This is a fun scrappy quilt block designed to showcase your most treasured bits of scrap fabric.
Have you ever had some oddly shaped scraps left of an expensive or sentimental fabric and you just can’t bear to throw them out? This is the block for these.
The block is called Framed Scraps and we are essentially going to sew a ‘frame’ around our scraps and hang them on a figurative blank wall (our background fabric) as if they were pictures!
The instructions and video tutorial below will help you make a block of any finished size you wish to complement your favorite scraps.
Table of Contents
- Framed Scraps Block Supply List
- How to make a Framed Scraps Quilt Block
- Video Tutorial for Framed Scraps Quilt Blocks
- My Finished Framed Scraps Quilt Blocks
- Top Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Printable Cheat Sheet
- More Fun Scrap Fabric Blocks
Framed Scraps Block Supply List
- scraps of any size and shape with straight edges.
- Black fabric strips of any length but at least 3/4” wide (wider is fine as we will trim down as needed as we sew)
- Large scraps of background fabric – I used white.
- Clear ruler with a visible 1/2” measuring mark.
- Squaring rulers to the desired finished size of block (optional)
How to make a Framed Scraps Quilt Block
Written steps as well as a printable cheat sheet are below the video tutorial version. Because we all learn differently!
Video Tutorial for Framed Scraps Quilt Blocks
Step 1: Choosing your Fabric Scraps
To start you just need to collect a range of scraps to showcase in your blocks.
These can be any size. The only real requirements are:
- You feel comfortable sewing a seam around all sides (different folk will have different sizes they are comfortable with and that is fine)
- It has straight edges (any shape including wonky is fine as long as it already has or you can trim it to have straight edges on all sides – whether that is a triangle with 3 sides or some more complicated shape with 5 or 6).
You don’t need to trim these to a set size. The idea is to showcase the scraps as they are.
If you want a more cohesive quilt you could consider making blocks in a limited-color family but for mine, I just grabbed whatever crumbs and other scraps were to hand.
Step 2: Sewing your Frame
Sew a black strip that is at least 3/4″ wide to any straight edge side of your scrap (wider is fine as we will trim it down after).
Your strip needs to be at least as long as the side of the scrap you are sewing it to but it can be longer as you may want to chain piece or simply trim it down after joining.
Sew right sides to right sides using a quarter-inch seam allowance
Press and trim this black strip so that it is 1/2” wide starting from the seam line you just sewed. (See the Video above if it isn’t clear where to measure from).
Trim the remaining sides of your scrap to remove any excess black strip.
Continue adding black strips and trimming to size all the way around your scrap. This will make your ‘frame’.
There are additional tips in the video tutorial for working with triangles and odd shapes.
It can have 3 sides (triangle) , 4 sides (square or rectangle) or more depending on the shape of your scrap.
Step 3: Adding your Background Fabric
Once your black frame is all trimmed start adding white scraps (or your chosen background fabric) to one side of your block.
Press and trim to follow any straight line in your block and then repeat on another side until you have surrounded your frame with background fabric.
This is an improv style of quilt block piecing at this point. If you are unsure how to do this without measuring your pieces first watch the video tutorial above where I show you how I go through this process.
As you sew, test your block against your desired block size use of a squaring ruler and decide if you need to continue adding background fabric.
Once your block is big enough trim to the size you would like your block to be and use the trimmings for your next block.
My Finished Framed Scraps Quilt Blocks
- Use a white frame and a black background (or other color)
- Use only one size of scrap or only one color of scrap for a more ordered-looking quilt.
- Keep the frames going and make a framed frames quilt block. I have another fun quilt block tutorial about this variation.
- Chain piecing in batches makes these blocks come together more quickly. I keep my cutting mat to my left and my ironing mat to my right as I sew so I can keep my flow going!
- There is lots of freedom to choose your final block size with this quilt block but if you want to make life easier for yourself when it comes to joining them consider making your blocks all the same size or making groups of blocks that can easily fit together, for example – 5″ blocks and 9.5″ blocks. Two 5″ blocks when sewn together can easily be added to a larger 9.5″ block.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. It’s similar though. By adding the black frame but what we are doing with this quilt block is highlighting one scrap almost as if it were a framed picture on a white wall.
Stained Glass Quilts usually have more of this thin black ‘sashing’ (which can be different widths) to break up larger areas of color.
This block is meant to be a creative improv one and I would encourage you to think outside the box for an overall quilt layout too.
I am currently playing with the idea of doing half white background blocks with black frames and half black background blocks with white frames. When my quilt is finished I will post a link to the final quilt here.
Also see the top tips section above about planning your block sizes ahead of time to make life easier for yourself (although I don’t always follow my own advice on this!)
Printable Cheat Sheet
- Special Fabric Scraps (any size)
- Black fabric strips (min 3/4" wide) - any length
- White background fabric (larger scraps or stash)
- Clear quilting ruler with 1/2" marking
- Squaring Rulers (optional)
- Pick some pretty fabric scraps in random shapes and sizes that have straight edges.
- Sew a black strip to each side of your 'focus' scrap, trimming as you go so that each side of your frame is 1/2". from your seam line.
- Once frames are complete add white background fabric in an improv style (see video).
- Use your squaring rulers to test if your block is big enough for what you want.
- Trim block to size.
- Repeat for as many block as desired.
More Fun Scrap Fabric Blocks
- 19+ Free Quilt Block Patterns for Fabric Scraps
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- Scrappy Hexagon Quilt Block – No Measuring!
- Big Scraps Quilt Block (Beginner Friendly Big Quilt Block)
- Easy Big Star Quilt Block – 20.5″ Block!
- Foundation Paper Piecing Patterns FREE – Scrap Burst Quilt Block
- Easy Quilt Block Pattern for 2.5″ Strips
- Fun Christmas Tree Quilt Block – For Crumbs & Scraps!
- One Color Crumb Quilt Block Tutorial
- Scrappy Improv Quilt Squares
- Improv Braided Quilt Block – Use your Scraps!
- How to Sew Scraps to Adding Machine Tape – Fabric from Scraps Part 3
- X Marks the Scrap | Free Quilt Pattern for Scraps!
- Free Heart Pattern – Beginner Friendly Foundation Paper Piecing