Modern Crazy Quilt Pattern Tutorial

Crazy Quilt Squares and tools
Mollie Johanson
Overview
  • Working Time: 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 2 quilt blocks
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Crazy quilts are a great way to make fun, colorful quilts while using up leftover fabric scraps. Follow this tutorial to make your own crazy quilt block patterns. You can improvise and create a different look every time!

Victorian crazy quilts were sewn by hand, joining small pieces together in carefully planned arrangements that look haphazard. You can recreate this look in a modern way by sewing your extra fabric strips and pieces. 

Grab your scrap bin and get ready for some crazy quilting!

Note: The above supplies and tools list is for making individual quilt blocks. If you want to make a quilt or another item out of the blocks, you will need additional materials.

Crazy Quilt Square Supplies
Mollie Johanson

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Rotary cutter, quilting ruler, and cutting mat
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper

Materials

  • Fabric scraps in various sizes
  • Muslin

Instructions

  1. Start the Block in the Middle

    Cut a square of muslin as a backing piece. This helps stabilize the quilt block. For this tutorial, the muslin is 9 1/2-inch square.

    Tip: You can place quilt batting behind the muslin piece for a quilt-as-you-go block

    Choose a fabric piece for the center. Trim the piece so it has five sizes and irregular angles. Place the piece roughly in the middle of the backing fabric. 

    Each time you make a block, the middle piece should be a little different, so don't worry about measuring or making a pattern.

    two small pieces of fabric
    Mollie Johanson
  2. Sew a Second Piece to the First

    Choose the next fabric you want to add to your block. It should have a straight edge that's at least as long as one of the edges on the middle piece. 

    Place the second fabric piece face down with the edges aligned. Sew along the edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. You don't need to backstitch.

    If the second piece is longer than the first piece, that's okay! Sew only as long as the edge of the first piece or a few stitches longer.

    two pieces of fabric sewn together
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Press the Seams as You Go

    To make the process easier, always trim your threads as you go. 

    Press the seam to set it, then press the seam open.

    Tip: Your crazy quilt block involves a lot of sewing, trimming and pressing. Keep your cutting mat and ironing board close to your sewing machine for easy assembly.

    Two pieces of different patterned fabric
    Mollie Johanson
  4. Align the Next Piece to the Center Piece

    As you add fabric pieces, they will always go on the next side to the left.  

    Choose the next fabric and make sure it is long enough to go across the next side of the middle piece and the second piece you just added. Part of the previous piece will most likely show, but don't worry about that yet.

    Sew along the straight edge of the new piece with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

    Pieces of fabric stacked on top of each other
    Mollie Johanson
  5. Trim Extending Seam Allowance

    Fold the backing fabric back and away from the seam you just finished. Trim the fabric that extends beyond the seam allowance.

    As you add strips, always leave the strips uncut until after you sew over them and they are extending from the seam allowance.

    Press the seam open.

    Pieces of fabric with a measuring template on top
    Mollie Johanson
  6. Sew New Pieces Around the Center

    Add the next piece to the middle, extending all the way across the last piece. Sew, trim the seam allowance, and press.

    This is the same process for each additional piece you add to the center, and eventually all around the block.

    The beginnings of a quilt block
    Mollie Johanson
  7. Work Around the Block Counter-Clockwise

    When you add a piece to the last side of the middle piece, it can extend in both directions, attaching to the second piece you sewed.

    Continue adding more pieces around the block, always working counter-clockwise.

    An unfinished quilt block
    Mollie Johanson
  8. Piece Strips for More Crazy-Quilt Variety

    As you work around the block, the pieces need to be longer to extend across the various angles. You can use longer fabric strips, but for more variety and extra "craziness", try piecing some strips at interesting angles.

    Pieced strips of fabric
    Mollie Johanson
  9. Piece Strips for More Crazy-Quilt Variety

    As you work around the block, the pieces need to be longer to extend across the various angles. You can use longer fabric strips, but for more variety and extra "craziness," try piecing some strips at interesting angles.

    Pieced strips of fabric
    Mollie Johanson

  10. When to Remove Stitches

    As you add more rounds of pieces, the previous pieces will extend beyond the seam allowance. In order to trim them, you may need to remove some stitches so they aren't attached to the fabric backing. 

    Use a seam ripper to remove the stitches that prevent you from folding the backing away from the seam allowance. Be careful not to rip the seams you need.

    A seam ripper hovering above a piece of fabric
    Mollie Johanson
  11. Trim the Crazy Quilt Block

    Add strips around the block until the entire backing piece is covered. 

    Trim the edges so that the block is square and even with the backing fabric.

    A finished crazy quilt block
    Mollie Johanson
  12. Finish the Edges and Sew the Quilt Blocks

    Finish your block by sewing around the entire block, 1/8th of an inch from the edge. This secures the edges, making it easier to sew the blocks together.

    Traditionally, crazy quilts also have lots of embroidered lines stitched over the seams. You can use the decorative stitches on your sewing machine or try some hand embroidery. Of course, for a more modern look, you can leave your crazy quilt unstitched.

    A corner edge of a crazy quilt block
    Mollie Johanson
  13. Enjoy your Quilt!

    Make more blocks and sew them together to make larger blocks or add sashing between them. You can also use these blocks to make pillows, pot holders, and more!

    Crazy Quilt Squares and tools
    Mollie Johanson