De-stash! 2 smart ways your stash can help you finish your quilts

Ah, fabric stashes, we love you! You inspire us, you motivate us, you make our quilting dreams a reality.


And then other times, we look at you and think: okay, you’ve gotten a little out of control here.

Today we’re sharing two simple ideas for shrinking your stash—they’ll simultaneously make a dent in your piles and help you finish your quilts! These tips come from Stash Lab author Tonya Alexander, a talented woman who wrote an entire book about her stash, so you can bet she knows her stash stuff.

Stash Lab

More Uses for Stash Fabrics

Excerpted from Stash Lab by Tonya Alexander

Stash fabrics aren’t just for quilt tops. You can put them to good use in other ways.

Pieced backs. Wide backing fabrics are nice, but the back of your quilt is also an ideal place to use up your stash. Fabrics don’t even have to be used in the quilt top. It’s an opportunity to creatively piece odd, random fabrics together for a unique and interesting backing. Here are my suggestions.

  • Make sure the seams on the back don’t land on what will become fold lines of the quilt. I tend to fold things the same way, whether it’s towels, quilts, or bed sheets, so I try not to have backing seams directly on the fold lines. Think about how you fold your quilts, whether they’re on a shelf, in a drawer, or on the back of the couch.
  • Consider how the project will be quilted. For hand quilting or special quilting motifs that you want to show up well on the back, choose solids or subtle prints with light patterning. Conversely, when practicing free-motion designs, prints with a busy pattern or design will hide a world of imperfect stitches.
  • Think about thread color. For machine quilting, it’s best to match the bobbin thread to the top thread, so choose fabrics that will blend well with the thread. That will help disguise any tension issues.

Leaf Pile quilt - scrappy pieced backing
This scrappy pieced backing is from Tonya’s Leaf Pile quilt

Scrappy bindings. A scrappy binding can be a perfect finishing touch on a scrappy quilt. I prefer binding cut from 2½"-wide strips—this is a standard size, so I always have plenty to choose from. It makes sense to use the strips for binding, and it adds a bit of interest.

scrappy binding
Tonya made a scrappy binding for her Sunny Side Up quilt

Ready to transform your stash into fabulous finishing fabrics? Download a free scrappy quilt-backing tutorial in this post; then get tips for sewing scrappy binding strips together in this post.

Scrappy backings and bindings: heck yeah! or no thanks? Tell us what you think in the comments!





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