Scrap Buster Plus Quilt – Sew Along

This is Scrap Fabric Love’s first-ever quilt along!

This is a no-stress block-based plus quilt (or swiss cross ?) sew-along that is meant to make a serious dent in your quilting scraps!

scrap fabric plus sign quilt

This is a free quilt pattern and the sew-along starts on the 9th of January 2023.

Seeing this after the sew-along has finished? Don’t worry the tutorial will stay live as well as the tutorial videos so you can always start your own sew-along any time.

Fabric Requirements – Scrappy Plus Quilt

For this scrap-busting quilt, my challenge to you is that you use your leftover scraps from your other quilting projects instead of heading to the fabric store!

You will find options in the instruction to mix and match the center of your blocks to use up whatever size of scraps you have from crumbs to 2.5″ squares or larger pieces.

I am using mainly cotton fabric for the quilt I am making but for my test blocks I also used upcycled denim jeans for the background fabric in some blocks and that worked great too!

Fabric Requirements for one Scrappy Plus Quilt Block:

For plus signs block centers:

  • (1) Center square 4.5″ [Can be substituted for a 4.5″ crumb block square or a 4 patch made up of (4) 2.5″ squares]
  • (4) 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles [Can be substituted for a 2.5″ x 4.5″ crumb block or a 2 patch unit of (2) 2.5″ squares]

For background fabric:

  • (4) Corner squares 4.5″
  • (4) 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles
  • Background fabric does not need to be all the same print but should be all the same color. So for example you could use a mix of low-volume fabric. For my quilt, I used a mix of solid black and black blender fabrics.
scrappy plus quilt block measurements
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
2.5 inch plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

See further below for how many blocks are used for different quilt sizes.

How to Make a Scrap Busting Plus Quilt

Both the background and the plus sign quilt blocks are intended to be made from your leftover fabric scraps from your other quilting projects.

Step 1: Color Sorting

This is not essential but very helpful and it is how I approach my scraps.

color sorted fabric scraps - orange
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I love scrap quilts but I also love modern quilts and for me, the best way to keep a scrap quilt looking modern is color sorting.

I have both my fabric crumbs and strips sorted by color as well as the rest of my fabric stash which tends to be a mix of other people’s offcuts and a little bit of yardage. I love my fabric storage system and it really helps me use more of my scraps more often.

For this quilt color sorting helps because you will want to know which color of scrap fabric you have the most of…this should be your background fabric.

My background fabric for this quilt is black (and ‘reads black’ fabric – like black on black blenders, etc). You can use whatever color you want and you can use a different background fabric for each block if you prefer – as long as it contrasts with your block center.

For the centers of your plus quilt blocks you could use all one color or have different blocks with different color centers.

When I say one color you can interpret that as different fabrics that are all blue for example, or you can get even more granular and sort into teal blue, navy blue, light blue. That is more what I do but it might be a step too far for lots of you! You do you!

Step 2: Pick your Plus Block Center

The colored center of these plus quilt blocks are what I call mix and match.

Which means you can use different types of fabric scraps interchangeably.

The measurements are all the same but if you have more crumbs you can use crumb blocks, if you cut your scraps into 2.5″ squares you can use those, or if you just have a bin of mixed-sized scraps you can cut them down to the unit sizes required.

Crumb Version:

crumb block plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Here is a tutorial about how to make a one-color crumb quilt block like I am using for my blocks or I also have some videos on my youtube channel about crumb quilting that might be useful.

2.5″ square version:

2.5 inch center plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
2.5 inch square swiss cross quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Scrappy leftovers version (great way to use up leftover jelly roll strips and pieces of fat quarters and fat eighths that you didn’t use all of):

scrappy plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Or you can do a bit of all three!

scrappy plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
crumb center plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Step 3: Cut your Fabrics

See the fabric requirements above for one block.

fabric scraps cut to size for plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

The 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangle units are perfect for using up leftover jelly roll strips and the 4.5″ background squares can easily be cut from a leftover layer cake square or charm packs too.

Start with whatever scraps you have and see what sizes you can come up with. Remember you can also piece scraps to make them big enough to cut a unit out of too! Consider it large crumb piecing!

Accuquilt Dies

accuquilt dies for plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

You can use a quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut your fabric but for this project I used my Accuquilt dies and Accuquilt Go Cutter to cut the pieces for my blocks. Here are the codes for the dies I used:

All of the dies I used were in the Accuquilt 8″ Mix and Match Qube.

accuquilt dies from 8 inch qube
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

As this is a scrap buster project, I suggest taking it block by block before you decide on your final quilt size, but if you would rather plan for a specific size you will find some layout ideas and block requirements in the layouts section below.

As an indication for estimating how far your fabric will stretch – you can get approximately 10 x 4.5″ squares from a fat eighth if you cut carefully.

Step 4: Sew Rectangle Blocks

rectangle unit for plus sign quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Take (4) 2.5″ x 4.5″ Center Square fabrics and (4) 2.5″ x 4.5″ background fabrics.

Pair and sew right side to right side along the long edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

rectangle units for plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Make 4 units per block.

Press seams as desired (to one side or pressed open).

Step 5: Construct a 9 Patch Block

9 patch plus sign quilt block units
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Sew each block in 3 rows using a 1/4″ seam allowance:

top row plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
middle row plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
bottom row plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
  • Row 1: Background square 4.5″, Rectangle unit with center color to the bottom; 4.5″ background square
  • Row 2: Rectangle unit with center color to inside; 4.5″ center color square; rectangle unit with center color to inside.
  • Row 3: Background square 4.5″, Rectangle unit with center color to top; 4.5″ background square.

Sew rows together either nesting seams or with all seams pressed open.

Step 6: Trim Block to 12″ Square

Using your favorite trimming ruler (mine is a 12.5″ Square Ruler like this one), trim your block to 12″ square.

trimming quilt block to size
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Keep the center square in your 9-patch centered (the central patch should be 4″ finished so you can line up the 4″ and 8″ lines on a square ruler like this one to keep your block centered.

Step 7: Repeat for the Number of Blocks desired

red and white swiss cross quilt blocks
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

See quilt size and layout options below as well as ideas for smaller projects using less blocks.

Quilt Size & Layout Options

Below you will find an indication of how to construct a quilt top using different numbers of blocks. The sashing and borders are of course optional but give some good negative space to make your scrappy plus sign blocks really stand out.

See Video 2 in the Scrap Buster Sew Along for more details about these layouts.

Quilt Size# of BlocksSashing/BordersFinished Size
Table Runner32.5″ border17″ x 41″
Baby Size92″ Border; (2) Sashing rows of (9) 4.5″ squares 40″ x 48″
Lap Size206″ Border; (4) Sashing rows made up of (15) 4.5″ squares to use up more scraps72″ x 80″
(or 60″ x 68″ with no border)
Queen Size305.75″ Border; (6) Sashing rows made up of (20) 4.5″ squares; (30) 4.5″squares for end of row sashing (see video for more info but also note there is a mistake in the video that says you need 222 4.5″ squares but it should read 180)91″ x 95″

Lap Size Quilt example layout using crumb block centers for the plus quilt blocks:

lap size with crumb block plus sign quilt blocks
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Table Runner Example Layout using 2.5″ center squares:

table runner layout plus quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

More Small Project Ideas with Scrappy Plus Quilt Blocks

The main thing I want you to get from this sew-along is a finished project. So if you use the plus quilt pattern to make some blocks but you don’t quite get enough finished to make a whole quilt top, why not use them for a smaller project like the ones below?

  • Make a Hot Pad with some insul bright and batting with just 1 block and some backing fabric.
  • Use 2 Blocks to make a double-sided cushion.
  • Sew together 4-6 blocks to make a row of blocks and then save your row to add to later, either with more scrappy plus blocks or other orphan blocks or scrap blocks you make throughout the year.
  • Sew 4 blocks into a large 4-patch shape and make a wall hanging – why not change the color of the center plus to reflect the seasons?
  • Use 4 blocks. and a bottom border to make a little quilt that can be used as a stroller quilt.

Video Tutorials

Once live you will find links to the sew-along video tutorials in this section.

Week One Video:

Week Two Video:

Click Here

Finishing Your Quilt

There are lots of options for how to quilt this quilt including straight lines with a walking foot, or quilting each row quilt-as-you-go.

In Video 4 of the sew-along I will show how I am quilting my scrap buster quilt on a Moxie Longarm and Tom from the Colourblind Quilter will be giving us some ideas for how to quilt it on a domestic sewing machine with a walking foot.

Video 4 is scheduled for the 30th of January 2023 and will be linked to here when it is live.

Top Tips

  • If you like the idea of using crumb blocks but you are worried about bulky seams, just use your crumb blocks for the center square and use a standard 2.5″ x 4.5″ piece or (2) 2.5″ squares for the colored rectangles sections.
  • Make color-coordinated crumb quilt blocks whenever you finish a big quilt project. Then you’ll have a stash of crumb blocks ready to go for a scrap-busting project like this!
What if my scraps aren’t color-coordinated?

If you don’t sort your scraps by color and it feels like too much work to do start that’s fine. All you really need is to pull out the color you have the most of to make it your background fabric.

The center of your blocks can be totally scrappy and mismatched as long as they contrast well enough with your background. Example: there wouldn’t be much contrast if your background was navy blue and your scrappy centers had navy blue and some other colors in them.

However, if your centers were mixed light colors, yellows, pinks, etc there would be enough contrast to make your scraps pop.

You can also do the opposite – make your background totally scrappy and use low volume fabrics for the plus center or ‘cross blocks’ – like the example below.
scrappy background fabric plus quilt block mockup

Do I have to choose just one method for the center of my scrappy blocks?

No! This quilt is designed to be mixed and matched so you can use up as many scraps as possible with as little work as possible.

Use what you already have like pre-cut 2.5″ squares or previously pieced crumb blocks to start and then add the pieces you are missing by cutting from the rest of your scraps as you make each block.

scrap fabric plus sign quilt

Scrap Buster Plus Sign Quilt

Make a super scrappy plus sign quilt using only your leftover scraps!

Materials

  • Your Scraps: Including Crumb Blocks, 2.5" squares and other leftover fabrics
  • You should have a background fabric set of scraps and one or more color coordinated piles of scraps

Tools

  • Sewing Machine

Instructions

  1. Cut (4) 4.5" squares and (4) 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles from your background fabric per block. These can be scrappy and cut from different fabrics of the same color.
  2. Cut (1) 4.5" square and (4) 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles from. your focus scraps (for block center plus sign) per block. These can be straight-cut fabric or crumb blocks. [Alternatively you can use 2.5" squares for the central plus - see measurements in full written blog tutorial]
  3. Sew (1) 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle in your background fabric to one 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle in your plus sign scrap fabric right side to right side with a 1/4" seam allowance. Make 4 of these units per block.
  4. Sew a 9-patch block with background squares and rectangles to the outside and colored scraps or crumb blocks in the central plus shape.
  5. Repeat for as many blocks as required for your desired quilt size..

Questions?

The fastest way to get a reply from me is to comment on the youtube video about this blog post; or you can email me at hello@scrapfabriclove.com.

You can also find me on instagram and facebook as @scrapfabriclove. If you want to tag me with your sewalong progress you can also use the hashtag #scrapfabriclovesewalong

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