How to Make Your Scrap Quilt Look Good

I get this question so often: how do you make a scrap quilt look good? There isn't once answer to this question, but I'm going to give you a few guidelines to help you out.


Remember that these are my thoughts - they aren't rules and you can do whatever you want. These are guidelines that I roughly use to pick fabrics for scrap quilts and I break them all of the time. 


The Carly Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting

  • If you don't love a fabric enough to use it in another project, you are not going to like it in a scrap quilt. Sometimes it seems like a scrap quilt is a great way to use up that print that is in your stash and you're not quite sure why you bought it because it's not your favorite. Do not be fooled! You will not like it in your scrap quilt. You will enjoy the quilt so much more if it is full of beloved prints. (If you decide to make an ugly scrap quilt where you purposely use lots of prints you don't love, that's a different story)
  • A Valued Scrap Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting
  • Try to choose a direction. Maybe you are using up bright scraps or muted scraps. Primary colors or jewel tones. It can even be fun to use scraps from a single designer or fabric manufacturer. Go with prints or solids. But really - do whatever you want. There are no rules!
  • A Rainbow Cleo Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting
  • Large scale prints can be tricky. Many scrap quilts are made up of small pieces and large scale prints can look a little weird when cut down. You can definitely use them, just be aware that the fabric will look different depending on the part you are cutting into. 
  • Rainbow Modern Postage Stamp Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting
  • Also tricky - prints with a lot of contrast. When I first started quilting, I loved polka dot fabrics. There are some dot prints that are great, but prints with a light background and dark, large dots can be visually distracting. This can also be the case with stripes or other shapes. 
  • A Scrappy Ruth Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting
  • Try to pair up fabrics within the quilt that you like together. I find that this really helps me - if I am making a quilt, I try to put fabrics next to each other that I like together. Maybe a small scale prints next to a large scale, two prints that compliment each other nicely, etc. I think it gives the finished quilt a more cohesive look. 
  • A Scrappy Freya Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting
  • The more variety, the better. Some of my favorite scrap quilts are the ones where I tried not to re-use any prints or solids. Having different fabrics makes the quilt so much fun!
  • Start with a color palette. I like to search for "color palettes" on Pinterest or use Coolers to generate a color combination that I like. For a scrap quilt, I like to have lots and lots of colors, but I will use the color palette and then build out from there with colors that coordinate.
  • A Scrappy Iris Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting

Those are my tips. Really, anything goes with a scrap quilt. Even "ugly" scrap quilts are wonderful!

kara's scrap quilt

I will be making a scrappy version of my the Carly Quilt for the quiltalong and am going to try to use as many different fabrics as possible - I'm excited!

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