Looking for a Scrapbuster Quilt Pattern?
Do you have drawers, tubs, and shelves of fabric scraps filling your craft room? Are you afraid that adding even one more tiny scrap will buckle your shelving units or burst the lid of your plastic tubs? Yeah, me too. I have two large storage tubs and three drawers FULL of fabric scraps and remnants bin deals I simply could not pass up.
In early April of 2019, my husband and I decided we’re going to move from our small starter home in town and out to a 22 acre farmstead thirty minutes away. I’m going to have a larger craft room and plenty of space for storage….but I was not looking forward to moving my incredibly heavy scrap stash.
I decided I needed to turn at least some of my scraps into something useful before our mid-June closing date. I searched my favorite quilting-related book, “Quiltmaker’s 1,000 Blocks” for a quick, easy, scrap-busting block, but I felt that none of them provided the super-fast finish I needed to complete a good-sized quilt between my full-time job and packing up our house to move.
Enter the Rainbow Quilt.
If you have an enormous scrap stash lovingly curated over a number of years, you have likely obtained fabrics in every shade of the rainbow. Why not use them in this awesome and easy rainbow quilt? It’s fast, fuss-free, and it requires little forethought or planning. My favorite type of project!
Start by pulling out all of the scraps you wish to use and arrange them by color on your worktable. In case you have forgotten the colors of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Roy G. Biv. Keep that in mind as you’re moving along so you don’t have a kindergartner pointing out your mistake once you present your finished product to friends and family…
Another item of note, indigo is a deep, rich blue-purple color. For the blue section of my quilt, I used my lightest blue shades first, followed by my darkest blue colors, then my violets/purples. I seem to favor reds, oranges, and yellows in my projects as the ‘blue, indigo, violet’ section of my quilt is the smallest and was the most difficult to fill, so those three shades only account for about one and a half rows.
Once you have selected your fabrics and ironed out the wrinkles, it’s time to start cutting your scraps into strips. This is going to be the easiest cutting process you’ve ever experienced, because there doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason to this. My longest strips were 16 inches, and my shortest were around 3 inches. Some measured 4 inches wide, while others barely measured 2 inches.
Be aware that the smaller you choose to cut your strips, the longer it will take to sew enough fabric together to cut a block. The pinstripe look is amazing, but it takes forever, which was not working with my “I need to finish this quick” plans. I opted for a mixture of medium wide and extra wide strips to speed up the process, with a few skinny strips here and there.
Another tip, only cut one color at a time. Cut, sew the color into blocks, then cut the next color. It helped me keep organized so I knew exactly which fabric I was working with. Also, I hate standing and cutting for hours, so I required a bit of sewing to keep me motivated and moving forward.
First, decide how large you would like your completed block to be. I chose a 11 ½ inches for my finished size. Keep this in mind as you’re laying out your fabric. You can cut out a template with some cardstock if that is helpful to you, as well. Lay it over your fabric to help you judge how many strips you will need.
Lay out your fabric strips at about a 45°angle on your cutting mat. It’s easiest if you lay your longest strips in the middle and your shortest strips at the edges, just like the photo of my green fabric. It’s okay if you find that you won’t quite reach your desired measurements at first. I’ll show you a trick for that in a minute!
Next, sew your strips together. I used a neutral tan Gutermann thread I had on hand for this project, but I think any neutral color would work perfectly well. Press your seams and return to your cutting mat. Cut your block to size.
As you can see in the below picture, this block doesn’t quite measure 11 ½ inches square. No need to panic! See the chunk I trimmed? We’re just going to take that chunk and sew it to the deficient corner. Now, square the block off. My Omnigrip 6-inch square is really awesome for quickly and easily squaring off these blocks. It’s one of my new favorite cutting tools!
You can keep sewing strips of fabric to your block if you don’t have a large enough scrap chunk. Press your seams one last time when the block is complete.
When you are beginning to reach the “transition zone” from one color to the next, make sure to sew some strips of your previous color into your new color. See my red to orange transition in the photo below!
Putting it All Together
I decided on an alternating pattern for my quilt blocks so the diagonal strip blocks formed diamonds and Xs inside the quilt top. Again, you can choose to sew your blocks together however you want! Rotate your blocks to form new designs, create uniform stripes, be spontaneous and creative!
I use blue painter’s tape to hang my blocks on the wall to help me visualize what my finished quilt will look like. The painter’s tape makes it easy to move blocks around if I don’t like their position, and it does not damage your wall like pins or tacks. Hanging blocks on the wall helps keep my workspace organized, as well, because I don’t have completed blocks piling up on my work table!
There are no size requirements for this quilt, either. You can make it gigantic to really bust your decades old collection of fabric scraps, or make it small to clear up the scraps from your last couple of projects and make way for brand new fabric! This pattern is quick, easy, and incredibly versatile, so feel free to customize and play around!
I, unfortunately, did not finish this lovely top before our move, and it ended up getting wadded up in a box, lost for about a month, and was finally pulled out in late July when I remembered I needed to finish this project before I started anything else!
The finish is quick and easy, though. Sew your blocks into rows, and then sew your rows together. Super simple. As long as you’ve kept your block and rows in your selected order, it will sew up great!
Once the top is completely assembled, give it one last press and prepare to quilt it yourself or send it to your longarm quilter! I finally finished my top in August, and as September rolls by I’m slowly quilting it with soft cotton batting and a luxurious minky backing.
If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe for my email updates so you can be one of the first to know when I post my tutorial on how to quilt with minky, which is a rather notorious pain in the butt to work with!