Improvisational Piecing

Improv piecing; crazy quilts; quilt as you go; all of it describes a style of quilting that I never thought I would be comfortable with. Fortunately, I have a business partner – my mom – who is always coming up with new things for me to try.

Result? A super-cute block using scraps from my stash and absolutely no measuring, whatsoever.

crazy quilt block

This technique is used a lot in of modern quilting, but you also see it in older, traditional quilts called “crazy quilts”, that often have embellishments along the seam lines.

I literally pulled some scraps out of my scrap basket, and tried to get colors that had at least a passing familiarity. They’re all kind of light, springy colors, right? Right.

I knew I wanted to keep the little girl’s face, so I started by attaching some muslin to one side.

Actually, it’s probably easiest if I just show you in pictures.

improv piecing step one
She’s so happy! She’s from the Wonderlandia line by Katarina Roccella.
improv piecing step two
Our muslin is pressed to the side, and a scrap from Fig Tree & Co gets sewn across the top.
improv piecing
And now, a purple damask strip slantwise across our piece. Because we can.


cut apart
That purple strip we just added? I think I’m going to cut part of it off and incorporate this blue scrap now.
improv piecing step five
We’re starting to get somewhere!
crazy quilt block


For some reason, I don’t have any other pictures of the between steps. Probably because I got into a sewing/cutting/pressing frenzy and forgot to take any.
At any rate, continue adding (and subtracting?) pieces until you get to the size you want your finished block to be!  I didn’t need this to be very large, because I was just planning to use this as the peek-a-boo section for my reverse applique.
Still confused, or want another example? I love this tutorial from Rebel Craft Media.

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