Gathering up the Fragments, Part 3…the end

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Yes, Part 3 of gathering up our fragments. For now, I think I’ve done all I can do with odds and ends of scraps. It isn’t that I don’t have more scraps, because really, scraps beget scraps, don’t they? I hope that I’ve given you all plenty to think about when using up your leftovers, though. If you missed the first two techniques, go back and read Part 1 and Part 2. Go ahead. I’ll wait right here. Just be sure to come back so you can check out my favorite part!

This last part of my “gathering up the fragments” tutorials is one of my absolutely favorite things to do in the whole world: Make fabric by piecing. I first learned this technique years ago and have talked about it before. Today, I use it for what I call “therapy sewing.” You know those days when you just need to sew but don’t have any particular project in mind, or can’t fit in enough time to work on something substantial? This fits the bill. You can do it in five minutes, or spend all day doing it.

When I first learned how to make fabric, I thought it was some cool new idea. And then I started really looking at my antique and vintage quilts. It is so not anything new. Whether for thrift or simple necessity, or just for grins, lots of the people who made quilts before us pieced pieces of their quilts.

All three of these techniques, for me, fill that need to create some magic, to make something that I have no idea how it will turn out. For example, I have made lots of quilts using this method. You may have seen the quilts below before, but each one uses this technique.

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So, how do you do this? Simple. Start with a pile of scraps, same color range or different, it’s up to you. The pile I started with was all red scraps. Find two that are more or less the same length and sew them together. They do not need to be the same shape or length. I like to chain piece a bunch of pairs before I get up to press and trim them. When you’re ready, press, pushing the seam to the side that appears to be shorter (makes trimming easier), then lay them out on your cutting mat.

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Trim wherever there is a piece hanging off. Don’t worry about making your piece triangular or square, just make a new straight edge. This will be the edge you add the next piece to. You may need to turn the new shapes different ways until you find what will make the longest straight seam.

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You will then sew, press, trim, and repeat. Just keep going until you have one big piece. It is okay to piece lots of smaller pieces and join them together. If you need to, use longer pieces to help join the smaller ones. It is like one big puzzle of your own making. Just sew, press, trim, repeat. Over and over!

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See? This was as big as I felt I needed, so I stopped. You can keep going as long as you like!
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I trimmed my edges roughly since I was planning to cut a shape out of it.

That’s all there is to it. Easy-peasy and SO much fun!

I’ll be back at 10:30 this morning to show you what I’ve made just using scraps and Parts 1, 2, and 3 of Gathering Up the Fragments. Watch for previews on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Be sure to stop back by!

p.s. If you know my friend, Jeanne, of The 70273 Project fame, please wish her a happy birthday. It’s also the one-year anniversary of her having that brilliant flash of insight that set us all on the road with making red x’s to remember.