Improv Strip Block – A Tutorial

Improv Strips Block Tutorial

This morning I was looking around at the unfinished projects in my sewing room, trying to figure out what to work on next. Then my eyes settled on the Kaffe Fassett stripes I bought at the quilt show in Cincinnati and I thought, why not start something new? 🙂 They are really so beautiful, it’s amazing I haven’t cut into them until now.

Kaffe Stripes

I thought I would share my process for making the above block. It is improvisational and hopefully you will find it quite simple to make. I am using fat quarters for this project, but really this would work using strips of scraps as well. Just make sure your scrap strips are at least 12.5″ long.

Step 1

Step 1. Select your fabric and cut it into strips of random widths. I cut 2″ to 3.5″ stripes.

Step 2

Step 2. Randomly sew 2 to 3 strips together lengthwise. The resulting rectangles should be at least 5″ wide.

Step 3

Step 3. Cut a 3.5″ x 3.5″ square for the center of your block. Select 4 strips from Step 2. From these strips, cut 2 pieces 3.5″ x 5″ and 2 pieces 5″ x 12.5″.

Step 4

Step 4. Sew the 3.5″ x 5″ rectangles to the top and bottom of the center square.

Step 5. Sew the 5″ x 12.5″ rectangles to the left and right of the block.

Improv Strips Block



  1. Reply


    June 14, 2011

    These are gorgeous Faith. Thanks for the awesome tutorial!!

  2. Reply


    June 14, 2011

    Lovely! Are you making a whole quilt?

    • Reply


      June 14, 2011

      Yes! The strips go together so fast and make enough for several blocks, I think a quilt top will come together fairly quickly this week. 🙂

  3. Reply


    June 14, 2011

    Oooo! Stripes play!

  4. Reply


    June 14, 2011

    Those stripes are so fun! Can”t wait to see your top come together!

  5. Reply


    June 14, 2011

    Beautiful! I have such a stack of Kaffe stripes. this is a great idea. thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Reply


    June 14, 2011

    Oh yes, with fabric like that – why not make something new?

  7. Reply

    Kate Conklin

    June 15, 2011

    Beautiful! Such a great use of those gorgeous stripes.

  8. Reply


    June 15, 2011

    I think this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing and having a tutorial on your block.

  9. Reply

    Cyrilla Francis

    October 17, 2011

    Awesome. Finally, a tutorial on how to make these beautiful blocks. Thank you, Faith from Chicago 🙂

  10. Reply


    January 16, 2012

    I am just looking at your blog for the first time. Really nice! Thanks for the gift of your ideas. I like this block so much! I have some leftover chunks of borders that were pieced. I can see using this method to build blocks out of the leftovers and then using these to make unique tote bags or purses.

  11. Reply


    February 8, 2013

    Beautiful -great composition!

  12. Reply

    Cindy Pilkington

    January 23, 2014

    I love the Kaffe materials too! I’ve just started quilting and just discovered your blog. Do you have a picture of the finished quilt using the Kaffe stripes? Please email me a link if you do!

  13. Reply

    Teresa Palmer

    November 24, 2014

    I’ve been drawn to improv quilts, but didn’t know how to start. Thank you for this post!


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