Are you a saver of your fabric scraps? Do you love quilting projects that aren’t all about precision? Then crumb quilting is for you! Pull out two scraps and sew them together. That’s it! And just keep sewing pieces together until you have a piece you like!
Crumb quilting is a type of patchwork quilting style where small scraps of fabric, often referred to as “crumbs,” are pieced together to create a quilt block or top. The crumbs can come from a variety of sources, such as leftover fabric from other quilting projects, scraps from clothing or other textiles, or intentionally cut pieces in various shapes and sizes.
In crumb quilting, the small pieces of fabric are pieced together in a random or improvisational manner, creating a unique and colorful quilt. The quilts can be made using various techniques, such as traditional patchwork, improvisational piecing, or foundation paper piecing.
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Crumb quilts are often made with a focus on using up leftover fabric, which can make them a sustainable and eco-friendly quilting option. They are also a great way for quilters to use up scraps and experiment with different fabric combinations.
There is no crumb block quilt pattern per se, just have fun with your scraps!
What are crumb quilt blocks?
Crumb quilt blocks are made from small scraps left over from other projects. All of the odd bits and shapes of fabric come together to make a unique quilt block. Because they are made with bits and scraps, no two quilt blocks are the same.
These are the ultimate improv quilt blocks. As you create the patchwork, you pick the next fabric, making fabric decisions one at a time. Time to pull out your scrap bin and start having fun!
Why crumb quilts?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to have a full bag of good scraps that just go into the garbage. There is always a need for an itty bitty piece of fabric for a project. But, the small pieces start to pile up.
Crumb quilts use up all of those scraps no matter how small.
- Crumb quilting saves money – you don’t need to buy new fabric
- Crumb quilting is a mindless creative outlet – you just pull fabric and sew. There are no rules. No corners that need to match
- Crumb quilting is good for the environment – keeps all of those scraps don’t end up in the landfill
Here is our crumb quilting tutorial:
Crumb quilting ideas
What’s terrific about crumb quilting is there are no rules. Do what strikes your fancy! A perfect project when you feel like creating but don’t know where to start. Just pull out some scrap and start sewing them together!
Think about having a theme or color palette for your crumb quilt. Doing this will give your final crumb fabric piece a more pulled together look. Ideas are analogous color themes like red, orange and yellow. Or blue, turquoise and green. Another idea is to use different values of light and dark fabrics. Remember, there are no rules, just have fun!
Tips for crumb quilting
- Start by pulling out fabrics that would be easy to sew together. Examples: sew squares and rectangles of similar size together. Sew strips together. Sew triangles together.
- When you have several larger pieces sewn together, see which ones might work well together. If you need to cut one or more of them, do it! Then, continue to sew pieces together until you have your finished block the size.
- One way to start is follow the log cabin or courthouse square format. Take your smaller pieces and sew them together first. Then take your longer strips and begin to add around the edges until you have your finished quilt block size.
- Make your finished block size to a size for which you have a speciality quilters ruler. Then it is super easy to trim to your finished block size.
- Trim some of your sewn crumb pieces at an angle, similar to a wonky log cabin to add more interest to your finished crumb fabric.
- Work in sections for your final block or fabric piece. Think of making your crumb fabric as a puzzle where you are making smaller pieces that will all fit together for your final fabric. Then sew the sections together until they are as big as you’d like.
- Don’t worry about matching your corners, perfect seam allowances or perfect pressing. Just have fun!
What do I use to make a crumb quilt block?
Have extra quilt blocks from a project? How about that quilt block that you decided not to ‘un-sew’ but had been put together wrong? These are all perfect for crumb quilting! You can start with them whole, or cut them in half, quarters, triangle or any size and just start adding fabric on the edges!
What can I do with crumb quilt blocks?
- Trim to a specific size in a quilt pattern and mix them in with other prints or solid fabrics for a scrappy look.
- Sew together in larger pieces to make bags. See our article with a variety of free and easy bag patterns.
- Use your crumb pieces for appliqué. You can either add fusible web to the back, do raw edge appliqué or scribble thread appliqué.
- Make long strips of crumb strips to use for borders or sashes.
Here is where I added fusible web to the back of a piece, cut out a heart and fused to a background, also made from scraps. I followed our method for making fusible web postcards.
What is the difference between crumb quilting and crazy quilting?
Crazy quilting can use scraps of fabric, but generally is a more planned block than a crumb quilt block. Crazy quilting is then embellished with embroidery.
What is confetti quilting? How is it different than crumb quilting?
Confetti quilting is an appliqué technique where small pieces of fabric are used to create a design on fabric. The fabric pieces can either be sewn or fused onto a base fabric. Often, with confetti quilting, a top layer of tulle or organza is used to hold all of the little pieces in place and then stitched or quilted on top of this layer.
With crumb quilting, the small pieces are sewn together and then layered with batting and quilted.
Browse through more quilt tutorials on Create Whimsy.