Scrapalicious Quilt : a foray into improvisation

I made a quilt. Yes, I know… nothing new for me, but this one is a little different. I made my first, truly improvised, quilt.

Scrapalicious Improv Quilt

According to - improvise means : to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available.

That’s exactly what I did. My scrap tub was overflowing, so I tipped it out over my sewing space and began sorting the fabric into sizes. In hindsight, tipping it out onto a space that wasn’t my sewing space would have been a cleverer option, but hey, I was inspired and wanted to start sewing before I was needed elsewhere in the house.

Scrapalicious - beginning

I began all of my blocks with the same fabric (the fabric pictured on the bottom right of the image – white with tiny navy dots).

I cut the fabric (without a ruler) in various shapes and sizes. Some square-ish and some more rectangular. I began sewing coloured strips around this white centre - then pressing and trimming.
It started as a basic log cabin style block… until it didn’t. I got bored just sewing around in a circle pattern, so some of the blocks have strips added onto the same side.

As I was running out of long strips, I just joined smaller pieces together to make a long enough strip. If you look at the image below, what I just wrote, will make more sense.

Scrapalicious - Sewing Strips

I bordered some of the blocks on 2 or 3 sides with solid white/cream fabric. This wasn’t measured, just sewn on. Again, in hindsight, a little measuring wouldn’t have gone astray, but I was being all improvisational and free-like.

Can I just say, that having always made quilts, in which blocks are of the same size, or following a specific pattern which will end up square, this was really difficult for me.

Being free was hard work!!!

I lay out my blocks on the floor and added little bits of white or cream fabrics if they were much smaller than their neighbouring blocks.

Then I sewed the rows together.

Scrapalicious - coming together

I trimmed (or should I say straightened) the rows along the (long) lengths. By laying the rows out on the floor, I could see that some of the rows were a fair bit shorter than others, so rather than just add white fabric, I created a couple more improv blocks to add on the ends of these shorter rows.

Once the rows were all the same approximate length – I sewed the quilt top together. Yay!

I held off squaring it up precisely, until after quilting.

I used some black and white Ikea text fabric for the backing, along with some extra strips of cute animal prints to add enough width to the backing.

I rolled it onto my quilting frame and decided on little loops. Lot’s of lovely little loops.


And to make it a little more interesting, I quilted words in among the loops. I added all of our names. I also included words like Love, Laugh, Dream, Inspire, Hope, Create… and few others, which I can’t remember. I’ll have to go and search for them along with the rest of the family.

If you look in the red and white spot fabric above, the word “Love” is quilted in.

The quilt was squared off once quilted and bound in a black with tiny white spot fabric.

Scrapalicious - laying flat

The best part of making the quilt was coming down stairs in the morning, to find my kidlets snuggled under it, watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Scrapalicious in Action

And essentially, that is why we make quilts… to warm our loved ones. Playing with pretty fabrics is just a perk, right?

Have you made an improv quilt before?

What are your thoughts on improv piecing and quilts, versus the traditional method?

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  1. Gorgeous work Anorina!! You have a really knack for mixing colours and patterns. You should freestyle it more often...great way to use up those scraps.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I'm so pleased with the result... and the fact that it's big enough that we all snuggle under it together.

  2. That looks so good! Thanks for sharing your "method" (can you call it that, when it's freestyle?). I'm working on a crazy patchwork quilt made out of my husband's shirts...and hating it. It is HARD to do! But it's what he wanted.

    1. Yes, freestyle is hard isn't it? I look forward to seeing your husbands shirt quilt. What a fantastic idea!!

  3. That is a great quilt! I love the colors. Excellent for your first improv - you should do gets easier as you let yourself go and just sew!

    1. Thank you! I'm inspired to try another scrappy improv quilt. I might just go with a traditional pieced block for the next one though :)

  4. Beautiful quilt! Now I'm braver at using my scraps. :)

    1. Thank you. Yes, go for it. They're scraps so it's easier to do. Not sure how I'd go with cutting up big pieces of favourite fabrics for this technique.

  5. Love it! I enjoy improv as well as traditional methods of piecing a top. They are both so satisfying (particularly when you end up with a moment like the last photo in your post!).

    1. Thanks Jeneta. Yes, seeing our work appreciated, makes the effort all worthwhile.

  6. I love your quilt. The fabrics are beautiful. Thanks for the little tute. I can't wait to give it a try. Love the last picture too! Adorable!

    1. Thank you! Yes please have a go. I'd love to see what you come up with x

  7. It`s absolutely beautiful.Dessign,fabrics,quilting.Great job!!

  8. Beautiful! Now I am inspired to make one. Great Job!

  9. Absolutely awesome! I love the colors, the scrappiliciousness and the cozy-comfortness of this quilt. Thank you for taking the time to photo and document your creation. I truly appreciate the inspiration!!!
    Christina in Cleveland

  10. This is truly a beautiful quilt. You have an astonishing eye for art and placement. Thank you so much for sharing. This is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have seen in quite awhile. So much thought and love have gone into this quilt and it shows. You are an inspiration to all of us!

  11. I adore this quilt! My favorite one as I am not a quilter. I have done a cou0le of table runners but not a real full sized quilt, I want to make one but the exact precision in most quilt patterns intimidate me. I am a good seamstress but for some reason am scared of quilts. I love that this one uses all your favorite fabrics and uses up all those scraps! Making more room for new fabric! I love that there is no measuring and matching points and eams. I want to make one! How big of a quilt will fit under a regular sewing machine for quilting? I just need a guide line for when to stop?! LOL!
    Thank you for sharing!

  12. Hi your quilt is lovely and I bet the children love it. It's so full of colour. I have just made myself 6 x 2foot squares to cover my dining chairs. Why don't you take a look.


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