On budgets and fabric stashes: how to sew more with less

Some musings on my fabric stash today … feel free to scroll ahead for pictures of some fun projects if that’s more your thing ..

Hope this post finds you well wherever you are. I’m in a wintry part of the world and it’s been a bit of a wild one. I heard someone say a few days ago that it was “the last cold day”, which sounds too good to be true! I actually love snow and cold weather, we’re just due for some change.

And speaking of change: I’m doing a few things differently these days with respect to my fabric stash. Do you have rules for yourself around how and why you acquire fabric, or is it more of a free for all? I have to admit, I’ve been more or less in the ‘free for all’ category since I started sewing. My stash isn’t out of control, but the money going out the door last year was enough to give me pause. I needed a strategy, so I chose a reasonable upper cap for my monthly spending and dove in. The amount has to cover all of my extras – clothing, books (arguably not an extra but I’m trying to build a habit here), fabric, notions, everything – so trust me when I say that I’m thinking very carefully before every purchase!

Once I started down this path, something interesting happened. Rather than feeling limited or deprived by these constraints, I felt … free! Suddenly there is no need to justify (if only to myself) starting a new quilt, because every pattern I choose now is picked specifically because I’ve determined ahead of time that it will eat up a nice chunk of my fabric stash.

Case in point: the Shimmer block-along. This pattern by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew has been on my to-do list for ever. I chose my colour scheme based on “what I have the most of” and the queen size because it will eat up a whopping 49 fat quarters and then some. Here’s my sample block.

Shimmer Quilt Pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew

I also had the great fun of testing the Woven Diamonds pattern by Claire at Peony and Fern. The pattern will be released this week! My version uses some painterly florals by Kelly Ventura, and I love the way they look with the modern minimalist design of Claire’s pattern. (Plus I used up a bunch of Kona yardage!)

Woven Diamonds pattern by Peony and Fern

Next on my to-do list is the Chamomile quilt by Allison of Woodberry Way. Yes I’m joining another quilt along, and I don’t feel bad about it at all! This is the perfect way to use up your low volume fabric stash as well as some solid yardage. This one starts April 1, so there’s plenty of time to join in and do the same. Here is my initial pull:low volume fabric pull


Rainbow quilt patterns

Rainbow sewing projects have been on my mind lately, so I thought I’d round up some of my favourite modern rainbow quilts and rainbow quilt patterns from across the quilting community to share with you. (All photos below are the property of the linked makers – please visit their sites to learn more about their work!)

Chenille Rainbow Quilt

This amazing new work by Lysa Flower¬†stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. Check out her Instagram for more details about her process, but as you can see she’s used a technique to create these gorgeous chenille rainbows on a pre-quilted top. (Honestly I did not even realize until now that chenille was something one could make!)

Rainbow Chenille Quilt by Lysa Flower

p.s. There is also a great feature on Lysa and her work in Love Patchwork & Quilting, check out Issue 70!

Rainbow Stripe Quilt

This beautiful Sashed Rainbow Baby Quilt by Allison Jensen of Woodbury Way is on my to-do list. It’s one of three variations on a rainbow stripe quilt that she explains how to make over on her blog. (The others are a Simple Rainbow Baby Quilt and a really cute hand-quilted Rainbow Stripe Pillow.)

Rainbow Stripe Baby Quilt by Allison Jensen

Retro Rainbow Quilt

Megan Collins of Sweet Feet Stitches is the designer of the fantastic Retro Rainbow Quilt. It’s funny, considering we’re talking rainbows, that there aren’t a lot of patterns out there that use curves (in fact I think this is the only one I’ve seen). They’re made for each other! (There’s also a really sweet alternate ‘sun showers’ version in Megan’s shop which one of the stripes consists of patchwork.)

Retro Rainbow Quilt by Megan Collins

Rainbow & Heart Paper Piecing Pattern

For you paper piecing fans I’ve chosen a rainbow quilt pattern with a twist, in this super sweet Rainbow & Heart pattern by Susan of Quilty Pie. I’ve tried Susan’s patterns and in addition to being completely cute, they’re very logically and thoughtfully put together – so important in a paper piecing pattern!

Rainbow Heart Paper Piecing Pattern by Quilty Pie

Rainbow Log Cabin

If you’re looking for something quick, easy, and scrap-friendly, my rainbow log cabin quilt block tutorial is just that, and a great project for a beginner. I love log cabins because once you get going you can sit yourself down with a pile of strips and more or less wing it.

Rainbow Log Cabing Quilt Block Tutorial by Patch and Dot

Mini Rainbow Quilt

Last but not least in our collection of rainbow quilt patterns, a mini rainbow that uses a combination of traditional patchwork and applique. (It’s also free!) I wanted to make a wall hanging that was modern, and good for pattern mixing. After making the bold version below I think next on my agenda is to make one in sweet pastel florals.

rainbow mini quilt pattern

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I heart you quilt along progress

My “I Heart You Quilt” is just about finished! This pattern is a collaboration by Pen and Paper Patterns and Then Came June. Over January they ran a really fun quilt along and I can’t believe how much progress I made. It’s a testament to this pattern that it came together so quickly, and now I have a quilt top, ready in time for Valentine’s Day.

I Heart You Quilt Along

There is lots of opportunity with this quilt to play with different print mixes. I went with a combination of pinks and acid lime greens for my heart blocks.

Heart Quilt Block Pattern

The blue background fabric is from Art Gallery Fabric’s “Signature” collection by Sharon Holland.

I Heart You Quilt Along


The pattern – available from both Pen and Paper Patterns and Then Came June as part of their Modern Holiday Quilt collaboration

Alternate scrappy patchwork version