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Do you want to make something for a friend that holds a special meaning? Recycle fabric that brings back happy memories such as that old favorite shirt you use to wear when you hung around together at the store as teenagers or a piece of an old baby blanket that you used when walking your children together - the possibilities are endless!

There are basic techniques to crazy quilting and I will try and touch on each method. Some are easier than others and may be more appropriate for beginners. Remember that it is important to iron as you go along to help keep your patches from puckering.

Terminology for crazy quilting

Crazy Quilt Handbag using a combination of the Antique Method and the Landscape Method

  • Antique Method of Crazy Quilting - This is called the "antique method" because it is believed that this type of crazy quilting was used for the antique quilts that still exist today. This method is a little harder but allows for greater creativity and a softer look to the pieces in your quilt. Start with a foundation - I recommend muslin in a 14" x 14" square just to get the feel of what you are doing. Start by cutting and laying a piece of fabric in the corner of your muslin. Lay a second patch either underlying or overlying the first piece by a little more than 1/2". Continue until the entire piece of muslin is covered with pieces of fabric that you pin in place.

    Now go back to the first piece of fabric and press under the overlapped edges and pin in place. Continue with each patch, pressing and pinning until every patch is finished. If you want any trimmings, such as lace, ribbon, etc., now is the time to add this special touch to your design by also pinning it in place. Now sew you pieces together and to the muslin foundation.

  • Landscape Method of Crazy Quilting - Using the Landscape Method is easier than the "Antique" Method because you don't have to constantly make decisions on which edges will be turned under because each patch is finished as you go. Patches with 90 degree angle or other large angles are better to use in this method because the corners will finish easier. The term "landscape" comes from the way the patches used in this method tend to look like a landscape, giving the impression of rolling hills.

    Start at one corner and place your patch, pressing under the edges. Continue placing patches and fill the bottom of your foundation piece of fabric (I prefer muslin). When placing your quilting patches, tuck one side under another and press the edges that are exposed. Keep patching until you have filled up your muslin.
    Continue adding patches in this manner and keep sewing with your machine. If it becomes impossible to use the machine, turn them under and press with your iron and sew by hand.

  • Sew and Flip Method - Start with a foundation such as muslin measuring no larger than 12" x 12". Your beginning patch should be about 4" x 4" and 5 sided. Take your second patch and lay it on the first with right sides together. Sew along one side leaving about 1/4" at the ends of this fabric patch. Do not backstitch because you may have to remove some stitches from the ends.
    Keep adding patches and cut away any excess fabric from previous patches. Have all your fabric pieces with straight edges for ease in sewing and continually iron to keep your fabric from puckering. This is the fastest method I have found but you don't have as much control over your pattern.

For all these crazy quilting techniques, there are really no hard and fast rules. Have fun and don't stress because this is your design! If there are parts of the muslin showing, simply cut another patch and sew it on. Don't be afraid to try prints together and unique combinations but, above all, show your creativity! 

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