3 strategies for a scrappy binding!

Most quilters I know have scrap collections. Since we tend to acquire fabric that we love and cherish, it can be difficult to throw out our leftover scraps. A great way to use up our leftovers and a fun scrap-busting project is making scrappy bindings!
Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!


1. Use the scraps you have left over from the quilt you’re making for the binding.

If the fabric is used in your quilt top, consider using it for your binding. You want scraps that are at least the width of the binding you’re making and at least 2½” long. Keep in mind, the longer your scraps, the fewer scraps you’ll need (and the less time it will take to piece your binding).
Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!
Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!

Years ago, I made a version of my Shutter Snap using Chroma by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. After making the quilt, I had lots of small scraps measuring approximately 3″ wide and 2½” to 10″ long that I couldn’t bear to throw away. I decided to piece the scraps together to make a binding. As an added detail, I arranged the colors in the binding strips so that they would be near where those colors appear in the quilt blocks.
Shutter Snap is a fun quilt that is easy to customize. The design incorporates the repeat of a foundation paper-pieced block. Use my color selections as inspiration or customize the pattern using the supplied coloring sheet. This quilt makes the perfect gift for a photography enthusiast. Instructions are provided for four sizes: Wall, Throw, Twin and Queen.
Shutter Snap quilt (pattern here)

2. Take inspiration from the general color scheme of your quilt.

Is there a prominent color or color spectrum in your quilt? If so, pull those colors out from your scrap stash. Place them on the perimeter of your quilt and see how they look with the overall design. Take photos of the arrangements that you’re auditioning and then try different options and arrangements with some of the same scraps. You can then go back through the photos and decide which options you like best.
Go Fish! This is a fun, modern pattern that is comprised mostly of half square triangles. This tested pattern contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece. Works well with prints, solids or a combination of both!
Little Fishies quilt (pattern here)

For example, if I wanted a scrappy binding on my Little Fishies quilt (above), I might begin pulling blues from my stash. If I select prints for my binding, I typically like to use small or medium scale prints, like these:
Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!

I also might look at other colors in the quilt. Here I did a quick color study to see what the binding might look like if I added in swatches of orange fabric from my stash to pick up on the colors and prints I used for the fish.
Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!

Experiment! If you have a quilt with lots of colors and contrast in your quilt top, large-scale prints may work well with your overall quilt design.

3. Use leftover binding from previous quilts

Hang on to those binding scraps from quilts — they’re pre-cut and pressed and perfect to use for a scrappy binding! I like to store all of my extra binding in its own container. When I’m in the mood to make a scrappy binding, I can just pull pieces and join them.
Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!



Joining the scraps

There are two options for sewing your scraps together — this depends on the size of the scraps:

• If you have strips that measure at least 6″ long, you can join them on the diagonal.
• If your pieces are smaller than 6″ long, you’ll want to join them end to end, as you won’t have enough fabric to join on the diagonal.

One advantage to joining on a diagonal is that the seams are typically less bulky. Since you’re wrapping the binding around the quilt, the seam is distributed along the perimeter. Typically, binding pieced on the diagonal is also more sturdy. However, I do find if I use a short stitch length (2.0) and a neutral or matching thread, there aren’t any issues joining fabric end to end.

If you decide to join your scraps on the diagonal, think about changing up the direction of the diagonal or having some fabrics not on a diagonal. When your binding is all the same color or print, you typically want the seam to be less noticeable. With a scrappy binding, celebrate the differences and consider switching it up!

Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding! Ideas for how to make a modern, rainbow, scrappy quilt binding!

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  1. If you don’t want all those seams on the binding, you can make a flange of pieced strips instead. The flange is made the same way as you’ve shown, but narrower, like 1 – 1.5″ wide. Fold it in half, press and then line up the raw edges on both the quilt and the flange strip and sew on with a scant 1/4″ seam or just less than what your binding seam allowance will be. I sew the flanges on the sides first. I’ll sew on the top and bottom next. Overlap the strips at the corners. Sew on your binding and finish as usual. I prefer this method, because there aren’t seams at the corners to deal with when you turn the corner with the binding. You still get that pop of color at the outer edges.

    1. I’d love to see your quilt to see the results. I love to use flanges but never made it with scraps.

  2. I have been making my own quilt binding for years. I never seem to have enough of pre packaged stuff on hand and decided the price was “right”, use the scraps. I cut them in strips according to how wide I want the binding and stitch them together no matter the length. I sew them on the diagonal as bias is sewn even tho the fabric is not on the bias. Not needed on a straight quilt. People who saw that binding were amazed at how pretty it looks. I am happy to see this mentioned because making quilts for charity can be pretty pricey and this is a good way to say money plus use the the scraps. And I make the jelly roll quilts from my scraps as well. Same method as the quilt binding.

  3. Some nice hints for selecting scraps, I never seem to have a big enough assortment that looks right with the quilt I am working on. Also, I never even knew that you could buy quilt binding premade. It’s so easy to make, can’t imagine buying it.

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