Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Simply Strippy!

Simply Strippy!

~Charity Quilt Workshop~

Simple Quilt, Simple Directions!

Simply Strippy in Rainbow Colors

58'' X 70''

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly PDF.

I had a bin of 3.5" scrap strips. What to do with a bin of 3.5" scrap strips? Between antique utility quilts that I have seen and pictures in amish books of similar antique strip quilts all in solids, I figured I could do this too....who needs a pattern, right? :cD This quilt can be made in several color schemes. Think of Blues/Yellows, Brights, Batiks, Black/White, Pastels, Florals, Patriotic, Plaids…any combination you can think of as well as "Scrappy Everything!"
You will need:
Approximately 2 yards of scrap fabrics cut into 3.5" strips. 

Inner border: approximately ½ yard fabric of your choice (tone on tone works well) Strips can be cut from FQ’s or yardage, or odd lengths of pieces. Other items: Sewing machine, extension cord, accessories pins, thread, scissors, rotary cutter, ruler & mat. Ironing station 

Continuously chain-piece random lengths of 3.5" strips end to end in one mile-long chain! You are going to want short strips, long strips, all variety of lengths. I didn't use any strips longer than 22"...if they are too long cut them in half! When you have a mile or so of them sewn together (don't worry, you can sew more if your mile is too short!) clip between the chain threads and iron the seams towards one side..it doesn't matter which.

  Cut (18) 44" long pieces from your mile-long chain. Lay these out on the floor (or table) in a manner that pleases you and stitch lengths together to form quilt center. I sewed the strips into pairs, and then the pairs into fours, etc. Press seams in one direction (again, doesn't matter which.) 

At this point you might find that you have uneven edges. That's okay! After pressing take the quilt center to your cutting mat, fold it carefully, and trim up the sides! 

Cut (6) 2.5" strips cut selvage to selvage for inner border. Piece the width-of-fabric border strips together end to end on the diagonal so it is long enough to go around the quilt.

If I am wanting no joining seams in the length of my borders, I cut the four borders along the length of the fabric, longer than the quilt top so there is a bit extra length. You don't want to run short here. Measure the strips the length of the quilt center from top to bottom following directions below. Press seam out towards the border.

The outer border uses more strips of your mile-long length of pieced strips. After the inner border is added, measure through the center of the quilt from top to bottom and cut 4 strips this length. Stitch these pieced strips into pairs, and attach one pair to each side of the quilt. Press towards inner border. (less seams to fold over back on themselves this way.) Now measure across the quilt from side to side and cut 4 more strips this measurement. Sew them into pairs and attach to the top and bottom of the quilt. 

Quilt or tie as desired and bind!

Simply Strippy in Blues 
58'' X 70''

Bonnie's Border Hints:

Lay out the quilt center on the floor, smoothing as you go so it is straight and flat, but do not stretch...just let it lay flat. 

Now take your border strip and lay it down the CENTER of the quilt, top to bottom, just smoothing it out. DO NOT STRETCH, just smooth, smooth. Trim it off at the bottom of the end of the quilt. 

I lay my quilt out on carpet, so I also like to anchor the beginning end of the borders with a couple of long pins stuck into the carpet. It keeps that one border end from creeping as I smooth. Cut the second strip the same way.

It is really important to cut your border strips straight across, or you can compound the problem if that angle is off from 45 degrees. If the angle is too wide, your next border will flare up at the corners. If it is too narrow, it is going to pull the top/bottom border down and your side border will be too short. 

Keep those angles square when you trim! This has ALWAYS worked for me, because when you are dealing with measuring tapes, they don't drape and lay the way your fabric does. Your border fabric is your 'measuring tape' and as you smooth it across the center of the quilt top it will lay the same way as the quilt center with no tension on it.

Sew your borders to the long sides of the quilt first, pinning the centers and the ends and easing where necessary. If the border seems bigger than the quilt top, stitch the border to the quilt with the border against the feed dogs. If the quilt center seems a bit bigger than the border, then sew with the quilt center next to the feed dogs to ease it in a bit.

Now for your top and bottom borders! Back to the floor. Lay the quilt out. Lay the border strips across the center of the quilt (including the borders you just added) from side to side. Trim evenly. Pin centers and ends and ease where necessary as for side borders. 

Some people take several measurements across the quilt and average that measurement for borders. (hear me gasping in fright here!) 

I *NEVER* "average" when measuring for borders because they can still flare, and where they are going to flare the worst is at the center of the quilt sides...That's why the CENTER measurement is the one to go for. 

If the 'averaged' measurement is longer than the quilt CENTER measurement, you are GOING to have a flared border. If the 'averaged' measurement is smaller than quilt center measurement, you are going to have borders that are too tight for your quilt center, and the center of your quilt is going to balloon out. 

Just use the center measurement and your quilt will lie flat!

Other Strippies!


Anne B. From Gloucester, England sent these pics of her strippy quilts! Anne said she used "loads of lilac and purple strips in the vertical strippy, appliqued her favourite dolphins in the bottom corner and then overall quilted it in a wave pattern on my Bernina." 

The second quilt was made for her baby niece. Great quilts Anne! 

Strippies can even have strips of a planned set of fabrics across the quilt for a more planned look!

And they can use any width strips you want!


These two strippies were made by Margaret Hunt for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort.


Official Quilt Inspector! (So far kitty thinks they are purrrrrrrfect!)
 Pics of quilts I've collected for inspiration, many antiques! Sewing strippy is NOT a new concept! 


This is one in my collection. Made circa 1920's it has lots of shirting and conversation prints.


Antique Strippy with Orange sashings 


Antique Strippy, spirals around center square!


This one goes round and round too! Circa 1940. 


wide and narrow bars!


Wooly Strippy Bars!


Whacky strippy bars and 4 patches  

 I've always been drawn to utility quilts! to me these are REAL quilts with real purpose and use for every day living!



  1. Anonymous12:12 AM EST

    What a great section! Beautiful quilts and great ideas! Love this site!

  2. Anonymous2:05 AM EST

    love seeing the variety,

  3. I am going to do this pattern this week, maybe. I am thinking i need mindless sewing, and this certainly fits the bill!

  4. Anonymous9:37 AM EDT

    Love,love love these strippy quilts; esp. your first pic (circa 1920) quilt. Thinking I could start it soon using scrapes on hand & add to it as I accumulate more scrapes/material. At the least can get rid of the mess of little pieces in all the plastic bags cluttering up my sewing area!
    S.Hull, Joplin, MO

  5. Wonderful strippy quilts.
    Am waiting for my third operation on my eyes and just started to paper piece again even seeing double. Am ready totry a strippy quilt .This gives me inspiration and I have so many scraps.
    Thanks for posting these.


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