How-to: Sew a Postage Stamp Quilt from Small Fabric Scraps

postage stamp quilt tutorial (9 of 9)

Would you like to sew a quilt using only your fabric scraps that are so small that any normal crafter would toss them in the trash?

You bet you would!

Postage stamp quilts have no rhyme or reason other than that they’re made of teeny, tiny (1.5″ tiny!) squares of fabric. You can trade postage stamp quilt squares with other crafters, or sew entirely from your own scraps. I’ve been working on my postage stamp quilt for years, now, and I don’t expect to finish it until I’m old. My quilt blocks have fabrics from the first gifts that I sewed for my daughters, from fabrics that I dearly loved, used up, and then forgot about until I noticed them again in this quilt, and fabrics that are scraps from the curtains, pajamas and quilts that we’re using right now. It’s my own version of (nearly) zero waste fashion!

Here’s how to start creating your own postage stamp quilt:

postage stamp quilt squares ironed to interfacing, ready to sew into one block
postage stamp quilt squares ironed to interfacing, ready to sew into one block

Fabric: For the most accurately sewn result, use only your fabric scraps that are approximately the same weight. I do combine quilting cottons, flannels, vintage polyesters, and even the occasional silk scrap (if it’s VERY special), but I do not use jersey knits, denim, or upholstery fabric in my postage stamp quilt. Those types of scraps can be used as part of a felt and fabric matching game for children, if you’d like to preserve them.

Sizing: Although you can sew your quilt however you like, the traditional postage stamp quilt is sewn from 1.5″ square pieces, which are sewn with 1/4″ seams, so that the result is a finished quilt consisting entirely of 1″ squares. The finished quilt is astounding, but, of course, starting with 3″ squares will get you done in half the time, so there you go. Go a little larger, and include just two of each fabric, and you can make yourself an I Spy quilt.

Sewing: The process for sewing a postage stamp quilt is actually surprisingly easy. Here’s a really simple way to handle the construction:

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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  1. Ok, this is the coolest trick I’ve learned in a while. We don’t have a lot of scraps at the moment, but I think I might have to pick out a few that we do have and put them in a shoe box with this post printed out. Most of my sewing lately has been from out-grown clothes or hand-me-downs, but I do have a few special pieces I think.

    Thanks!

  2. Keep an eye open at Thrift Shops, Church and Charity “Rummage Sales/ Indoor Garage Sales” and even Ordinary Garage Sales. I have picked up Baggies full of small scraps, and if I have too many of a print I can always swop with a friend! Mind you I have scraps from making my own clothes in my early teens; and I’m well and truly a “Senior” now! Also I have seen many “Novelty Prints” that when cut into small pieces will yield many different squares. Sometimes those “PANELS” provide a huge assortment, also those no longer fashionable pieces that you cut up and sewn to make a “Christmas Stocking”, a “Dressed Doll or Bunny”, and the rest.

    You could also put a set of 20 3″ squares into SIX envelope and send it to Six pals Each person removes their set of 20 pieces and puts 20 pieces in to Six envelopes to send on to six of their pals then posts it on. By the time they all get back to you you will receive Six sets of 20 pieces of totally different fabrics.

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