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What To Make With Small Fabric Scraps: Crumb-Pieced Half Square Triangles

Have you ever wondered what to do with your itty-bitty fabric scraps? We're talking about the ones that are bigger than 1" but smaller than 2.5".


I used to hoard my tiny scraps, but never actually used them because the thought of turning them into a whole quilt was so intimidating. But not any more! What if I told you that I finally used up all of these scraps and made a quilt top that was quick and easy!? Because I did, and not only did it turn out GORGEOUS, but my scrap bucket is finally empty!


Are you ready to turn your tiny scraps into a finished quilt? This tutorial will walk you through using your small fabric scraps to create simple half square triangles (HSTs for short) that you can turn into a quilt that is sure to become an heirloom.



How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


I feel like I’m always torn between being being really minimalist and just composting all my scraps and being really thrifty and saving every teeny little piece like a hoarder.


It’s about a 50/50 situation. Sometimes I save them, and sometimes I just want to move on to the next project. And it kinda depends on how much I love the fabric. If it’s something I really adore, I will keep and use every last inch of it.


In this tutorial, we're going to sew those tiny scraps together into five inch blocks using a method called crumb quilting. Once we’ve made the crumb blocks, we’re going to combine them with our favorite five inch precuts to make half square triangles.




Crumb quilt block with ruby Star Society selvesdges. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs



Want to watch the video tutorial? Click the play button below!







I like to start by sorting the scraps by cool and warm colors. This is completely optional, but I want my finished quilt to have a bit of a gradient. I’ve even left some pretty bits of selvedge in there for fun (we all know Ruby Star has the best selvedges!). If you don't want to sort your scraps, that's cool, too! The scrappier, the better, right?



How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


Next we’re going to head over to the sewing machine and start chain piecing these crumbs. You can take one of your longer strips and lay several smaller pieces on top of it one after another, and just sew down the entire strip.


You should definitely try to use your smallest pieces first and save the bigger ones for the next round of sewing.


Now we’re going to the cutting mat where we’ll cut the chain-pieced bits apart.



How to trim crumb quilt blocks. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


After you have the pieces cut apart, you’re going to press them. It doesn’t really matter what direction you press at this stage.


After you press, it’s time to head back to the sewing machine and add another round of fabric. You want to be conscious of making your blocks as close to a square as you can. We don’t want our blocks being long and rectangular. By this point, you should have used up most of your tiny pieces, and are moving on to using the slightly larger chunks of fabric.


Repeat pressing and sewing as many times as you need to get your squares larger than 5". Just set aside the blocks that are over five inches square, and keep adding to the ones that aren’t.


What if I run out of long strips?


You might run out of strips long enough to keep adding to the squares, and it’s perfectly fine to cut a few new strips to add to the blocks that still aren’t big enough. Yes, this is a scrap quilt, but the quilt police aren’t going to kick in your door if you cut a few inches of new fabric to help things along.


Make each block at least 5" square


Head back to the sewing machine and finish sewing your blocks. Keep sewing, cutting, and pressing until they are all at least five inches square. I like to lay a precut 5" square on top of the crumb block to make sure it's big enough.



Trimming crumb quilt blocks. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


Finishing up


You'll need one 5" solid square per crumb square that you've made. You can use precuts if you want, but I like to to cut my own. For this project, I used a rainbow of shot cottons from Benartex.



A vibrant rainbow gradient of shot cottons by Amanda Murphy for Benartex Fabrics. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


Draw a diagonal line on the back of each five inch square, and center them on the finished crumb blocks. Place a pin on each side of the line to keep them from shifting while you sew.



How to make crumb quilt blocks. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


Sew a quarter inch seam on each side of the line. Cut them apart on the line, and remove the pins.



How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTsHow to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


Square up the blocks to four and a half inches, and trim the dog ears. I use the Clearly Perfect Slotted trimmer, but there are many other great rulers out there.



How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs. Trimming with the clearly perfect slotted trimmer.


Press them a final time. If I send you away with one piece of advice from this tutorial, it’s that you absolutely need to set your seams before you open your half square triangles. Just press the block for a few seconds while it’s still closed, THEN open it and press toward the solid piece of fabric. This makes a huge difference in how flat your final blocks lay.



Pressing crumb quilt blocks. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


And we're done! Make as many blocks as you have fabric for, and don't forget to tag me on social media with your finished quilt, because sharing is caring!


Want more scrap quilting inspiration? Check out these other blog posts:




How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs

How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs

Photo description: a circle gradient of crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to make crumb-quilted half square triangles. How to combine tiny fabric scraps with charm packs to create scrappy HSTs


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