modern scrappy quilt by the sewing chick


This quilt looks like it was randomly pieced, but there is a method here that makes the sewing easy and fun! The trick is to have a variety of fabrics and a good balance of colors and values – I think it looks best with a majority of low volume or light values with the medium and dark values providing interesting contrast.

It is a great stash buster and fat quarter friendly quilt.

Choosing fabrics: 

I counted and these are approximations, but follow these guidelines for a similar looking quilt. I used about 30 different fabrics, some more than once. 50% of my pieces are light value, 30% medium value and 20% dark value.


Cut a 6″ x 21″ strip of six different fabrics. The length doesn’t have to be exact, just cut a piece off a fat quarter or cut a strip of yardage and cut in half at the fold line.



Stack them on top of each other with all sides even. The order doesn’t matter – they will be re-arranged. Using a ruler and a rotary cutter, trim the left edge to ensure all layers are straight. Then move ruler to the right 3″- 4″ and cut at an angle.


Move the ruler to the right a few inches and make another cut. Change the angle for variety. There is no right or wrong way here!!

Continue moving to the right and making cuts until you are at the end. IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AT LEAST SIX PIECES CUT, more is ok but don’t do less. I like to cut off about 1/2″ from the end to ensure the edges are straight.



Now to re-arrange. Separate the piles a little so you have space to work. The first pile will stay as it is. Take the top piece of the second pile and put it on the bottom of the pile.



Take the top two pieces in the third pile and put them on the bottom of the pile.
Take the top three pieces in pile four and put them in the bottom of the pile.
Take the top four pieces in pile five and put them on the bottom of the pile.
Take the top five pieces in pile six and put them on the bottom of the pile.
If you have a 7th pile, leave it as is.
If you have an 8th pile, start the process over and put the top piece on the bottom.
Continue in the same manner for any remaining piles.



Now you have your piles with the pieces jumbled. The cuts are the same and your edges will line up perfectly when you sew the pieces together.



Moving from left to right, take the top piece from each pile, stack them with #1 on top. I like to take them to the machine and put the top piece on the left of my needle and the rest on the right. Sew them together by flipping the right piece on top of the left. This makes sure I don’t mess up the order!!



Stitch with a 1/4″ seam and offset the pieces a bit so that the seam hits at the point of the notch created. The more of an angle you have, the more they will need to be offset.



Sew each piece in succession until the row is complete. Don’t worry if your edge isn’t perfectly straight, because now you are going to trim it down to 5 1/2″. Trim the first edge at about 1/4″ and then the other edge. Be sure not to trim off too much with your first cut so that you have enough to get a straight edge with the second edge.



Continue with the remainder of the stacks of pieces, taking the top of each pile and sewing together in a row. There will be six “blocks” when you are finished.



The sample quilt is made of 36 blocks, so I repeated the whole process five more times. I used some of the fabrics more than once, but for the most part, I used different fabrics in each set.

You may notice that the blocks are not all the same length. The number of seams will affect this. Not to worry, just trim them to the same size or add narrow strips to the ends to lengthen. This is a free form quilt – no rules!!

Now lay out your blocks in a way that pleases you. The sample quilt is 3 blocks across and 12 blocks down. I used one block from each set to create two rows of the quilt, and did this six times. It gave me a balanced layout and ensured there wouldn’t be too many of the same fabrics next to each other.

Once you are satisfied with the layout, sew the blocks together into rows. Then sew the rows together – I like to sew them into pairs first, then sew the pairs into fours, and finally sew the fours into eight and twelve.


modern scrappy quilt navy and green by the sewing chick


I also like the arrangement done vertically. I used too many directional prints to make this work, but maybe next time!  I would also like to try wider cut strips and skinnier pieces. It is a very versatile method, limited only by your imagination.


modern scrappy quilt navy and green by the sewing chick


I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial and give it a try!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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