Project Design Team Wednesday~Scrappy Improv Wall Hanging

Posted by administrator on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

scrappy improv wall hanging
designed by Heather Jones for Riley Blake Designs
Looking for something to make with your leftover scraps of fabric? This simple project transforms leftover bits and pieces of fabric and makes a completely unique wall hanging out of an improvised log cabin quilt block. It's a great project to polish up your quilting skills with, too.
Please read all instructions before getting started. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch.
scraps of Riley Blake cotton fabrics (I used a variety of Riley Blake basics in chevron and solid cotton)
all purpose thread
machine quilting thread
rotary cutter
cutting mat
clear plastic ruler
sewing machine
cotton batting
pins safety pins

1. Begin by cutting your fabric scraps into strips of various widths. Since the block will be completely constructed by improvising, there is no need to measure anything precisely in this project. 

2. From one of the strips, cut a square to use as the center of your block. We will build the improv log cabin block around this center square. I used white solid cotton as my center square.

3. Cut two pieces from another strip to make the top and right side pieces of the first tier around the square. Again, since this is an improvised log cabin block, there is no need for precise measuring. Just make sure that each tier is at least the length of the side you'll be sewing it to.

4. Place the first strip on the square, right sides together, and sew it to the top of the square. 

Press seams open.

5. Using your rotary cutter and a straight edge, trim off any excess length from the strip.

6. Sew the second strip to the right side of the pieced section. 

Press seams open.
7. Cut two more pieces from another strip to make the bottom and left side pieces of the first tier. Again,  there is no need for precise measurements. Just make sure that each piece is at least as long as the side you will be sewing it to.  

8. Sew the bottom strip to the pieced section.

Press seams open.

9. Sew the left side piece to the pieced section. 

Press seams open. 

Here's what your block will look like after the first tier has been sewn on. As you can see, I used white solid for the center square, and orange solid and aqua chevron for the first tier.

10. Use your rotary cutter and straight edge to trim up any long edges of the strips, as needed.

11. Repeat steps 3-10 to make another tier around your pieced section. 

I used the orange chevron and a pale blue solid as my second tier. 

12. Repeat steps 3-10 to make a third tier around your pieced section.

13. For added variety, or to add length to a strip that may not be long enough to use, you can piece any tier out of a number of different scraps. Just lay out the pieces you'd like to use together, and sew each piece, right sides together, until your strip measures your desired length. Press all seams open.

Once the pieced strip is complete, trim any excess fabric using the rotary cutter and straight edge ruler.

Then use the pieced strip just as you would any other tier in the block. I used my pieced strip as the bottom piece of my third tier.

14. When you are happy with your pieced block, finish it by adding some wider strips of a sold fabric. I used white to repeat the center square that I started with. Add the last tier of strips just like you did all of the others, and press your seams open when you are finished.

15. Square up the block using the rotary cutter and straight edge. I trimmed my block so that it was 14 inches wide and 17 inches long, but feel free to make the final size of your block whatever you'd like.

16. Cut a scrap of fabric that is about an inch larger than your pieced block front to use as the back of the wall hanging. My backing is about 15 inches by 18 inches. Cut a piece of batting the same size of your backing, and make a quilt sandwich out of the three, with the pieced square front on top, right side up; the batting in the middle; and the backing, right side down, on the bottom. 

17.  Use safety pins to bast the three layers together. I prefer to use curved quilting safety pins because they are much easier to open and close than regular ones.

18. Quilt as desired, using machine quilting thread. I chose to quilt mine with straight lines, using white quilting thread and my walking foot.

19. After you finish quilting, trim off the excess batting and backing fabric with the rotary cutter and straight edge ruler.

20. Bind as desired. I make my binding by cutting 2 1/2" strips of fabric, which I sew together and then pin to the mini quilt and finish by machine.


For more information on how I bind my quilts, please visit my tutorial on how to attach quilt  binding by machine on my blog.

And you're finished! 

You can hang your scrappy improv mini quilt using stainless steel mini bulldog clips attached to nails for a clean, modern look. 
I hope you enjoyed this improv project. I can't wait to see your own versions!



 Thanks so much Heather!
Great idea and WONDERFUL use of Chevron!
Please visit Heather at 
Have a great day everyone!


Category: Project Design Team Wednesday


  1. Love the way the white frames it out....beautiful!!!
    by simplesimonandco
    September 26th, 2012 at 9:03 a.m.
  2. I love the grays with the aqua and oranges.
    by Cindy
    September 26th, 2012 at 11:20 a.m.
  3. I love the straight line quilting! I really love this idea...great tutorial!
    by Becky @ Ucreate
    September 26th, 2012 at 1:34 p.m.
  4. I love this, Heather! That's a perfect mellow blue to complement the bold orange, and the gray helps to ease the contrast too. Nice color combo and design!
    by Nancy
    September 27th, 2012 at 8:43 a.m.
  5. OMG!!! Heather this is wonderful... But you design many wonderful things!
    by Sally Johnson
    October 08th, 2012 at 1:04 p.m.

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