Scrap Bag Challenge
Simply Quilts challenges three talented quilt designers to make a quilt using 103 five-inch squares of fabric from the scrap bag!
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Tom Russell's Scrap Bag Bouquet
Instructions provided courtesy of designer Tom Russell.
Materials and Tools:
103, 5" squares
lightweight fusible web
black embroidery floss
assorted black beads and buttons
1. Create the background using 36 dark and medium-dark five-inch squares. Arrange them in a pleasing manner of six across and six down. Do not include black in this group of colors.
2. Sew the 16 blocks in the center of the panel together to create a unit that is four blocks across and four blocks down. Set this unit aside.
3. Cut four, five-inch squares into one-inch strips. Join four of these one-inch units end to end. If using different fabrics, alternate the patterns. Create four of these units. After units are joined together, fold in half and press to create a 1/2-inch wide strip that will be attached to the center unit as a flange (before the outer border is applied).
4. Place the raw-edge of the flange to raw-edge of center unit and sew 1/8 inch from the outside edge of flange to secure it to panel. Sew flange in this order: top, bottom, left and right. Panel center is now complete.
5. Join remaining blocks into strips. Attach strips to center unit using 1/4-inch seam allowance.
1. To create the flowers, use a compass, or dishes/glassware (or anything round to trace) to make circle templates. For the quilt seen here, you will need the following sizes:
- 1 1/4''
- 1 1/2''
- 7 1/4''
- 10 1/2''
2. Group the remaining fabric squares by color, sorting reds, yellows, blues, purples, pinks, etc. To create large scrappy flowers, cut seven squares from the same color group into 3/4-, one-, 1-1/2-, and two-inch width strips. After cutting, rejoin strips to create a string-pieced unit that measures roughly 12 inches square. To create the other larger string flowers, join four fabrics in the same color family into units and set aside for bases for the larger flower rings. If you want to create a more string-pieced look, cut the fabrics up in random sizes, and join them together again until you create units that are roughly eight inches square. This is an improvisational style of appliqué quilt, so you make as many flowers as you’d like. Keep in mind as you are making the larger flower units that you will be working toward creating a flower, so think about color placement as you go along. Once you have the larger units together, it is time to start making flowers.
3. On a piece of lightweight fusible draw a series of circles in a variety of sizes. Theses circles will become the rings of the flowers. Following the diagram for reference, place the ring templates on the paper side of the fusible going from largest to smallest then draw three or four circles on the fusible in descending size based on the outside circle. To give the flowers more energy, and to make them look like they are turning in different directions, don’t center the smaller circles. Once you are pleased with the circle arrangement fuse the webbing to the backside of the appropriate fabric unit.
5. Once all flower units have been made and cut apart, reassemble by mixing and matching the cut units into new flower units.
6. From all remaining fabric squares, apply fusible and cut circles ranging in size from two inches to one inch using all the leftover fabrics, except for the greens. Save the green fabrics for the leaves.
1. Join all bright green fabrics together in a strip in random order. Using the diagram as a guide, draw a large leaf pattern onto the paper side of fusible webbing several times. Cut out webbing leaves, leaving a small amount of paper around each leaf to trim to size later. Place the points of the leaves on the center seam between the joined blocks and press.
2. Cut leaves out on the drawn line rendering a center-seamed, two-sided leaf. Join the remaining fabric again and repeat the process to make more large and small leaves as desired.
Completing the Quilt
1. Arrange all the flowers and leaves into a scrappy bouquet on the pieced background then fuse into position. Using a buttonhole stitch, sew down all the appliqué elements of the wall hanging.
2. After all appliqué is complete, quilt as desired.
3. Once quilted and bound, embellish with beads and buttons for more dimension and sparkle.
Learn how to make quilted wall hangings with these step-by-step instructions