The Patchwork Diaries

We go on a patchwork adventure with our new columnist Aine Foley of Lismore Quilt Co.

There is a touch of spring in the air. The crocuses are out and the daffodils are ready to bloom… time to do some spring cleaning in the sewing room (much nicer than the presses!). This is a great technique to clear out your scrap basket and it’s easy too – what’s not to like!

For this scrappy quilt you will need

  • Some foundation material that you will sew your strips onto. This can be calico, an old cotton sheet or old pillow cases
  • Lots of strips of fabric of varying widths
Step 1
Step 2

Step 1: Cut the foundation fabric into squares. These can be any size you like. I cut mine as a 10” square (big squares means bigger quilts with fewer blocks to sew).

Step 2: Place a strip of fabric right side up through the diagonal of the foundation square. This strip of fabric can be any width you like, but must be long enough to cover the diagonal measurement of the square.

Step 3
Step 4

Steps 3 and 4: Place a second strip, again any width, on top of the first one, right sides together (RST) and sew down the length of both strips. You will be sewing through all three layers (2 x fabric strips plus foundation).

Step 5
Step 6
Step 7

Step 5: Flip the strip you have just sewn over so that it is face up and run your finger along the seam towards the sewn strip. This is called finger pressing.

Step 6: Place another strip RST on top of the sewn strip and sew, flip over and finger press.

Step 7: Continue in this way, on both sides of the centre strip until you have covered the foundation square.

Step 8: You can press the square with a dry iron at this stage. Turn your square over and trim the fabric ends, square with the foundation square.

Step 8
Back of finished block
Front of finished block

There you have your completed block!

Blocks sewn together
Strips are stable once sewn to the backing fabric

You can place the same fabric through the centre of the block so that when you put four together, you get a diamond shape.

This is a great technique for using up stretchy or unusual fabrics as once they have been sewn onto the foundation square, they are very stable. The same is true if you want to use strips that have been cut on the bias.

Finished scrappy quilt

When you have your blocks finished and trimmed to size, they can just be sewn together in rows to make your quilt top.

Traditionally, not much more would be done with the blocks except to finish the edges with some binding. Seldom would wadding be used. In the example shown (courtesy of Marie Gilly), some fleece was put on the back of the blocks and then machine quilted through both layers before putting the binding on.

I hope you enjoyed making this super quick and easy scrappy quilt.

Finished quilt with added fleece and binding


Aine Foley has been quilting for more than 20 years. She has completed the City and Guilds Certificate in Patchwork and Design, and in 2013 she established the Lismore Quilt Co. She runs a range of quilting and patchwork classes for all levels from her purpose-built studio, where you will also find everything you need – fabrics, wadding and notions – to complete your quilts. She has a particular interest in quilt history and finds her inspiration in antique quilts.