After making a quilt top, it’s not unusual to be left with a ton of tiny pieces of fabric. Sometimes you’ll have a long strip or larger pieces leftover.
Anything beyond these longer strips and bigger pieces is what quilters like to call crumbs. And sewing those crumbs together you can make crumb blocks.
If you’re the type of quilter who saves these small pieces of fabric and your scrap bin is a bit out of control then this is a great idea to use up those fabric scraps.
Note: As well as a written tutorial you will also find a video version at the end of this post.
What is crumb quilting?
Crumb quilting is essentially just making a scrap quilt but with really small, and sometimes oddly shaped scraps of fabrics – crumbs!
All of those little pieces and tiny scraps of fabric leftover are what you’re going to be using to make our crumb quilt blocks.
Crumb quilting is a great way to create some pretty spectacular small quilts, quilt blocks for larger quilts, or any other sewing project you don’t want to purchase new fabric for.
This post shares more details about crumb quilts in general and getting started.
Why by Color?
I’ve been sorting out my crumbs and I have really loved one-color crumb quilting lately.
I like to have some sort of theme when crumb piecing. To me, this helps the overall look to be more aesthetically pleasing.
Of course, you can make a more crazy quilt by just using scraps of favorite fabrics no matter the color.
What size should crumbs be?
To make things simple I’m going to say a crumb is usually a one-inch square, sometimes a bit bigger or a rectangle shape (just for a reference – see below).
Think of the fabric as the cookie and the little leftover pieces after your other quilting and sewing projects are the crumbs!
There’s no set rule and it’s really about personal preference, but a typical crumb is smaller than a 2.5” square and generally, is at least 1” wide. I have used smaller pieces though!
You don’t have to be guided by these size rules though – anything you think you can sew a seam through is big enough for me and it doesn’t have to be a square or a rectangle either.
The smaller your crumbs, the more intricate and detailed your crumb quilting will be. If it’s your first time crumb quilting, maybe start with larger crumb pieces.
P.S. you will find the video tutorial for this project at the bottom of this post along with the easy print pdf instructions.
Materials Needed – One Color Crumb Quilt Block
- Sewing machine
- Sewing thread
- Rotary cutter
- Bits of fabric
- Ironing board
Step 1: Sort your fabric scraps by color
The first step is to sort your different types of fabric by colors.
It does look a little bit nicer if the shades are grouped together. I try to find the smallest pieces to start with.
Step 2: Line your crumbs up
I try to find pieces that are similar in size.
Then line them up, right sides to right sides with a shared edge. Once you have two pieces lined up, you can move on to piecing them together.
Step 3: Chain piece the crumbs together
Next, you chain-piece them together with the sewing machine. I use a scant ¼” seam when I’m doing these.
Continue lining up pieces and piecing them together.
The idea is to add to your original crumb and just keep adding to it and getting bigger and bigger, working to create one bigger square shape.
This will turn into your one color crumb quilt block.
When I feel like I have enough pieces together, I cut the thread.
Step 5: Iron
Each time I add a crumb to another piece, I take them to my wool pressing mat and press the seams with my iron to one side.
This just helps keep everything flat and easier to work with.
Step 6: Trim
After pressing them, I will come back and trim them. When I’m trimming them, I’m just trying to get a straight edge on at least one side.
You may find that the sections need to be cut down to make scraps fit better (see the video if you aren’t sure).
Step 7: Repeat steps 2-6
When you’re ready to join them up again, you just find another crumb and join it to the section you’ve already started or you can start joining smaller sections together.
Just keep repeating the process all over again and again.
Your stopping point is when you either finish your crumbs, or you get your piece to the size block you’re going for.
You can make little miniature quilts for a doll with only small blocks or you can create larger blocks if you’re going for a full-size quilt.
Finished Crumb Quilt Block Tutorial
Here’s a close-up look of the finished ones I did in this video! All the different shades of green are lovely!
Tips for this crumb quilt block tutorial
- This isn’t a particularly fast process. Everything in this video took me about an hour which isn’t that much time. I took my time and just enjoyed the process. Regardless, this quilt tutorial is a really fun idea to use even the tiniest scraps to create beautiful quilts.
- No piece of fabric is too small. It’s all about what you are comfortable sewing a seam into and using the right size crumb to fit against your other crumbs.
- Also, crumbs don’t have to be squares, rectangles, or even perfectly shaped at all. I used triangle scraps as well.
- Crumb quilt blocks can be made for future use. Most of my crumb quilts are ongoing WIPs. The more you quilt, the more scraps you’ll have though!
Printable Crumb Quilt Block Instructions and Video Tutorial
- Small quilting scraps grouped by color
- Matching thread
- Rotary Cutter
- Sewing Machine
- Start by piecing two small scraps together right sides to right sides. PIck scraps that are roughly the same size as each other.
- Continue piecing sets of two scraps together using chain piecing.
- When you are ready snip the threads in the chain and iron and press your units.
- Trim your scrap units so that you have straight edges (any angle is fine).
- Then repeat the process by adding larger crumbs to your first units or by adding units to each other.
- Keep going until you have run out of crumbs for that color or until you've made a block the size you want.
- Trim your block to the size desired.
- Use your crumb blocks for fun scrap quilts, zipper pouches, bags or any quilted project!
If you liked this post you might also like these other scrap buster ideas:
- Crumb Quilting Tutorial: No Scrap is too Small!
- Framed Scraps Quilt Block – for Precious Fabric Scraps!
- Scrappy Hexagon Quilt Block – No Measuring!
- Fun Christmas Tree Quilt Block – For Crumbs & Scraps!
- 7 Quilt as You Go Methods (No Hand-sewing!)
- How to Make Fabric from your Scraps – Part 1: Irregular Shaped Scraps
- How to Make Selvedge Fabric (Make Fabric from your Scraps Part 2)
- How to Sew Scraps to Adding Machine Tape – Fabric from Scraps Part 3
- Scrappy Improv Quilt Squares
- X Marks the Scrap | Free Quilt Pattern for Scraps!
- Sewing Room Makeover – Again!