The Bag of Fabric Scraps That Became a Quilt

The Inspiration

It all started with a gift I received for my last birthday. I was presented with a beautiful duvet cover, sheets and pillow cases from Bed.

Now some people may think that bedding is too practical to give as a gift but I have been obsessing about the fabric of their products for about 6 months, and the gift-giver knew that.

Bed’s fabric is 100% cotton. They use a clothing weave called muslin which yields a cotton that is thick and textured. The no-fuss nature of this bedding is the most appealing; it truly gets better looking and feeling with each wash.

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So, I got to thinking — maybe I could buy a couple of flat sheets or duvet covers to make a quilt from my favourite fabric? I went to the store to price it out.

Conclusion: At around $100 for a duvet cover and $60 for a flat sheet or fitted sheet, it didn’t make sense to deconstruct this perfectly good bedding to appease my desire to sew with my favourite fabric. Plus, this was just a hobby (but soon, a side-hustle).

What did make sense? Using this bedding for what it was intended for. Bed’s price point is higher than sheets/duvets you get at say, Costco, because their products are locally handmade and fabrics are hand dyed in small lots. By buying products made locally you’re creating jobs for your community. I am such a fan! #supportlocal

…but I had an idea.

What if they had scraps of fabric left over that they were just going to throw out? Maybe I could use these to piece together a quilt. So I asked.

And they did!

Preparing the Fabric

About 90% of the scraps were raw, unbleached cotton. I actually really liked the fabric in its natural state so I knew I would choose to leave the majority of it untouched.

But somewhere in the middle of the bag, I pulled out a substantial amount of this beautiful vermilion coloured fabric. What luck! I had every intention of doing a very simple, modern quilt and now I had two colours to work with.

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I pre-washed, dried and ironed the scraps and then cut out 6 inch squares. The scraps were all different sizes so I tried to use every last bit and also cut out squares in 5, 4 and 2 inch sizes for a future project.

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Pattern Style

I decided to go with a chevron pattern.

Working with this fabric, there wasn’t a right or wrong side so there also wasn’t much thinking involved in constructing my quilt top.

I chalked a diagonal line from one of the vermilion squares’ corner to the other. I then grabbed a natural coloured square of the fabric and matched it up. No pinning needed as the fabric pieces naturally adhered to themselves. Next, I sewed a 1/4 inch seam on either side of the chalked line. Cut down the center between the two seams and voila!, two half-squares done.

Then, I rinsed and repeated…a lot!

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Piecing it Together

I loved sewing the pieces together to see the chevron pattern starting to emerge.

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As I continued sewing I realized two things though:

1) The pattern was going to be asymmetrical as I didn’t want to waste any of the batting I bought (which was too large) and needed to add an extra row of half-squares to one side of the quilt
2) I didn’t have enough of the vermilion colour to make enough half-squares for the quilt batting size

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Chevron pattern on chevron! Wat the wat?!

Quilt Inprov

To make up the remainder of the half-squares I needed, I ended up dying some of the natural coloured fabric with Tulip dye purchased at De Serres.

I went with turquoise. It kind of reminds me of those frozen treats I used to have as a kid. I will call this quilt ‘The Firecracker’.

I liked the contrast of the colours and kept in theme with the modern vibe I was going for.

The back of the quilt was just a couple of handfuls of the natural fabric scraps sewn together to make one large piece. Ideally you want to have one large piece without seams for the back of your quilt but it was already breaking a lot of rules and I had a goal to use ONLY scraps I received from Bed.

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Final Bits

I then sandwiched my quilt top, batting and backing together with a basting stitch and it was ready for the machine!

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I just stitched in the ditch so the back of the quilt had the subtle chevron pattern as well. 

And the final touch was using some of the natural fabric left over for the binding. Once I machine-sewed one side of the binding to the top of the quilt, I secured the other side by hand stitching.

Final product:

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I loved the way it turned out. It’s gone through the washing machine once and it came out so crinkly and soft.

What do you think?

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