Three ways to use up backing leftovers

>> Thursday, August 9, 2018

I have been busy using up my backing leftovers! In fact, I discovered that I have been hoarding saving backing leftovers from several quilts. In the first post I showed you how I used backing leftovers to make a simple pot holder. Today's post will go over 3 ways to deal with backing leftovers. 

quilt backing leftovers projects

1. Throw them away

Yep. I'll put that out there first because it can save you a lot of time. Maybe you won't throw them out right away, but one day you might. Be open to the idea that really, you just don't need to use them up!
I discovered this fact when I went looking for a box for mailing a quilt. The perfect size box was holding my stash of fabric that is less-than-a-fat-quarter-but-more-than-a-bit. Offcuts. Backing leftovers - lots of them! I started to sort and iron the pieces and rather quickly discovered that I really wasn't going to use some of the backing leftovers. Ever. 

Number one is permission to throw the backing leftovers away. 

2. Make something

Anything really. I found that some of the backing leftovers from a baby quilt were calling to me during my sorting. I ironed them, cut some strips and made a large, bright churn dash with them. The bright red alphabet print is the backing leftovers; the word fabric was from the actual baby quilt and the bright print is from a fat quarter in my stash that has been sitting and waiting for a fun place to hang out. I think I'm going to turn this into an open wide zippered pouch using Noodlehead's tutorial; it would be fun for storing markers in.

bright churn dash block

Any project that you can quickly assign the fabric to and preferably make would be best.

I also cut some of the backing fabric I started with into another pot holder and several churn dashes using my Churn, Baby, Churn pattern to make a table runner. The current dashalong pattern would also be a good way to use up backing leftovers.

two pieced potholders scrap fabric batik project

churn dash runner batik project Banyan batiks

Backing leftovers are  also great material for any favourite block that uses strips. 


 a kennel quilt
 a doll quilt
pot holders
mug rugs
pencil case
makeup pouch

Number two is, if the fabric inspires you, make something with it.

3. Prep it for stash keeping

Maybe you do like the backing leftover fabric but don't have time right now to start and finish a project. Take the time now to iron it, cut it into usable pieces and store it with your stash.
Backing leftovers most likely can be easily cut into common precut sizes like 5" squares and 2 1/2" strips. If you know you want to work on a project with 2 1/2" squares, you might consider cutting them to size now too. 
This year's leader and ender project by Bonnie Hunter uses 2 1/2" squares - just sayin' ;)

Binding strips could also be cut from the backing leftovers; I cut mine at 2 1/2" wide. Cut the backing leftovers into something that you will use, put it in its new home and move on.

Number three is, prepare the fabric and put it away for later.

Backing leftovers are still fabric! If you don't want to keep it - don't. I throw out the ones that are too stringy to save, or from fabric that I'm no longer interested in working with in a project. If I still like the fabric, or it's grown on me (it happens!) I will use it up or save it for later. It can be fun to find pieces in scrap projects in later years that remind you of a quilt you gave away. 

Pick a way to deal with your backing leftovers and get back to quilting. I'll be back to share another project I made from the backing leftovers soon.

Feel free to share in the comments a project you've made using backing leftovers. Include a link and I'll come over for a virtual visit :)

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Quilted Game to play anywhere

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It's my turn again over at to offer a free pattern. Can anything be more fun than playing with fabrics in the summer?

How about playing a game made with fabrics ;)

quilted tic tac toe game banyan batiks recess fabric

I got to use Banyan batiks Recess fabric line to design a quilted tic tac toe, X and O, game. Everything is pieced and goes together easily. The fabric comes out this month to quilt shops - there are bright fabrics too!

The fabric requirements and cutting instructions are in this post.

recess fabric banyan batiks pieced X blocks

Today's post makes the pieced X blocks.

By the end of the week you'll have a fun quilted game that rolls up to take with you.

I think it could even be fun to use in a classroom, but we won't mention the 's' word so early in August, okay?! :)

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Backing Leftovers Challenge - Project Number One

>> Friday, July 27, 2018

There's nothing like that sense of relief followed by overwhelm when I finish making a quilt. Do you know what I mean? The accomplishment is quickly filled with the vacuum of time that now exists where that project ended. What to work on next?!

Some of that angst is also regret over the leftovers. The bits of fabric that weren't needed that will now be relegated to the scrap bin, larger pieces shoved back into the stash or maybe just left on the bottom of the UFO pile on the shelf. But, the backing leftovers that get cut off when trimming the quilt never had a home to begin with - their mission is complete, but there's so much usable STUFF there still! Isn't there?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes, you've had enough of the project and just want it all to go away. Other times the fabric you thought you would just "use up" grows on you after all that close physical contact and you want to savour it a bit longer. But how?

quilt backing trimmings

Herein lies my latest challenge! I love this backing fabric - a new Banyan batik from the Mary line that came out this June. I did a project for QUILTsocial with some of the other prints and just finished a quilt that you'll see much later. 

Mary Batiks Cushion Cover

I decided I wanted to use some of it up and challenged myself to do it. I have a little window of time between projects - enough to keep me focused to complete some little things.

Here's my first one - a potholder.

fabric pieces potholder

Quick and easy. From the backing fabric I used two - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" strips and two 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips. The four patch uses two 2 1/2" squares of two different colour fabrics.

You could do this with leftover binding strips too. Or just scraps. 

  • Make the four patch, then add the short strips to each side. Press the seams to the strips.
  • Sew a long strip to the top and one to the bottom; press seams to the strips.
  • Potholder top should measure 8 1/2" square.

The backing is from another fat quarter that I didn't use yet - I'm sure you have some extra fat quarters stacked somewhere too ;) Cut one 8 1/2" square.

I used two pieces of batting cut 8 1/2" square - leftovers from cutting the original batting to the quilt size. The batting from the quilt trimming will probably end up as stuffing in another project on my to-do list this summer.

  • Place the two layers of batting on top of each other on your pinning surface.
  • Put the backing piece RIGHT SIDE UP on top.
  • Place potholder top RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top to finish the pile.
  • Pin all the way around, leaving a 2" turning gap along one of the long strip sides.
  • Sew all the way around, backstitching at beginning and end of turning gap.
  • Clip corners, turn potholder right side out through turning gap.
  • Finger press turning gap seam, then topstitch 1/8" around edge.
  • I quilted in the seam around the four patch too. 

old potholder new potholder four patch quilted potholder

A quick finish. And now I can finally replace a potholder that was a wedding gift 22 years ago! (hopefully mine will last as long!)

batting and backing left from trimming quilt

I'll be back with more backing leftovers challenge projects.

Do you have some ideas for me? What would you make?

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Yard sale finds and summer sewing

>> Sunday, July 8, 2018

Summer has definitely arrived! I'm sewing a lot of different things that I can't show you yet, but I promise I will in the next few months.

Instead, I can show you some of my fun finds at my neighbour's yard sale :)

tin of embroidery floss and yarn crafts

I found a small tin of stuff and decided to take it. Glad I did! 

anchor embroidery floss

I'm pretty thrilled with this collection of bright anchor embroidery floss. It almost makes me want to stitch again. I used to try and do a stitching project in the summer - like this one - but this year I have projects that need to get done instead. The hoop is beautiful wood; it's stamped "made in Japan" and would be really pretty as a frame. I couldn't remember the name of aida cloth, my mind kept thinking cross-stitch background fabric for almost a week! 

plastic craft tools

I'm not sure what these are - do you know? There was some yarn wrapped on what look like pom pom makers, but I'm not sure what these are for.
Leave me a comment if you know! Thanks!!

santa cup fabric display

I also had to get this guy! He's helping me keep my Cotton and Steel holiday fat quarters together. Looks like he has room for more ;)

christmas bowl empty aurifil thread spools

This container came with the Santa mug. Maybe they are cream and sugar, but they are pretty big! I decided to put my slow growing collection of empty Aurifil thread spools in it for now. We'll see if I get more creative closer to the holidays - it would make a cute pincushion (but then I'd have to ask Santa for a lot more pins!)

And while I'm working at keeping my deadlines lots of new sewalongs and projects have popped up! Instead of jumping in I went back to my started projects and decided to get back at my On Ringo Lake quilt.

leader ender project brown flying geese

I'm working on the brown flying geese using the no waste flying geese method. (I shared a post about this method here.) I'm doing this as my leader/ender instead of the really fun one that Bonnie just started! Ah! I might sneak it in later, or do it later when it makes sense for me :)

Hope your summer is off to a sewing start! 

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Happy Canada Day!

>> Sunday, July 1, 2018

My 150 Canadian Women quilt top is hoping THIS is the year it gets quilted.

red and white small patchwork block quilt Kat Tucker project

Blocks that I finished from Kat Tucker's 150 Canadian Women blocks from last year. Blocks are still available through her site Next Step Quilt Designs.

150 Canadian women quilt top

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

With Joy,

Sarah V.

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