other improv blocks.
As I work on my composition, I like to set aside all of my fabric scraps. If it can accommodate a seam allowance, it gets recycled into the pile of remnants to play with.
Just look at the fun you can create with itty bitty bits!
SEE IT IN ACTION
Sometimes seeing it in action can spark an idea. So, I filmed myself creating an improv quilt block using just the trimmings from the previous blocks I had made that day. I’m hoping this inspires you to think about your fabric scraps in a new light and see the creative possibilities they offer.
For those who’ve been asking about the Triangle Sewing Bag pattern, I still have quite a bit of work to do on that! Feel free to sign up for my newsletter as subscribers are always the first to know about new pattern launches 😉
While I work on the pattern, check out what I like to store in my sewing bag (video tour included)!
Now you know why I love using improv quilting to incorporate sustainability in my creative practice. I’d love to know, what’s your favourite way to use up your fabric scraps?
PS if you want to try your hand at improv quilting sign up to join the free 30 Days of Improv QAL.
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