String Piecing Scrap Buster Quilts

This is a repost from a year ago. I am making MORE of these rectangular string pieced blocks. And I still can't use up my scraps!

I taught a series of classes in Atlanta that used Kaffe Fassett fabrics. As you can imagine, we had leftovers! After about 5 workshops I developed an easy way to use them up. (Who am I kidding? You will NEVER make a dent in your scrap bag!)

This is called "string piecing" and has been a technique in the quilt world for well over 150 years. It was used by frugal quilters who saved every single scrap piece of fabric and then made her own "fabric" by stitching on a foundation.

I string pieced a few dozen 45 degree diamonds, too! My Lone Star quilt (top) is finished. More on that later. But I thought I would tease you with these.

Paper pieced (string pieced) 60 degree diamonds
Here is the first quilt I made. Notice that the blocks are rectangles. And they are foundation pieced using newsprint! You can buy what I call "Doodle Pads" at Target, school supply aisles in grocery stores, and don't forget the Dollar Store. I have even used tablets that measure 9" x 12". No problem. They fit together when you use the same size!

Scrap Buster blocks make an awesome quilt: 49" x 59"
Any size scraps will do. Let me show you! Draw a diagonal from one corner to another as shown. There are TWO blocks with strips going in opposite directions as shown below.

Rectangles of paper (I'm using 9" x 12" paper for these samples)
Now let's see some of the steps:

1. Select a strip that is longer than that center line.

First strip
2. Select a second strip and place it right sides with the first strip. Pin in place. Make sure edges extend beyond paper.

Audition strip

2nd strip aligned and pinned.

3. Now it's time to sew. 1/4", but you don't have to agonize about this. This will be close to an improvisational quilt.
4. Press open and keep adding strips until the surface of the paper is covered. You stitch and flip, going from one side to the other. Finish those corners with a rough cut triangle.

Entire paper is stitched
5. Now to trim
Trim away excess beyond paper on all 4 sides.
And how does this look from the front? Lovely, huh? I pieced these this week using 9" x 12" paper.
First block trimmed
And the second block? Notice that the diagonal in the first block goes from top left to bottom right; the diagonal in second block goes from top right to bottom left.
Two blocks side by side
And four blocks together:

Four Blocks (9" x 12")
Now it's time to remove the paper. I'm going to do that while watching Dancing with the Quilt Stars on TV! Take care to support the stitches at the edge of paper. You don't want to open the seams.

Got one done.
Paper removed from string pieced block
And how do 8 blocks look? I love these!

8 String pieced rectangular blocks: 9" x 12"
I no longer have the quilt shown at the top. It was gifted to a family member who was recovering from surgery. I may keep going with these blocks to make another one quilt. Here is a picture of a quilt one of my students made. She took it even further to make a bed sized quilt.

Bed sized quilt by Anne Forman of Atlanta, GA
If you feel you need a real pattern with supplies and more diagrams, you can find it here: String Pieced Scrap Buster Quilt at my Etsy store.


  1. Hi Debby! Thanks for the tutorial and the great pictures. These look like easy and quick blocks to make. ~smile~ Roseanne

  2. Your quilt is very pretty Debby. I am sure the person you gave it to enjoyed it very much.
    When I want to do some mindless sewing, I make string blocks. I now have a big stack of them and I need to make them into a quilt. I have been thinking that I might like to use them as the center of star blocks. I think they would be very pretty and I could make bigger blocks at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Those Kaffe Fassett diamonds are gorgeous. I got me an old telephone book that I am using to strip piece blocks.

  4. These are fun to do! I like the different variations! I'm using some old Birds and Blooms magazines. They rip pretty easy, but I've learned to do a little back stitch on the ends. I don't like having to go back and restitch.

  5. I got a quilt pre-cut jelly roll kit, but no instructions were with it. I am trying to find out the name of the pattern and how to piece it together. It has a diamond made from 3 stripes and it makes a star in the middle when done. It is Gracie's schoolhouse classics and Marcus fabrics. could you please help me with this.


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