Willy Nilly String Quilt Tutorial

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Want to turn a pile of fabric scraps into a fun, vintage-inspired quilt?

Do you like fast and easy projects?  Do stress about cutting straight or
having a super accurate seam allowance?  Do you need a mindless sewing project?  
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then my 
Willy Nilly String Quilt tutorial is for you!  
It's a fun, beginner-friendly pattern that uses up a lot of scraps!

Finished block size = 6" x 6"
Finished quilt size = 51” x 60½”

Materials needed:
Approximately 3 yards of assorted bright scraps
1 3/4 yards of background fabric (aqua)
3 1/3 yards of backing fabric
1/2 yard of binding fabric
58" x 68" piece of batting
6½” square acrylic ruler

From the background fabric, cut:
5 strips, 9¾” x WOF; crosscut into:
17 squares, 9¾” x 9¾” (cut on the diagonal twice to yield 4 triangles, 68 total)
6 squares, 5⅛” x 5⅛” (cut on the diagonal once to yield 2 triangles, 12 total)
3 strips, 3½” x WOF 

From the binding fabric, cut:
6 strips, 2½” x WOF

Block assembly:
1. Select 4-5 strips of fabric that measure anywhere from 1½” - 3” wide x 9” - 10” long.  
Cut both of the long sides of each strip at an angle. (Tip: don't trim the strips too small.  
Leave yourself at least 1" of width after cutting the angles so you will have some fabric showing 
beyond your seam allowances.)  Sew the strips of fabric together to create a section that 
is larger than 6½” x 6½”.  Press the seam allowances in one direction.

2. Lay a 6½” square ruler on top of the pieced strip section at an angle.  
Be sure the ruler is within the raw edges of the fabric and cut a 6½” square.

3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to make 33 blocks.

Quilt assembly:
For columns 1, 3, and 5:
1. Lay out 7 blocks (on-point) in a column.  Fill in the gaps with 12 triangles 
cut from the 9¾” background squares as shown on page 2.  The long edges of the 
 triangles make up the straight edges of the sides of the columns.

2. Sew the triangles and blocks together into diagonal rows.   
Press the seam allowances toward the triangles.  Trim the dog ears. 

3. Sew the diagonal rows together and press the seam allowances open.  Trim the dog ears.

4. Add 2 triangles onto each end of the column to create a straight edge.  To do this, find the center of the long edge of a triangle (cut from the 5⅛” background squares) and the edge of the block by folding those edges in half and rubbing the fold to make a crease.  Match up the creases of each piece, right sides together, and stitch in place.  Press the seam allowance toward the triangle.  Trim the dog ears.  Repeat on the remaining 3 corners.

For columns 2 and 4:
1. Lay out 6 blocks (on-point) in a column.  Fill in the gaps and ends with 16 triangles 
cut from the 9¾” background squares as shown in the quilt diagram below.  

2. Sew the triangles and blocks together into diagonal rows.  Press the seam allowances toward the triangles.  Trim the dog ears.  

3. Sew the diagonal rows together and press the seam allowances open.  Trim the dog ears.

Sew the 5 columns together as shown in the quilt diagram below.  
Press the seam allowances as desired (I pressed mine open).

Trim the selvages from the 3 background strips, 3½” x WOF. Sew the strips together 
end-to-end with straight seams.  From the pieced strip, cut 2 border strips, 3½” x 60½” 
(or your own length after measuring through the center of your quilt from top to bottom).  
Pin the strips to each side of your quilt center and stitch in place.  
Press the seam allowances toward the border strips.

Layer the quilt top with batting and backing and quilt as desired.  
Trim the excess fabric and batting.  Bind with 6 strips, 2½” x WOF.

And that's it!  What do you think?

Click HERE for the printable version of this pattern.

My Willy Nilly String Quilt is at the quilter right now so come back soon to see how I finished it!

P.S. You may notice from the pictures that my 2nd and 4th columns are slightly different than the pattern.  I used rectangles at the top and bottom of my columns instead of just using additional triangles.  Later I realized that it would be easier to just use triangles.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
And if you're on Instagram I would love to see your Willy Nilly String Quilt!
Please use the hashtag #gigisthimblepattern and #willynillystringquilt 
and be sure to tag me @gigis_thimble.

Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. Really love this fun and scrappy pattern, Thanks So Much for sharing!

  2. Gracias por las instrucciones. Está muy lindo y excelente para aprovechar los retazos pequeños

  3. Thank you for this quick and easy tutorial! I can't wait to start using up some of my scraps! I think this will be an in-between project using up scraps as I create them.

  4. Fun quilt, and such a good way to use strings/scraps. Thank you for the great tutorial!

  5. Thanks, Amber!! That looks like a really fun quilt to make.

  6. Oh my gosh. I LOVE this quilt. It reminds me of ice cream (the colors used). I can't wait to get started.


I ♥ to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment. I read each one and try to respond as often as I can. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~Amber