Are you tired of making the same old quilts with the same old, perfectly sized, perfectly shaped, perfectly even square patterns? If so, it might be time for you to get crazy and try a crazy quilt!
A crazy quilt is a quilt pieced together with various materials in various shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. You can use nearly any kind of fabric that you want, in any pattern you want – the possibilities are endless!
To give you an example, Carol Leather of Needlework Tips and Techniques uses a myriad of household fabrics for her quilt. For the quilt block in her tutorial on the Needlework Tips and Techniques website, she used a piece of her daughter’s taffeta bridesmaid dress, a piece of an old nightgown, and several loose pieces of scrap material she got from a crafts store. You can really use just about anything, which makes this the perfect quilt to express your personality!
To get started, you will need to gather the pieces of material you would like to use on your quilt, as well as some muslin for the foundation. Cut the muslin into squares, making one square for each block you will be using on your finished quilt. Quilter’s Cache has a helpful chart you can use for figuring out how much muslin you will need, as well as how many quilt blocks you need to make based on your desired quilt size.
Next, select a piece of fabric to start with, and cut it into your desired shape. You can use triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, hexagons, circles, hearts… basically any shape you can dream of, you can use!
Pin or glue the shape to the muslin square in the desired spot. Cindy Hathaway from Fons & Porter’s Sew Easy tutorial video below recommends starting with the “statement piece,” the one that you want to be the main focus (or the one that will be the hardest to work around).
Depending on how you want your finished quilt to look, you can pin your second piece to the quilt at this time as well. Using a ¼ inch seam, sew the first side of the first piece to the muslin. Fold over the muslin when you are finished, and cut away the excess material from that piece (making sure to leave a ¼ inch of excess for the seam). Finger press (or use an iron to press) the seam, and then you are ready to move on to the next piece.
One at a time, add the rest of your pieces, using this same technique. As Marcia Hohn of Quilter’s Cache explains, the idea is that each time you add a new piece, you are covering up the raw edge of the piece you added before.
Keep going until all of your pieces have been added. Cut off any overhang around the edges, and voilà: You have the first crazy square of your crazy quilt!
Here's another example, made by Abby Holverson and posted at Instructables:
You can see the full process in detail in the video from Fons & Porter below. As Cindy states, you can use any type of material or scraps for this quilt, and they can be any length, width or shape. The most important thing to remember about crazy quilts is just to have fun!