Run Out of Sewing Steam? How to Make the Most of Unfinished Quilts

Run Out of Sewing Steam? How to Make the Most of Unfinished Quilts

Tess Wilson
Feb 9, 2017
(Image credit: A Beautiful Mess)

You started your quilt so full of optimism, hope, wholesome good intentions, and what I like to call The Fun Parts of Little House on the Prairie Delusions, and now the gravelly words of Jack Donaghy are ringing in your ears: "Oh, come on. Lemon, if there's two things l'm certain of, one is you will never finish that quilt...." The other is that he's certain you can salvage whatever work you've already done and turn that failed quilt into a successful... something else! Here are equally satisfying ways to make the most of what you've made.

(Image credit: Coco Lapine Design)

Quilted Bench Cushion by Coco Lapine Design

If your unfinished quilt is rectangular in nature, this project is for you. Add a zipper in a contrasting color for a bit of zest (and to make your cushion cover easily washable).

(Image credit: Anna Buckner)

Deep End by Anna Buckner

Artist Anna Buckner creates her quilt paintings by stretching small quilts on stretcher bars typically used for canvases. In her own words, "I piece the fabric scraps together forming a quilt top that is then stretched on a support." You can use Maria Elkins' detailed tutorial, or just staple gun the thing to the stretcher if you are ready to be DONE.

Boho Modern Patchwork Pillow by A Beautiful Mess

This project only requires a small portion of a quilt, so you should probably just give up on finishing that sucker right now. Back your cushion cover with one of your original fabrics (or a coordinating one if you've already cut all your fabric into ill-fated quilt pieces) and add some tassels for sass.

Quilted Wall Hanging from Love Patchwork & Quilting

Speaking of tassels! If you admire this Karen Lewis wall hanging, finish the edges of your quilt portion as if you were finishing a full-size quilt—so satisfying—and adorn it with as many tassels as you can stand to make.

(Image credit: Becky & Lundy)

Mini Quilt Swap by Becky & Lundy

Create a gallery wall that's a monument to your failed quilts, and no one will be the wiser. As suggested by Becky & Lundy, you could even cut down unfinished quilts into smaller portions, finish them, and swap them with the other slackers in your quilting bee.

(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

Framed Quilt Squares by Martha Stewart

If you've only gotten as far as making squares (and only a few at that), make your lack of stick-to-itiveness look modern and intentional by framing your squares. They'll be so much better protected than on a bed!

(Image credit: A Beautiful Mess)

Quilted Art by A Beautiful Mess

If you've gotten further than a couple of squares, you can frame a somewhat larger piece and display as handmade, somewhat abstract art.

(Image credit: Film in the Fridge)

Quilt Square Potholders by Film in the Fridge

Transform your squares into potholders and give as gifts—just be sure to keep a pair for yourself so you can be proud of yourstitching skills every time you cook. Use Purl Soho's hot pad tutorial to get started.

Mrs. Bannister's Star Pillow from Quilt Lovely via Raspberry Sunshine

This review of Quilt Lovely includes detailed instructions for converting a portion of a quilt into a delightfully plump throw pillow.

(Image credit: Purl Soho)

Quilted Pouch by Purl Soho

If you have truly tiny bits of quilts finished, convert them into fabulous pouches and purses that will we widely admired.

When in doubt, call it a baby quilt! You'll get the damn thing finished, and a baby will get a cozy heirloom to treasure forever: win-win.

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