Sunday, April 19, 2020

Hands2Help 2020 - With Susan and her Scrappy Strippy Chevron Quilt!

Hi, all!

Welcome back!  I hope everyone is staying healthy and busy - there's certainly plenty to do these days, even if you are stuck at home.  I know I've discovered hidden treasures in my own stash AND it seems like lots of folks have been cleaning and organizing, which means that I'm getting calls about t-shirt quilts more and more lately!  

Today we've got another great guest blogger joining us - Susan of Stitched by Susan!  I do hope you'll check out her blog - just a quick glance through her posts and you'll find so many great tips, beautiful eye candy, and I'm guessing a new regular stopping place!  She's also going to be hosting a beautiful block of the month quilt along designed to improve your piecing skills.  The best way to stay abreast of info on that is to sign up for her newsletter (I just did!)  She also named her long arm machine, just like I did.  (Mine is named Jolene; hers is Lucy.)  I like people with the same kind of crazy as me!  She's got a great tutorial for us today, and I just know you'll want to go digging in your string bucket after seeing this one.  So without further ado, let's get started!


Scrappy Strippy Chevron

I'm Susan Smith, and I love scrappy quilts! I've been making quilts most of my life, but I lived in a fairly remote area of northern Canada, and I had never attended a class or show until about 6 years ago. Then the quilting bug REALLY bit, and shortly thereafter I adopted a long arm named Lucy. The rest, as they say, is history. She and I share our work on my website and on social media. There isn't a part of the quilt making process I don't love, but always and forever, my pioneer roots bring me back to my scraps. 

A huge thank you to Sarah for inviting me as a guest onto her blog, to share my scrappy, strippy chevron quilt - it's one of my all time favorites. 

I've drafted this project in two sizes; the baby version is 48" x 58", and the lap size is 56" x 72", just perfect for cuddling on the couch. You will want to print the diagram so you can refer to it and mark it up.

I find it helpful to choose either a focus fabric and pull colors from it (this one began with a Kaffe Fassett print), or a theme (such as western which might include browns and reds and bandana prints etc). This will help you decide which background to use as well; perhaps dark as mine is, or neutral gray or tan, or maybe a jewel bright color.  You can read more about the audition I held for my scraps in this post. For the current project I chose navy Essex linen for my background.

From the background cut all the alternate pieces, as shown in the picture below, following the sizes on the diagram.  The 2" grid of the diagram makes it easy to determine the sizes, however, seam allowances need to be added.  So first off, cut strips which are 8 1/2" and 6 1/2" wide.  Sub cut these into the half-chevron shapes, using the 45-degree-angle markings on your cutting mat. The lengths also vary; 8 1/2", 6 1/2", and 4 1/2" on the straight side. It's easiest to lay them out in place as you cut them, and you will be able to use the odd-shaped ends of some of your cutting strips for the ends of the rows. 

 Next, from the prints cut strips in any length and of varying widths. I suggest about 1-2" in width, but no measuring is necessary; just slide your ruler and randomly cut a variety of widths.

Because of the varying widths of the chevrons, not all the points extend to the end of the quilt.  So leave some extra length, both in the background and the pieced chevrons, and trim up later. 

This is mine, all laid out on my design floor, ready to start making the scrappy bits. You can see the elongated end pieces at the top.

Randomly sew your scrappy strips into groups at least 6 1/2" or 8 1/2" wide. There is no easy way to plan this as the strips are all different lengths.  Just begin by making a unit of strips wide enough or a little extra, then sub cut into the sizes required, and fit them in between the background pieces of your design.  Just like the background, there are two widths - 8 1/2" and 6 1/2", and three lengths - 8 1/2", 6 1/2", and 4 1/2".  Cut the longer ones first from your strip, and then the shorter ones. 

Also, be aware that half of the units angle downwards, and half angle upwards.  It pays to check the diagram often! On your printed copy, mark a big X on the units as you fill them in; this will help to keep track of what sizes remain to be cut. 

To keep the blocks looking random, rotate some of them so the order of the stripes looks different.  

Once the entire quilt is laid out, begin to sew it together in rows. Don't forget to match up AT THE SEAM LINE, not at the edge of the fabric.

All these seams edges are on the bias, so it's really important not to stretch or distort them.  If one seems to be a smidge longer than the other, it's better to ease in the longer one than to stretch the shorter one.  The tip of a seam ripper is great for easing in a tiny bit of fullness under the presser foot as you're sewing.

After an entire row has been sewn, press all the seams toward the background. If you can, use the straight edge of your pressing surface to keep your row on the straight and narrow. Press well, and allow the whole strip to cool before lifting and moving it.

If you love efficient piecing like I do, you can stack up a whole row before carrying it to your sewing machine.  You can see how I stacked mine below, but of course it's critical to pick up the stack and keep it facing the same direction when you move to your machine. Then simply pick up the top two pieces, flip the top one to the left over the first one, and sew. Shift left, and flip the third piece over, and so on to the end of the row.

Once all the rows are sewn and pressed, it's easy to put them together.  All the seams will now nest together, and you can press these to either side, or open; whichever you prefer.

Remember there is still excess length on many of the rows; don't try to ease that all in! 

Finally, trim both ends of the quilt nice and straight. I missed taking a photo of the entire quilt laying flat, but here it is on my long arm, all assembled and ready to quilt.

I chose to do straight line quilting, with about 1/2" spacing.  It's simple and elegant, and it lets all those lovely scraps be the stars.

If you make this quilt, please share it with me!  Tag me @stitchedbysusan on Facebook or Instagram.


See what I mean?  Scrappy strips, here I come!  Thank you, Susan, for such a wonderful, inspirational post.  I bet we'll be seeing a lot of these in the future - and if you make one, be sure to share it with Susan.  I can say from experience that it's thrilling to see what others do with your designs!

Be sure to come back next week and link up your progress shots - it's our first check-in date!  I'm excited to see what everyone is working on.

Oh, and here's a treat - I know many of you have made quilts for Emily Bailey's Quilty Hugs charity, and now Emily has a button you can put on your blog if you have!  

Isn't that a wonderful little button!  I am so proud to be able to put it on my sidebar to tell the world.  Thanks, Emily!!

See you next week!




  1. Susan, thank you for the fun useful tutorial. Love your quilt, it has such great movement!

  2. Thank you for this beautiful inspiring quilt. I love to work with little pieces and I have a truck load of scraps. This quilt is mine in a very near future. ;^)

  3. Thank you for introducing us to Susan. This quilt is wonderful. It really elevates the idea of how interesting a scrap quilt can be.

    1. It is a unique scrap treatment, isn't it? We quilters are always on the lookout for new and appealing ways to use our leftover bits.

  4. What a great tutorial and a fun way to bust through some scrappy strips.

  5. Susan, you quilt is a pretty amazing scrap quilt! Love the movement that is created!

  6. Thank you for introducing another wonderful guest blogger, Sarah. What a great quilt!! I'm pretty sure that I would have a hard time giving the completed quilt away, though. Another scrap lover here, Susan!

    1. Scrap lovers unite! They make truly wonderful quilts. And this was a wedding gift for my niece, so I was able (barely) to let it go. After all, I have enough scraps for another 😆

  7. Fantastic job!!!! This is an amazing use of strips!

    1. Isn't it fun? I've made this design several times, with different themes, and love every one. And the bottom of the scrap basket is still nowhere in sight😁

  8. I would love a PDF of the chevron pattern please. I have 2 totes of scraps thzt I can go through with this quilt. Thank you


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Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!