String Quilt How-To

A recent completed goal of mine was to create a quilt series. To see what I could learn and how much I could produce. It brought me to scrap management and colour work.


In order to work in a series I created a plan to make a quilt per bin of scraps, I have 6 colour bins. Each quilt would use the same pattern and technique. I landed on string quilting after seeing it on Youtube as a suggested way to use scraps. I was very happy with my results. I like heavier quilts and due to the amount of thread that was used and amount of fabric strips used these quilts ended up being heavy even though they are only 60" square.

How I Started...

Scrap Management; When a fabric ends up in my scrap bins it is smaller than a 10" square and no bigger than a 1" square. I organize it all by colour in 6 categories. Black, Brown/Orange/Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink/Purple/Red, and White. When I was prepping for my string quilts I separated my bins between a string/strip and crumbs. While I was sorting my colour bins anything that was too small or I really was not going to use was added to my Zero Waste Cubes (more to come on this, I am working on a pattern).


Check out my "running a zero waste studio" blog post for more!

Pattern Requirements...

  • (100) 7" by 7" batting square or scrap fabric for foundation
  • Bag of strips
  • Blender thread for top thread
  • Leftover bobbins, we all got them. This is a great way to use them up!
  • Seam roller or close iron

Making the Block...

  1. Place first string diagonally on foundation right side up, be sure strings reach the end of the foundation.

  2. Add next string, placing RST (Right Sides Together) with 1st string and pin in place.

  3. Sewing with a qarter inch seam allowance, sew the 2 strings together thus secuing it to your foundation piece.

  4. Press and repeat until foundation is completely covered.  

The images below will show you exactly how to do the above steps. Hover over the images to pause.

*Best to have contrasting fabrics next to each other and avoid the same fabric touching, The end result you'll see more of a diamond effect.

**This is a great way to use up the triangle cut-offs or odd shaped pieces with the end pieces needed.

Squaring up the block...

  1. Right side down place square ruler onto foundation, lining up 45 degree registraiton line parallel to stitches.
  2. Square up block to 6.5" square.
    • *Toss off cuts into the cube (more to come with the zero waste cube, stay tuned)
  3. Repeat for all completed blocks.


*I use washi tape to mark where I need to line up cut edges. This prevents me from having a mistake after all that work of string piecing.

Assembling the Quilt Top and Quilting...

I take all 100 squared blocks and make them into a 4 square block then assemble the quilt top, I found that this helped line up the seams.

  1. Take 4 squared up blocks and arrange them to be a diamond.
  2. Sew top 2 and bottom 2 together RST *pay attention to the orientation*
  3. Press seams open, if you are using batting be aware all seams from now on will be bulky.
  4. Match middle seam, pin, and sew.
  5. Press seam open.
  6. Repeat until 25 diamond blocks are made.
  7. Sew 5 diamonds together to make 5 rows, pressing seams open.
  8. Sew rows together and you have a quilt top!

Quilting the beasts. I used batting as my foundation so I did not use batting when quilting the top to the backing. I free motion longarmed all 6 colour series quilts with different motifs. I used the series to practice different stitch styles. When quilting be aware of the bulkiness of the seams! Have fun with the quilting, it is just scraps...

Things I Learned...

You need more strings than you think, most likely.

Using a consistent fabric for the first diagonal strip is very effective for creating the diamond shape. (see Black Quilt)

Using batting for foundation is great to use up the scraps, but makes seams extremely bulky. If I was to do this again I would frankenbatting a full quilts worth and use scrap fabric as the 7" foundation square.

My confidence skyrocketed after seeing the series hanging at Quilt Fest in Leduc, AB in October 2022.

Final Thoughts

Let me know your thoughts! I love using scraps in my quitls. I can tell you where every fabric in my scrap quilts got used. That brain power is insane. Stay Excellent!

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