Whenever I make a project, I always like to keep the leftovers. I can see endless possibilities for patchwork projects using pretty much any scraps! The ones that get used the most often are the linen and cotton leftovers. Then the denim. Then the knits. Knits are a harder one to find uses for! They can be great for kids clothing and sewing underwear, but they don’t get used for patchwork as often. Today I am here to show you how to make that happen!
Psssst—I’m using our Jackson Tee and Pullover pattern for this tutorial, you can get it in our pattern shop. It’s on sale right now for 20% off!
Quick Guide Tutorial
- Decide on the breaks in the pattern and cut it up
- Add seam allowance to all cut lines
- Use similar fabrics (weight, drape, and stretch) when cutting out the project
- Sew the scraps together to assemble the main pieces
- Sew main pieces together
First, you need a basic knit pattern that you like the fit of. I’m using Jackson because it is the perfect basic t-shirt and I already know that I love it.
Next, brainstorm ideas for how you want to break up the pattern into smaller pieces. Keep the size of your scraps in mind, so if you have a lot of little scraps, you need smaller areas. Larger scraps can be combined simply by using the existing breaks in the pattern. For example, you can sew the front piece with one fabric, the back piece with another fabric, and each sleeve pieces with yet another!
We’ve got a free printable sheet of tees and/or pullovers templates available for you to download. Print them out and play around with designing your own colourblocked top!
As you can see, you can add breaks horizontally or vertically. You can also play with curves or diagonals! Straight lines that are on the grain or cross grain are going to the be easiest to sew. Diagonal or curved lines are more challenging! If you want to add a chest pocket, you can check out our tutorial for that here.
For my colourblocked tee example, I’m going to try one with a few straight line breaks. First, trace a full pattern piece in order to visualize the whole project.
Next, mark your lines on your pattern pieces and add the grainline to all pieces. Cut up the pattern following the lines.
Add in the seam allowance on all cut lines. We’re using a ⅜” (1 cm) seam allowance so that is what I am adding here.
When you cut out your scraps using these new pieces, still keep in mind the grainline and try your best to pair similar fabrics together. I’m using all leftover cotton jersey fabrics. If you try to mix a really slinky knit with a more structured one, you may get some strange results.
Now you are good to sew! I’ll start by re-assembling the back and front of the tee along my new lines. I’m using my serger to do this and I’ve got my differential feed cranked up to avoid any waves in my seam. You can totally sew this using your regular machine as well. I recommend a lightning bolt stitch if you have it. I am pressing my seams to one side.
Once you have the tee back to where it was originally (all main pieces are fully assembled), you can proceed to sew the project as normal.
And that’s all there is to it! The possibilities are truly endless, so you can use up all your scraps playing around with different ideas. It does take practice to get those seams to lie nice and flat and to match up intersecting lines, but it’s also quite forgiving because even when it is a bit wonky, it looks cool!
Let me know if you give this a try and tag us on social if you share!
Psssst – Jackson is on sale right now for 20% off!