If you’re a quilter, you know you have a ton of scraps from past projects.
But what do you do with them?
Scrappy quilts are some of the most fun, quirky styles of quilts you can make, and today, we’re going to focus on a specific type of scrappy quilt called a string quilt.
We will go over what a string quilt is and how to make one, and then look at 15 eye-catching string quilt patterns to inspire you and show you what is possible with those strip scraps.
- What Is a String Quilt?
- How Do You Make a String Quilt?
- 15 Gorgeous String Quilt Patterns You’ll Love
What Is a String Quilt?
A string quilt is a design that utilizes thin strips of fabric to create beautiful, scrappy-style quilt blocks.
However, these blocks are not pieced like “normal” quilt blocks. Instead of simply sewing the strips together, you will use a foundation piece of fabric, interfacing, or paper to help the strips keep their shape and give them a solid foundation to stay together.
If you have ever done a quilt-as-you-go project, the piecing for a string quilt is very similar. We will go over that in detail in the next section.
Since we use a foundation piece, we can use extremely narrow strips of fabric without fear of stretching or falling apart during construction or use.
This quilt is an excellent way to use scraps and your creativity to make a one-of-a-kind gem.
How Do You Make a String Quilt?
Using this quick and easy string quilts tutorial, you can create a string quilt block that you can use for an entire quilt. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors and prints; that’s the beauty of scrappy quilts.
Step 1: Decide Your Block Size
If you are using a pattern, that will tell you what size block you will be making. If you are making the blocks on your own, you need to decide what size you want the blocks to be.
To decide this, look at the strips of fabric you want to use and figure out the longest strip you have and how many of that length you have.
For this example, I will make a 9” block. My first couple of strips need to be at least 14” long since I will lay the strips diagonally on my foundation piece.
Step 2: Cut the Foundation Piece
Since I want to make a 9” block, I will cut my foundation piece slightly bigger at 9 ½” square. This will give me a ¼” buffer on all four sides of the square.
I am using solid white quilting cotton for my foundation. If you use paper, keep in mind you will need to tear the paper away on each block before you create your quilt top. Using the fabric takes away that step and keeps everything secure.
Step 3: Gather Your Strips (Strings)
I have a bunch of fun pink scraps from years of making various baby quilts, so I will use some of those for this example block. As you can see, several of my scraps are wide.
Ideally, for the strips, you want strips ranging from 1”-2 ½” in width. I will cut the wider pieces into various widths to make a fun, quirky string block.
Step 4: Sew the Strings
Now comes the fun part! Place the foundation piece on a diagonal and choose your first two strings. You want them to be long enough to cover the two points of the foundation piece. Place the two strings right sides together and lay them down on the center of the foundation.
Sew down the right side of the strips with a ¼” seam allowance to attach them to the foundation.
Press the strings open with your iron.
Choose two more strings to add to the block, one for each side. Lay the two strings right sides together with the strings you already sewed down.
Take the block to the sewing machine and sew the next two strings to the foundation.
Press the strings open.
Repeat this process until the foundation piece is entirely covered by strings.
Step 5: Trim the Strings
Flip the block over so the foundation piece is facing up.
Trim the block down to the size you need it to be. I will trim mine down to 9”x9”.
And there you have your beautiful string quilt block!
15 Gorgeous String Quilt Patterns You’ll Love
Now that you know how to make a string quilt block let’s check out 15 beautiful string quilt images to give you some inspiration for your string quilt project. These quilts are an outstanding representation of what’s possible with some scraps and a little imagination.
1. Diamonds on a String
This quilt pattern by Heather Kojan is a fantastic start to our string quilt collection. This pattern will show you step-by-step how to make these diamond-shaped blocks.
She wrote the pattern to include four sizes: baby, toddler, throw, and twin, so depending on how many scraps you have, you should be covered. You could easily make an even larger quilt by adding blocks and rows to the twin-size option.
Let’s take a moment and appreciate these color choices for this quilt.
This example quilt shows us how we can use scraps from different projects to make a fun and colorful string quilt. This pattern includes four sizing options and is an excellent, beginner-friendly project.
3. Zigzag String Quilt
Here is a fun, unique take on a string quilt that uses rectangle blocks to create a zigzag pattern all over the quilt top.
This pattern details how to make the blocks using the foundation piecing technique. It will also show you several color variations to inspire your color selection.
4. Pasta Please
Here is a simple string quilt with sashing. I love how the sashing is also scrappy, keeping the entire quilt top in the scrappy theme. This pattern will show you how to make this 65”x72” quilt using scraps from your stash.
If you have kids interested in sewing, this would be an excellent project for you to do together.
5. Small String Quilt
If you don’t have a massive amount of scraps, or a large quilt project isn’t what you are looking for, this pattern is a great choice.
This pattern will show you how to make these beautiful 8”x 10 ½” rectangle string quilt blocks from start to finish. The finished quilt, including borders, will measure 49”x59”.
6. Diamond Dish
Here is a fabulous quilt pattern that looks retro and modern with its unique diamond-shaped blocks.
The instructions show you how to make a 45”x58” quilt top, including the beautiful sawtooth border. The pattern includes instructions, photos, and YouTube links to tutorials for specific steps.
This excellent pattern will show you how to make this fantastic honeycomb design if you want a modern take on a string quilt. The finished quilt will measure 56”x75”. The pattern is well-written and includes several how-to photos for each step.
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This quilt may look crazy complicated, but the designer promises it’s not as complex as it may look. Her instructions show you step-by-step how to make these gorgeous string fan blocks.
The finished quilt measures 66” square, an excellent throw-size quilt. This would be a fun project with your girlfriends or quilt guild.
9. The Optimist
Here is a beginner-friendly string quilt pattern that you can use with scraps or jellyroll strips. The pattern will show you how to make a 60”x72” quilt top.
The sashing between the large string quilt blocks gives this quilt a modern look and helps the blocks pop!
10. String Me Along
Wow, this is about as eye-catching as it gets. This quirky, fun quilt pattern shows you how to make these gorgeous diamond string quilt blocks from your scraps. The pattern will show you several layout options to make your quilt one-of-a-kind.
11. Ferris Wheel
Several of the quilts in this collection are designed by Karen Griska, including this beautiful pattern. The placement of the fan blocks gives this quilt a cool 3D effect and movement. This pattern will help you create a twin-size quilt measuring 65”x81”.
12. Tangled in the Kite Strings
This pattern is similar to #10 in this list with its beautiful diamond-shaped string blocks and modern layout. However, this pattern shows you how to create larger quilt tops. The two sizes included in this pattern are throw (52”x61”) and twin (64”x82”.)
13. Double Wedding Strings
This gorgeous pattern combines classic string quilt blocks with a double wedding ring design to create this unbelievable design.
Don’t let the double wedding rings fool you; this is a beginner-friendly project, and you can do it! The finished quilt will measure 58”x73”.
14. Silly Strings
Every quilter should make at least one rag quilt in their lifetime. They’re so fun to make, and this pattern will help you make a rag quilt that uses string quilt blocks. The finished quilt size is 54”x72”, an ideal size for a throw.
15. White Rose
Here is a beautiful pattern that shows you how to make these string quilt blocks, similar to my tutorial, but then the designer brings the quilt top to the next level with this gorgeous rose applique piece. The pattern includes the templates for the flower pieces.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the string quilt pattern today. Whether you use our tutorial or one of these fabulous patterns, remember quilt making is fun and creative! Now you know what to do with all those scraps you’ve been hoarding. I know I’m going to make one.