More Fun With Scraps

Disappearing Four Patch

There's something inordinately fun about making something from oddments that might have been thrown away!

I wrote recently how Faith and I were inspired to make several quilts and other projects from beautiful scraps. Well, while working on those projects, I decided to do something utterly radical, at least for me:

I would sort and organize my scrap fabrics!

I know. Pathetic.

Yeah, I had a number of boxes sitting on my basement shelves. Which over the course of years became a horrible, jumbled mess. Corduroy mixed with calicoes. Silky pieces tumbled around with flannels. At one point, in frustration, I just ditched several boxes, virtually without looking inside.

Our summer foray into scrap quilt making inspired me to get serious about sorting, tossing, and keeping only what might really be useful.

You know what? It wasn't that hard to do, and it has been SO worth it.

Some quilters have gorgeous storage systems such as this or this one.

But I needed to do something quick and cheap, using what I had for the most part. So I sorted small scraps by color and put them in plastic shoeboxes. Larger quilting fabric pieces of fabric I folded and put them on the shelves or in a couple of larger storage boxes not shown. The basket on top holds orphan blocks.

If you do nothing else to improve your fabric storage - check out this tutorial on how to fold quilt fabrics for storage. It's brilliant! So simple, and gives you tidy packages all the same size.

Zambian fabric being folded
All done!

After the fabrics were sorted, it only seemed right to do something with them. So I made the quilt shown at the top of this post. It's a Disappearing Four Patch, which is super simple and super quick. For each block you cut four large squares (10"), then slice and dice them, rearrange, and sew together. Maybe you can get an idea from this picture which shows the pieces rearranged, but not yet completely sewn.

Since the front was made only with fabrics from my stash, I decided to do the same with the back. Modern quilters often piece together fabrics for more interesting backs, so I decided to give that a shot. I even threw in a leftover wonky star square from my orphan block basket. Here's what I came up with:

Quirky back of Disappearing Four Patch scrap quilt

Big stitch quilting in two colors (navy and cream) brought this one to completion. Working with what I had on hand was such a fun challenge! Who knows what might spring next from the stash!


I so enjoyed reading this post this morning! I can tell you are so glad you organized your scraps and fabrics. The quilt is great, but my favorite part is the way you used an orphan block on the back. So resourceful! The pieced back looks very nice all round =)

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