Monday, April 20, 2015

Kate's First Tutorial - A Scrappy Strip Pieced Cushion Cover

Good afternoon!

On Saturday I showed my local modern quilting group (South Florida Modern Quilters) a few examples of fun things you can do with strip piecing, and I wanted to share my tutorial for this purple cushion cover online. This is a great project (with any color fabric) to use up your string/strips/leftover binding scraps.

To make this cushion cover I first went through all of my strip scraps (I organize my scraps by strips/leftover binding, and everything else) and I pulled out all of the purple strips. I also took a few of my purple fabrics and cut strips that were between 1" and 2.5" (by any length). Some of the fabrics were more purple than others, and I used a mix of solids and prints.

Some of the fabrics were as long as WOF, but most were much shorter. I started by sorting my strips into two groups--the "long strips" cut from fat quarters (around 20" long) and the "short strips" that were leftovers, or cut from scraps, most were around 10" long. I took all of my strips that were similar in length and started sewing them together, side by side, to make a panel.

Any strips that were too long for the group, were trimmed after being attached to the existing strips. I was able to use the scraps with the other short strips, so eventually everything got used up (this is an example from another project, but same idea).

After sewing all of the strips together, I ended up with a couple of larger squares, a long with some smaller strip sets (made from the shorter strips/scraps).

Because this is improv piecing, the width/length don't really matter. I had 4 different strip sets, you may have more, or you may have fewer. My largest sets were about 18" by 20", I had two others which were made up of scraps, so ended up being between 8" and 18" long. Because you're working with scraps, it's hard to predict how large your strip sets will be, and you may end up with leftovers. Luckily, you can work the leftovers into your project. If you don't have enough, it's easy to add extra strips to make your top to the size you want.

Once I finished sewing my strips together, I pressed all of them to the side. I trimmed the edge of each panel (so I had a clean edge to work from ), and began cutting 1.5" strips. I ended up with about 30 strips, all with a width of 1.5", but with various lengths.

Because all of your strips are the same width, you can sew them end to end. You don't have to sew them all end to end, but you should sew them all in pairs, or larger groups, depending on the finished size you're gong for (this will help you mix up the strips a bit, and have a more random scrappy cushion cover). This cushion cover is 20" by 20", so I made sure that all of the strips I made were at least 20" long. Most were much longer.

Then, I started laying them out on my cutting board. I trimmed them all to a length between 21" and 22" (instead of trimming, you can also use your seam ripper to pull out the short seams). Because I'd sewn most of the strips end-to-end, I didn't end up with any identical strips.

As I was trimming the strips down to size (21" long), I started lining them up next to each other. As you can see from my photo, I ended up with very scrappy strips, so I didn't have to do too much rearranging (I also didn't really need to line them up ahead of time). I needed to make a cushion cover for a 20" by 20"cushion, so I continued with this process until I had 22 strips. Because the strips are 1.5" wide, they'll finish at 1". I added a few extra to account for shrinkage when quilting.

After I had all of the strips cut and lined up, I started strip piecing to sew them together. To make things easy, I just kept all of my strips in a pile next to the machine. I started by sewing them in pairs, then groups of 4, and so on. At this stage, I also started pressing the seams between strips open (this kept the final panel from stretching too much). My "top" was around 22" by 22" and I quilted with lines about 1/4" apart.

Once I finished quilting, I trimmed the panel down to 21" by 21" and added an envelope backing, made from scraps from the front of my cushion.

Ta-da!!! A finished cushion cover. This is a really fun project to do in any colorway. You could also do different color schemes, depending on what you have available (it would also be easy to do a rainbow themed cushion, you'd just need to line the strips up). I am really trying to use up some of my unloved fabric, and cutting it up into strips helps you focus on the color more than the print. I would definitely use this technique again with another color group, to use up some of my other scraps.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial, and if you have any questions, please let me know!

Linking with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Late Night Quilter


  1. Excellent tutorial and fun cushion!

  2. Great tutorial! I really like how small you cut the strips apart so that it really turned into a delightful color and confetti look.

  3. What a darling pillow. I need to try it sometime.

  4. This is well done Kate. Very inspiring.
    I am going to print this one, I have a mountain of unloved fabrics that just need attention

  5. Amazing tutorial! Can't believe it's your first!

    1. Thanks Allison! I'm glad it turned out well, it was good to have a practice, "live" tutorial on Saturday :)

  6. Great idea for left over binding strips! Nicely written!

  7. Kate's First Tutorial--But It Won't Be Her Last! is a good name, too, haha! Looking again re the July BOM :)