Looking for a custom gift that’s also cozy and cute? Put some bits and bobs of leftover fabric to (gorgeous!) good use and make a patchwork throw. We’ll show you how.
What You’ll Need
- Chenille fabric scraps in coordinating colors
- Cutting mat with grid
- Rotary cutter
- Backing (we used a soft minky fabric)
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Lightweight quilt batting
- Binding fabric or binding tape
- Basic sewing tools
Using the cutting mat, straightedge and rotary cutter, measure and cut 5 ½-inch squares from the chenille scraps (be prepared—chenille is seriously messy when cutting).
We cut 120 squares for a finished throw approximately 50 x 60 inches. Start arranging the squares side-by-side and row by row to the desired size of your finished fabric, adjusting here and there for a pleasing mix of patterns and colors. Once it’s all laid out, snap a photo for reference.
With right (as in fabric-front) sides of two chenille squares together, sew a ¼-inch seam down one side.
On the opposite edge of the first seam, add another square, and continue adding until you have a complete short row of 10 squares.
Sew 12 short rows of 10 and press all seams.
Lay out your rows to check the arrangement and the distribution of color and pattern. Refer to your photo, if necessary.
When you’re satisfied, place two short rows right sides together, pin, and sew a ¼-inch seam down the edge.
On the opposite edge of the first seam, add another short row, and continue adding until you have a complete patchwork top for your throw.
Press all seams.
Cut a piece of backing fabric the same size as the top of your throw (or sew together three strips of narrower fabric to make a piece in the correct size). Cut a piece of batting the same size as your top. Stack the pieces together, trim as needed to square the throw pieces, and pin.
Because the chenille is already patterned and very textured, we opted for a stitch-in-the-ditch quilting— a technique that places stitches within a seam or a hair’s width away from the seams (see the video below). While stitching in the ditch is most often accomplished by machine quilting with a walking foot (also called an even feed foot) you can do it by hand, too.
Start your quilting in the center of the quilt and work out to the sides to minimize any puckering. Or, if you prefer, take your throw to a professional quilter to complete the quilting. This can run you around $50 to $100 for a project this size.
Sew strips of binding or use binding tape to finish the edge of your throw. Measure your throw along its top and along one side. Add the two lengths together and multiply that figure by two. Add 20″ or so to the total to determine how much binding you’ll need to surround the quilt if you plan to use continuous strips and miter the corners.
Cut strips from selvedge to selvedge (i.e. the woven edges that prevent unravelling) until you’ve cut enough fabric to surpass the required length.
Place two fabric strips right sides together, perpendicular to each other. Strip ends will overlap. Secure with a straight pin. Don’t join strips with straight seams across their ends, because that method creates a binding with too much bulk in one spot.
Mark the top strip on the diagonal, beginning and ending the line at the inward corner where the two strips intersect. Sew strips together on the marked line.
Trim away the excess fabric, leaving about a 1/4″ seam allowance to the right of the seam line. Press the seam allowance open.
Trim off the little triangular nubs that are at the ends of the seam allowance — they extend past the sides of the strip.
Join more strips until you have assembled the binding length required for your quilted throw.
Press the strip. Fold it in half lengthwise and press again if you are making a doublefold strip.
Stitch the binding to all sides of the throw, mitering the corners as you go (see how here).
Turn the binding and hand-stitch all around to complete the throw.
A chorus of vintage chenille pieces nearly burst into song when stitched into a lightweight throw that’s sure to perk up the sleepiest sofa or bench.
If you have enough leftover scraps, make a coordinating pillow or a gift for another special someone. Twelve scraps make up the front of the pillow. After stitching those together, cut a matching piece of backing fabric. With right sides together, sew all the way around four sides, leaving a small opening to stuff the pillow. Turn pillow cover inside out and insert polyfill into opening. Pin the opening closed and sew it with a blind stitch.
Throw created by Elaine Anderson (aka the world’s best neighbor)
© Caruth Studio