N00b Monday: Patchwork for Beginners

I’m pleased to announce the return of n00b Monday here at Stuff Peasie Made. Now that I’m all settled into a place at which I fully intend to stay a long time, things have gotten a lot less crazy and there’ll be time for me to do such things. Keep an eye out for Project Friday’s return as well!
Today I’ll be showing you a quick and easy (well, quicker and easier) way to sew patchwork fabric out of leftover scraps. This is also a wonderful way to use up all those leftover bobbins and spools of thread you had no idea when you were going to use.

You’ll need:

  • Any and all leftover fabric you want to use. Mixed content is OK; I’m using both cotton and linen for this project. Make sure there’s enough of it to cut pieces 4.5″ wide.
  • Scissors or Rotary cutter with mat
  • Leftover thread, both bobbins and spools
  • At least one spool of thread in a color that actually goes with what you’re making
  • Optional: Pinking shears

Lay your scrap piece of fabric flat on the floor. Cut strips from the fabric that are about 4.5″ inches in width.

You don’t have to measure the width of the strips. The photo above was “eyeballed” and estimated. However, you’ll have neater results if you do measure. You might want to use a CD case as a gauge.

Strips need not be identical in length. Straighten ends of strips so that they’re all rectangular.

Repeat first two steps with remaining scraps. Discard scraps that are too small to use.

You may choose to use some type of pattern when pinning strips together. For the photo, I tried to keep it pretty random. It’s up to you, really.

Pin strips together and sew using leftover thread. To make sure that all the same sides are stitched (I know I messed up and got the wrong side more than once!) remember: right sides together. This is especially important if you’re using printed fabric. To ensure evenness, use a consistent seam allowance (I went with 3/8″).

Repeat until you have groups of 4 strips sewn together.

Now, you’re going to cut the sewn-together fabric horizontally (perpendicular to the seams you just made). Again, you may wish to use the CD case for your size gauge.

This next step depends on how wide you want your fabric to be. If you’re just making a throw pillow, it may be that four squares wide is plenty. If you’re making a small blanket or curtains, you may wish to make it 20 or so squares wide. If you’re making a garment, you may want as many as 32 squares wide or wider.

Pin edges of new strips together and sew together to make a longer strip of rectangles. Continue until you reach desired width. Stick to your pattern, if you have one, or simply disregard pattern and grab strips to attach at random. When your new strip is the width you want, set it aside and repeat step with remaining strips of sewn-together rectangles.

Optional step: With pinking shears, pink raw edges between rectangles. This will keep the edge from unraveling and also reduce the overall weight of the finished fabric (especially useful for curtains or garments).

Once you have sufficient new strips in your desired width, pin the top of one strip to the bottom of another, and sew. Repeat with remaining strips until desired length is reached.

Optional step: With pinking shears, pink raw edges between strips of squares. This serves the same purpose as doing so previously.


Once you’ve finished (which takes more time and more thread than you may have previously thought!) you may choose to line your fabric (for curtains), use lining and batting (for a blanket), or cut out pieces with lining and possibly interfacing (for garments). If you’re using it to make a throw pillow, no lining is necessary since the back won’t be visible anyway. This part is where you’ll be wanting that thread that actually goes with your work.


Is there something you want to learn about on N00b Monday? Post your questions and I’ll do the best I can to answer them. If I can’t, I’ll try and find someone who can. So long for now!



Filed under easy projects, n00b Monday, patchwork, sewing

3 responses to “N00b Monday: Patchwork for Beginners

  1. Wow, I think Noob Monday is such a great idea! I’m so happy to have found your site! I’d love to see a Noob Monday about crocheting from a graph (pictures and the like). I’m working on learning new crochet techniques as I’m making Christmas gifts this year, and I’m trying to figure out how to do this.

  2. Excellent idea!

    Sorry to take a million years to reply to this. N00b Monday isn’t as frequent as it used to be, but I’ll do what I can. I’ll get more settled in as winter approaches I’m thinking.

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