Conquering Quilty Fears - Improvisation

For the 'Conquering Quilty Fears' January challenge, I thought I'd start with a style that I'm not very comfortable with... Improvisation in quilting. 

Gosh, I find this style quite difficult. I'm a person who tends to prefer order (structure) and set guidelines or a pattern to follow, so improvisation has always been tricky for me.

Improvisation can be defined as: the activity of making or doing something, that you have not planned, with whatever you can find.

In patchwork and quilting, I personally think that this term can be defined as 'starting a project without knowing what the completed project will look like.' 

I think one of the simplest ways to try our hand at improv without the fear of 'wasting' good or treasured fabric is to use what we have in our scrap tubs. 

Let's begin with a simple improvisational project like a placemat, pillow or pot holder. 

I'm going to make a pillow for my sewing chair. I will start with a  piece of fabric and build around it, choosing and then sewing strips around the central piece until I'm happy with the size. I'm aiming for 18" square, but I'll see how it goes.

If I don't have strips which are long enough, I'll sew two or three together to make it work. Improvising as I go without a clear idea of what the design will look like at the end - that's the idea, right? Want to join me? 

It should be a bit of fun playing with scrap fabrics and conquering some (possible) quilty fears.



  1. I shall enjoy watching what you create. I love sewing together bits of scrappy fabrics :)

  2. I might try this improv idea out..... I do have scraps... just a few...

  3. This is a great idea, it is always fun to create and mix.
    I have a stash of fabric I need to do something with, your idea had given me an idea.


  4. Every once in awhile, I get the urge to do some improv. I get just so far, then I get discouraged. But if I keep it up, I’ll eventually have a finished piece of substantial size.

  5. Love doing improv, but afraid of free motion quilting

  6. I've done that before, making an improv quilt by letting the size of the scrap decide where it will land in the quilt. I really liked the result. You are off to a great start! I look forward to seeing your progress.


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