Fabric Collage and Inchie Quilts

Fabric collage is a fun and simple way to create a new fabric from bits and pieces of existing fabrics and trims. This was my first try at it, and the result was really surprising – in a good way.  I was a bit sceptical at first that it would turn out to be anything more than a big mish-mash of scraps, but once everything was stitched down it all seemed to settle into a cohesive piece of fabric.

I started with a square of batting topped with a square of backing fabric. Then I took some scraps of various quilting cottons and some green silk and placed them in a fairly random way on the background. I chose fabrics that had similar colours and vibrancy, and added some dark fabric to balance it a little bit. Once I had covered all of the background fabric, I pinned the pieces down and stitched back and forth enough times to catch each piece at least once. I used a cotton thread in a purple colour that seemed to blend well with everything. I also used both straight and zigzag stitching. When that was done, I added some coordinating ribbon and decorative yarn for embellishment.

fabric collage

Under the encouragement of our class teacher, I cut the fabric collage up into one inch squares to create inchies – tiny quilts. It took a bit of a leap of faith to chop that pretty collage into bits, but I think it was worth it. Each one was different and interesting.

fabric collage cut into inch squares

Now that I had 36 tiny inchies, I needed to make something out of them. For my first inchie quilt, I went with something pretty simple. I found a piece of dark batik to use as a background for them. I like the way it recedes and lets the inchies do all the work. This background is about 9 inches by 9 inches, and I marked off my finished size of 8 inches by 8 inches with a fabric pen. I tried out a grid of 5 by 5 inchies on the background first.

inchie quilt trial 1

That looked okay, but it felt too crowded, so I cut it back to 4 by 4. I liked that a lot better. I also decided that I liked keeping the inchies arranged in the order that they were in before I cut the collage up. I like that you can look at each inchie individually, or step back and see the larger pattern from the original collage.

inchie quilt trial 2

For a rough and tumble look I left the edges of the inchies unfinished. I layered the quilt with batting and stitched the inchies onto the background in a simple grid.

first inchie quilt

Here is the finished inchie quilt, trimmed down to an 8 inch square. Click for a closer look.

first inchie quilt finished

I love the way this turned out. I like the balance between chaos and order created by the random collage fabrics and raw edges of the inchie squares and the rigid grid of the inchies and the quilting stitches.

I used some of the remaining inchies in a second, very different small quilt. That will be for the next post, though, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m busy tearing my sewing room apart for a big declutter and reorganization. It’s a big mess in here, but when I’m finished I hope that I will have a more efficient space. I’m also participating in the Tour de Fleece again this year, so I’ve pulled out my spindles and roving and am doing some spinning. I’m once again in Team Bacon Cakewaffle – official team of the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group Group on Ravelry. I’ll try to get some spinning posted as we go along.

4 thoughts on “Fabric Collage and Inchie Quilts

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