How to Make a Scrap Quilt Using the Paper Bag Method

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

Have you ever lost your sew-jo? Let’s face it, we all get into a sewing slump from time to time. I know I do. To help me snap out of it, I try to find projects that are a little different. I join quilt challenges or sew some small projects. But my favorite way to make quilting interesting again is to make a paper bag quilt. Yes, I know it sounds a little weird, but you read that right. At this point you are probably getting curious, so here is how to make a paper bag quilt.

Essentially, this method turns scrap quilt making into a fun game. It’s easy and, depending on the pattern and quilt size you choose, you can put together a quilt top in a day or so. You don’t need to worry about what fabrics go well together, or where blocks should be placed. The only rules to follow are your own.

A paper bag quilt is just like making a standard pattern, except that you change how you choose the fabric pieces. Every block is a surprise and you never know how it is going to turn out.

Guidelines

To make a paper bag quilt you need to make a few decisions before you begin.

  1. Choose a Pattern – A simple pattern is best for this method.
  2. Decide How Many Bags You Need – This will depend on the pattern you choose.
  3. Choose Fabrics – Once you have chosen a pattern and calculated fabric requirements, make sure you have all the fabric you need.

How to Make a Paper Bag Quilt

First, press and cut all of the fabric pieces in the sizes needed.

Next, depending on the pattern you choose, you may need to divide your fabrics into separate bags. For example, if you are using light and dark values, you would need two bags, one with light ones and one with dark ones. If you are making a charm quilt, you only need one bag.

Here are some examples.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

For this quilt, I needed bags for every color, and each piece was cut so that when I pulled it out it could be cut in half and used twice in the block. Each block was a different color.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

The blue fabric in the broken dishes scrap quilt above was the main fabric, and the fabrics in the paper bag were squares large enough to make the block. I only needed one bag for this project.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

When my daughter was young, she helped me with the nine patch quilt above. All of the jewel tone fabric squares were put into a bag and she pulled them out for me. I only needed one paper bag for this quilt.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

You can use the paper bag quilt method with many patterns. This scrappy autumn log cabin was made using it. I needed 16 bags, 8 for the various beige strip sizes and 8 for the various brown strip sizes.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

Only one bag was needed to make this patriotic quilt.

The Fun Part

Once the bag(s) are ready, it is time to assemble the blocks.

Without looking, pull the fabric piece(s) you need out of the bag and sew them together like you normally would. The only difference is that you don’t see what you are getting until you have taken it out of the bag. There is no making sure that the fabrics look good together. You use what you get. It’s the ultimate scrap quilt.

Once you have sewn all of the blocks together, they need to be assembled into the top.

Put all of the blocks into a paper bag (or larger container that you can’t see through) and pull out what you need to start assembling your block. Again, the only difference between a standard quilt top assembly process and this method, is that you don’t peek when you pull the blocks out of the bag.

Finally, choose your batting and backing, and finish the quilt however you like.

It’s a completely random and liberating way of quilting. I normally take a lot of time choosing just the right fabrics for my quilts, so making a quilt like this is a bit of a relaxing challenge. But it sure is fun. I get excited with every piece of fabric I pull out, seeing which one I get. I may not always like the piece I pull, but I don’t change it, and the block ends up looking just fine.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

Free Quilt Pattern Using This Method

Try it for yourself with this easy Scrappy Paper Bag Rail Fence Quilt Pattern. Don’t be scared to try it in other colors too.

Make your quilting fun with this liberating and unique way of making a scrap quilt.  It's easy with the Paper Bag Method. Free quilt pattern included. - createwithclaudia.com

May Entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge

May Entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge - createwithclaudia.com

Wow! The color prompt for the May entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 monthly color challenge was lime green, and boy was it a fun one. This is not a color I normally use, so I had to go out and hit the fabric stores. I can’t complain though, we quilters love finding an excuse to go fabric shopping.

Fabric Choices

I hit the jackpot with both of these batiks, the lighter one really pops and the darker green has accents with the lighter color in it. Both of the choices fit really well with my decision to go with batiks for this fun challenge. They also give a little bit of an update to the traditional broken dishes block pattern.

The flower prompt for May was the Spider Mum and, even though it’s a bit of a stretch, I think that the paisley print in the darker fabric mimics the flower.

What’s Next?

Every month I find myself getting more and more excited about seeing what the next block is going to be. I’m really enjoying this challenge and am already playing with block layout ideas in my head. That way, when the end of the year rolls around, I am ready to assemble my quilt.

This is the fifth block of the challenge, and they have been easy to assemble with the instructions provided. It’s not too late to join in if you are interested. Head over to Patterns by Jen to check out all of the details.

Progress

The month of May was the second use of green in the challenge, but the lime added a vibrant twist and a whole new look to the block. Here are all of the blocks so far. All I can say is bring on June and the orange color!

May Entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge - createwithclaudia.com

April Entry for the Patterns By Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge

April Block for the Patterns By Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge - createwithclaudia

I can’t believe it’s already April and I am working on my fourth quilt block for the Patterns By Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge! Before I know it, December will be rolling around.

This month, the floral inspiration is Glory of the Snow, and what a glorious flower it is. It is an early bloomer that gives us all hope that Spring has arrived. It is also another blue flower, which there aren’t too many of in the garden. The white center of it makes it look like it’s glowing.

I tried to find batik fabrics that would mimic the color of the blossom, and I think I hit the mark. The color prompts for both March and April were navy and blue respectively, so I wanted to use fabrics that were blue, but not close to the navy from used in March. Using the white and light blue made all the difference.

As a result of creating this month’s entry, I’ve been inspired to design a blue and white quilt. The color combination is so a fresh and crisp, and the fabric I used gives a bit of a modern twist on the famous Blue Willow china pattern.

Unfortunately I don’t have too much of this fabric left. I’ll need to go shopping if I plan on making a larger quilt.

The Challenge So Far

So far this year the colors have been green, pink, navy and blue. Next up is lime green. I have a feeling that these blocks are going to be radiant once they are all finished and set together.

Here are the four blocks I have done so far. Every month I choose a new favorite, and this month is no exception. I just love that white and light blue print.

April Block for the Patterns By Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge - createwithclaudia

If you would like to join in the fun, check out the information over at Patterns By Jen. You’ll find all of the instructions, and you can see entries from other quilters too. It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with.

Happy Quilting!

March Entry for the Patterns By Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge

March 2019 Patterns by Jen Monthly Color Challenge entry from createwithclaudia.com

I love a good challenge, especially one that gets my creative juices flowing. So this year I decided to up my game a bit and participate in a couple of quilting ones. Here is my March entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 Color Challenge.

This challenge appealed to me for a few reasons. First, it’s all about color, and I love color. Second, the inspiration comes from flowers and besides my quilting, I am an avid gardener, so it was a natural fit. Lastly, it isn’t that difficult. It’s only one block per month, with well written and easy-to-follow instructions.

Continue reading

February Entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge

February Block from Patterns by Jen 2019 Monthly Color Challenge - CreatewithClaudia.com

I finally got around to making my February block for the 2019 Monthly Block Challenge. This experience has really gotten me to check out my fabric stash and see what I have.

So far I’ve been able to avoid heading to the fabric store, but we’ll see if I can keep that up. Of course, I wouldn’t mind an excuse to go.

Continuing with the fabric I used in January, I’m sticking with batiks. The hope is that, by using the same fabric type each month, my blocks will come together nicely at the end of the year.

For some reason I had an issue with my pressing this time around, but it ended up coming together nicely, and I’m happy with the vivid pinks that I chose.

This month’s flower inspiration is the carnation, and it’s quite special to me. Growing up, my grandfather always brought my grandmother a bouquet of carnations. After he passed away I tried to keep up the tradition. These flowers will always be close to my heart.

If I give my husband a not-so-subtle hint, maybe I can get a bouquet too.

Last month’s block, which you can see here, was green. I can’t decide if I like the pink or green one better.

If you are interested in joining the challenge, head on over to Patterns by Jen and check it out.

I can’t wait to see what next month brings.