Tutorial for using Scraps to make a simple Quilt

Scraps. Leftovers. Unused. Such sad words. One challenge of quilting is what to do with all of these!

I posted not too long ago about several Charities where you could donate quilts. Today I’d like to share one simple way I make those quilts, and use up extra fabric from completed projects at the same time!

Whenever I’m finished with a project, I cut the scraps into strips, starting with 1 1/2″ and up to 4″ widths in 1/2″ increments. It doesn’t matter what the length of the scraps are. I separate the scraps into 3 different color categories: brights, darks (muddies), and pastel/softs.

I work with one color category at a time, and sort the strips by width into 6 drawers, one for each 1/2″ width of strips. While I’m piecing, when I get to the end of a string of pieces, I sew 2 strips together width-wise through the machine. Some people use one small piece of fabric for this, I just use it as a chance to work on a charity project at the same time. (This is also a good way to reduce the number of loose threads on a quilt.)

Free Quilt tutorial

My drawer storage, and a set of strips at the machine.

I just keep doing this until all the strips are sewn together into one long strip. (I usually get impatient and end up sewing them together in a single sitting.) Then I press all the seams and cut the long strip into strips that are approx. 45″ long. I do this for all the widths, then I’m ready to assemble a quilt! I put all the strips of a color category in a basket to use them randomly.

Free Quilt Tutorial

Basket full of bright strips to use for charity quilts.

I use spray adhesive to a secure batting to the wrong side of a piece of backing fabric approx. 72″ long x WOF. (Width of Fabric=42″ +-) Then, starting in the center of the back length, with the batting side up, I sew two 45″ strips to the batting/back, right sides together. The next strip goes on wrong side up, and I continue to assemble that half of the quilt. Then I start on the other half in the middle and assemble the other half. This method quilts the quilt at the same time I assemble it. Apply a simple machine binding and, voila! A great, nearly free, and donatable quilt. (I also use left-over binding from previous projects.)┬áHere is the finished product, and showing the quilting on the back.

Free quilt tutorial

Front and back of finished quilt.

BTW: I first got this idea years ago from a lady named Bonnie Miles. I’ve used it for probably 12-15 years now!

So use all those leftovers, scraps and unused fabrics to make them happy!


  1. pj stitches! (aka Paulette J) May 13, 2014
  2. Deb May 13, 2014
  3. Annmarie May 13, 2014
  4. TK May 15, 2014
  5. Pat V. March 16, 2016
  6. Barbara Bennett January 26, 2021
  7. Cheryl February 4, 2021

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