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Things to Make with Leftover Quilt Blocks

If you’ve been quilting for a while, you may notice that you accumulate many individual quilt blocks over time. These are commonly referred to as “orphan blocks.” If you’ve been looking for suggestions on what to do with all those blocks, I hope this article helps!

Collage of many colorful quilt blocks on table

Recently, I’ve shared quite a few free patterns for unique quilt blocks. Most block patterns were shared as part of a block challenge or quilt along.

gray and colorful quilt blocks folded

I’ve most recently shared all of my Riley Blake Block Challenge blocks. If you’ve created all of your blocks, you have 16 individual quilt blocks at the end of the challenge.

You can use one of the free finishing patterns provided as a part of the Riley Blake block challenge or design one of your own!

multiple pink and green and blue quilt blocks on white wall

Our new block of the week series may also help add to your sewing space’s growing pile of quilt blocks!

Even following a quilt pattern, you may end up with leftover quilt blocks. These could be blocks that needed to be redone, extra blocks from creating half-square triangles (or similar quilt blocks), or test blocks that you create when trying out a new pattern!

blue and green quilt blocks on gray table

(my 2022 Riley Blake Block Challenge Blocks)

With this in mind, I thought I’d share a quick roundup of things you can make with individual quilt blocks! Everything from pillows to bags!

What Can I Make With Leftover Quilt Blocks?

You may wonder what to make with the blocks from the various hosted quilt block challenges or quilt blocks leftover from another project!

The July Quilt Block of the Month; the Ohio Star Quilt Block, includes full measurements and directions to make the block.

You can turn the blocks into a unique and colorful sampler quilt, but what are your other options if you don’t want to make a quilt?

Here are a few ideas for you.

Things for Your Home

Pillow Covers

Use a single or a few blocks to create a decorative pillow cover.

two black and white pillows on couch outdoors with halloween quilt

One of the most common ways to use a single completed quilt block is to turn it into a quilted pillow. If you’d like some inspiration, you can find a lot of free quilted pillow patterns on our site. The pillows above were created from a single 20″ Sawtooth Star Quilt Block.

Reading Pillow Pockets

You can also turn a quilt block into a pocket for our Reading Pillow pattern.

Book Pillow Sewing Pattern

Table Runners

Sew a row of blocks to make a table runner.

close up of quilting on fabric

(Spring Bee Table Runner – Free Pattern)

Sew 4 or 5 completed quilt blocks together in a row, and you’ve got the perfect quilted table runner!

Here are a few examples!

Liberty of London Christmas Table Runner on table

Improv Pieced Christmas Tree Block Runner

Quilted Table runner on table with dishes

Bless this Nest Runner

Wall Hangings

Frame your favorite quilt blocks or sew them together for a unique piece of wall art.

Barn quilt block on wall with farm toys

Turn a single quilt block into a banner! The quilt block above makes a really cute addition to your home decor (would also be adorable in a kids room) – pattern is by Bev McCullough

quilt block wall hanging on blue wall
Used with permission from Quilts & More magazine. ©2021 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Star Quilt Block hanging above is a project I designed for Quilts & More magazine. It would be great to display your collection of enamel pins!

Placements

Create a set of matching placemats.

blue quilted placemat

This quilted placemat features four economy quilt blocks with added borders to turn it into a rectangle. You could also do this with one large quilt block.

Pot Holders and Oven Mitts

Turn quilt blocks into practical kitchen items.

Round pot holders on white table

Any 8″ quilt block would fit in the center of our Pot Holder Parade pattern. Wouldn’t that be a cute addition to an already cute project?

Coasters

Valentine Heart Coaster on white table

Small leftover quilt blocks make great drink coasters!

Mug Rugs

quilted mug rug pattern on table with cup of hot chocolate

Turn a single small quilt block into a cute Mug Rug. If you’re looking for inspiration, we have over 25 free Mug Rug patterns on our site!

Accessories

Bags and Totes

Use quilt blocks as panels for bags, totes, or purses.

Quilt Block Tote Bag Tutorial

This tote bag features leftover Halloween quilt blocks, but you could use any of your favorite blocks instead. In our free tutorial, we teach you how to turn quilt blocks into a tote bag.

How to add a dresden plate to a tote bag

You can also decorate bags with individual quilt blocks! I machine-appliqued a Dresden quilt block to the corner of my travel bag.

Zip Pouches

Sew a block into a small zip pouch for holding cosmetics, sewing supplies, or other small items.

Free tutorial for a polaroid quilt block zip pouch - such a cute way to store your sewing or quilting supplies!

I used a few leftover Polaroid quilt blocks to make a zip pouch. You can find the tutorial on our site.

Notebook Covers

Create a unique notebook or journal cover using quilt blocks.

blue and white striped note book on white & black polka dot tablecloth

This notebook cover features wool applique, but you could also swap out a single quilt block!

Gifts Bags

Make reusable fabric gift bags using quilt blocks.

drawstring bag with heart on table with school supplies

Amy Smart turned a large Heart Quilt Block into a cute drawstring gift bag!

Baby Items

Use colorful quilt blocks to create quilts, bibs, or play mats.

two colorful patchwork bibs on a white cutting mat

The quilt piecing on this baby bib is improvisational, but there’s no reason you couldn’t start with a completed quilt block! If it’s smaller than the pattern piece, add borders until it’s the correct size.

This is just a small sampling of what you can make! If I missed something, let me know in the comments section!

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4 Comments

  1. I love this. I have lots of those small triangles from cutting out diamonds for star quilts. Thank you for all the 💡 ideas.

  2. The first thing that I do with orphan blocks is to pick one to use as my quilt label. Hey, it’s ready to go and matches the front. The second thing I do is piece them into the back of the quilt that “created” them. Third, I make a doll quilt from them. This also helps clean up any larger scraps left from cutting. By the time I do these three things, my sewing area is usually clear of all the left over bits and pieces, including the HST’s that were made from trimming corners that were “snowballed” and HST’s for the quilt that were made by sewing the diagonal and trimming. Finally, all scraps smaller than a fat quarter go into one of four boxes: red white and blue for Quilts of Valor, Reproduction fabrics, flannel, and other quilting cottons. I give them to a local quilter who is a member of the local QOV group and a guild. She keeps the reproduction pieces and brings the others to QOV and guild meetings for members to take what they want. I find this is the quickest and easiest way for me to deal with bits and pieces and not be overrun.

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