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Postage Stamp Quilt - Scrap-Busting Project - Month 1

Let's talk postage stamp quilts.  They are a great way to use up your fabric scraps that you just don't know what you would do with them otherwise.  Now before you turn your nose up or think it is too tedious for you it doesn't have to be.  I thought a postage stamp quilt had to be made with one-inch squares and I tried to make one like that.  I gave up, I do not have the patience to sew a million one-inch squares together and still did not see any progress on the quilt.  Quilt blocks do not have to be a certain size!  So why not make it with any size of squares that make you happy?

2022 leader ender project, postage stamp quilt, first post



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Postage Stamp Quilt


The photos of quilts in this post are stock image examples of postage stamp quilts.  Since this is a post for a project I will be working on all year I don't have anything to share that I've done.  The postage stamp quilt though is very traditional so there are lots of examples available.  I will say that I do like the look of postage stamp quilts that use smaller squares than large squares.  Ten-inch squares aren't going to give you the variety in fabrics that one-inch squares will but ten-inch squares will go together much quicker.  I want something in between there, I want variety but I also want to see progress.  

I am also planning this project as my leader ender project for the year so I want to have a decent-sized quilt come December.  When I tried this many years ago I did it as a leader ender project too.  Six months into it I had about a 12" quilt block.  I would have ended up with a great baby doll quilt.  I'm not very tall but even I need more than 24" to cover me.  

This really reminds me of the Choose Your Own Adventure Books.  I was obsessed with those books as a kid.  You can choose what size you cut your squares, how you sew them together, and how big you want your quilt to be.  

Postage Stamp Quilt Square Sizes

This is a very goldilocks moment and the size that works for me might not be the size that works for you.  Maybe you do want those tiny squares or you don't care about a lot of variety in your quilt so you want to use big squares but that's the great thing about quilts, it's yours so make it the way you want.  It's your postage stamp quilt, not mine.  

I'm using 2 1/2" squares for my postage stamp quilt.  Why?  I have a lot of scraps that can be cut down to that size so I'll have a nice variety of colors and patterns in my quilt.  I also have the die to cut 2 1/2" squares with my Accuquilt which has made cutting the fabric scraps much easier.  Ease of cutting was the biggest deciding factor for my block size followed by what I thought the final quilt would like.  

Now I hear some of you saying, "Umm, Mel, you haven't made the quilt how do you know what it will look like?"  First, I think in pictures.  I can "see" it in my mind.  If you aren't someone who can do that grab a piece of graph paper and some crayons or colored pencils and color the squares.  That way you can see what look you want.

Amount of Fabric Needed For A Postage Stamp Quilt

Since this is a project to use up your fabric scraps I'm not giving yardage.  I want you to dig into those pieces of fabrics you have saved and used them.  Instead of yardage I'm going to give you a math formula to use and some examples of how many squares you will need.  You might have to adjust your final quilt size so you end up with an even number of squares across and down.  The last example shows that, I rounded down but you could round up.

MATH FORMULA - (Finished Quilt Size Width divided by Fabric Square Finished Size) times (Finished Quilt Size Length divided by Fabric Square Finished Size) equals the number of squares you need.

Examples

Finished Quilt Size - 60 x70 This is nice size for laying on the couch and watching Netflix.
Finished Fabric Square Size - 2" We subtract 1/2" from the starting size of the square for seam allowances.

60 divided by 2 is 30
70 divided by is 35

30 times 35 is 1,050 2 1/2" squares.  That's how many squares I need to cut, thank goodness for that Accuquilt. 

Finished Quilt Size - 60 x 70
Finished Fabric Square Size - 1/2" 

60 divided by 0.5 is 120
70 divided by 0.5 is 140

120 times 140 is 16,800 1" squares.

Finished Quilt Size - 58 1/2 x 67 1/2
Finished Fabric Square Size - 4 1/2"

58 1/2 divided by 4.5 is 13
67 1/2 dived by 4.5 is 15

13 times 15 is 195 5" squares.

Cutting and Sewing a Postage Stamp Quilt

Once you know how many squares you need you need to decide how you are going to sew your postage stamp quilt together before cutting the fabric.  If you are using something other than 2 1/2" squares just sub that number in wherever I mention 2 1/2".  There are three main ways to sew your postage stamp quilt together. 

Sewing Squares 

This is the method I'm using.  I had a bunch of pairs leftover from my jellyfish project and I see no reason not to use them.  This also works well since I'm using it as a leader ender project.  When I run out of squares to sew into pairs I'll sew the pairs together and just continue doing that until I have made my top using 30 squares per row.  I'll just cut a bunch of 2 1/2" squares using my Accuquilt and I'll continue to add to the bucket as I have leftover fabric from other projects. 

Strip Piecing

Another method would be to cut strips 2 1/2" wide and sew them together.  Now if you have strips of various lengths you can add shorter strips to the longer strip if you don't want to cut them all down to the same length.  Once you are sewn together simply cut them into 2 1/2" segments and press open.  You would then sew them together like above.  

Grid Stabilizer

We live in an amazing time for quilting.  Bosal makes an iron-on grid stabilizer.  It comes in 2" grids and 2 1/2" grids. You lay your fabric squares on the stabilizer, iron it down, and the fold along the lines, right side together and sew. 

Bosal Grid Fusible Interfacing for postage stamp quilt

I can't wait to see your postage stamp quilt.  Please join our Facebook group so you can show it off. This is the first month of this project check out the rest as they go live, month 2, month 3, month 4, month 5, month 6, month 7, month 8, month 9, month 10, month 11, month 12. 

This post is part of the fabric scrap-busting blog hop.  Be sure to head over to the host post to learn more about the hop and be sure to visit Bdieges Designs.

Postage Stamp Quilt - 2022 leader ender project


Would you like to comment?

  1. I've been trimming down my scraps using the 2 1/2" die from Accuquilt but have delayed sewing them together until there is more of variety in the stacks. The last postage stamp type I made was using vintage fabric and cutting it into 2 1/2" strips then cutting and piecing that way. Hope I get to see yours when it's done.

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