Piecing a Crazy Quilt block
using the stitch and flip technique

Are you ready to unleash your inner artist and create a crazy quilt block unlike any other?

In this tutorial, I'll be your guide as we embark on a journey of creativity and self-expression. piecing together a crazy quilt block. With each step, you'll add a new patch of fabric, creating a kaleidoscope of colors and textures that will leave you breathless.

But this isn't just any ordinary quilting technique! Think outside the box and let your imagination run wild as you choose your unique arrangement. This is your chance to break free from the constraints of tradition and create something truly one-of-a-kind.

And if you're a history buff, you'll love learning about the Victorian crazy quilts that inspired this technique. But let's not get too caught up in the past - it's time to get stitching!

Whether you prefer the meditative rhythm of hand-stitch or the speed and precision of a sewing machine, creating a crazy quilt block with your own hands can be a deeply satisfying experience but 30 hour days would also be useful, eh?

I stumbled upon a bag of fabric offcuts in a local craft shop and my eyes lit up with excitement.

Among the treasures was a gorgeous fabric printed with juicy strawberries, plump raspberries, and sweet cherries.

I also found a vibrant pink and a creamy white with shimmering gold dots. I scoured my scrap bag for additional pieces that would complement or contrast with my chosen fabrics, ensuring they would enhance my crazy quilt block. After washing and pressing everything, I was ready to dive in.

Are you ready?

The completed block

Cutting the first fabric patch (1)

Adding the first fabric piece

To start, cut a square of muslin or calico for the backing fabric, 1 inch (2.5 cm) larger all around than your desired finished block size.

I used an irregularly shaped piece of yellow taffeta from my daughter's bridesmaid dress to make my first patch. Being translucent if I had used it later in the process, the seams would show through the delicate fabric. 

I laid the taffeta on the background square, slightly off centre. 

Cutting the second piece of fabric (2)

Cut a rectangle of gold-spotted cream fabric, allowing a quarter-inch seam allowance. Lay it on top of one of the edges of the first patch, right sides down. Pin in place, then stitch together with back stitch or a sewing machine.

Photo showing where the next fabric piece will go

Pressing the seam and trimming

Press the seam and trim off the edge of the rectangle that juts out beyond the end of the yellow patch. Open out the second patch and press flat.

I like to keep a folded terry towel on my worktop so that I can press as I go along.

Turn the foundation square one quarter turn to the right.

Adding a new piece of fabric (3)

Adding another piece to the block

I chose the strawberry fabric as the next to include in my crazy quilt block. The pattern had the benefit of giving me a nice straight line to stitch my seam along.

This patch overlays the edges of both existing patches. Stitch and then press the seam as before. 

Building up the crazy quilt block

After pressing the seam, trim off any extra unwanted fabric. Turn your block one quarter turn to the right.

Adding the next patch (4)

marking the seam on a darker coloured fabric

Use tailor's chalk or a disappearing ink pen to mark the seam allowance on darker, plain fabrics, if desired. 

Lay this next patch along the next side of the original central patch. Continue your seam until you have joined this along the entire length of the first and the existing patch.

Don't worry about that little section of strawberry fabric sticking out. That will be trimmed afterwards.

Trimming the additional fabric

After pressing the seam, I trimmed the pink rectangle at an angle in order to add some variety to the shapes in my finished project. I left the trimmed section beside the patch so that you could see what I removed.

Continue to add further patches (5)

Pinning the next fabric piece in place

I made this next patch from a nightdress my daughter used to wear when she was a toddler.

Lay this rectangle along the fourth edge of the yellow patch and on top of the pink patch, ensuring it fits along the edges of both patches

The quilt block so far

Adding a longer strip of fabric (6)

With this patch we are now moving on to longer strips. This one fits along the edges of the central yellow patch, and also along the one we just added above.

I picked a piece of fabric from an old blouse that I tie-dyed back in the 1970's for this patch and positioned it so that the creamy coloured area met the printed fabric of the last patch, and the yellowy/orange section met the cream spotted fabric.

This patch completes our first "journey" around the crazy quilt block.

We are still turning the block a quarter turn after attaching each strip.

In the photo you can see that the "nightie" fabric actually takes us to the edge of the foundation square on that side of our yellow shape. This won't always happen and you would normally continue adding patches all around in a second journey. For this block, we will only need to add shapes to the existing patches on four sides.

The fabric pieces numbered in the order they were added

Continue to add another "round" of patches (7)

In this photo I have numbered the patches in the order that I attached them. As you can see, I stitched the green patch (from my daughter's old skirt) to patches 2, 3 and 6.

After stitching and pressing, I have trimmed this patch to a slightly more angled shape.

Pressing the seam open

Adding longer pieced strips (8)

The next patch will lie alongside patches 3, 4 and 7 and therefore will be longer. To avoid our crazy quilt block ending up looking stripy I seamed two fabrics together separately for this length.

Adding further patches to the block

On attaching this pieced strip to the block, I was careful not to position the seam so it matched up with any other already on the block.

Piecing on the diagonal (9)

piecing on the diagonal

Again, for this strip I pre-seamed two fabrics together, this time on the diagonal.

Rather than trimming the existing patches to shape beforehand, I laid the new strip in place, along patches 4, 5 and 8, stitched it and then trimmed off the excess from previous patches. I wanted to create a triangle from the existing dark pink patch.

Adding the diagonal pieced patch

As you can see in the photo, I positioned the printed fabric in this strip next to the solids in the existing crazy quilt block and vice versa.

Adding one last long pieced strip (10)

Reaching the end of the crazy quilt block process

For the last pieced strip I seamed the darkest green and more strawberry fabric together and stitched them to patches 6 and 7.

All that's left now are the corners.

Completing the corners of your crazy quilt block

Completing the corners

When adding the corner pieces I tried to ensure that the patches were different shapes and sizes. I balanced the existing dark pink patch with a second piece of that fabric in the bottom right corner. Similarly, I used the light pink, cream spotted and "nightie" fabrics again for the remaining corners.

The last job was to trim the overhanging patch edges even with the foundation square and the block is ready for the decorative stitches.

I created this quilt block using the stitch and flip technique of crazy patchwork.

I hope the step-by-step photos and instructions have helped you to see that it is simple to piece your blocks and lots of fun. Now it's your turn.

Come back when your block is ready and we will start the embroidery phase.

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