Do you notice anything unusual about this block?
What about now? Do you see it?
Surprise! One of those orange strips was pieced together from scraps.
I always seem to be just short of enough fabric to piece a particular block, and I often do this kind of thing. However, I recently worked out a much easier method and thought I would share.
Let's say I need a 12 1/2" strip of this big floral print, but I only have 11 3/4.
Fortunately, I have another small piece of the same print.
I first need to check to make sure that I'll be able to match up the repeat in the fabric. This method will only work if you can match the repeat and will usually work best when you sew two pieces together to make a larger piece that you then cut down to the size you need.
I start by pressing the edge of the piece I'm adding under by about 1/4" - 1/2". The size of the fold isn't as important as the fact that it should be as straight as possible.
I then lay the folded piece of fabric on top of the larger piece, lining up the repeat in the print.
Notice that this won't necessarily be right at the edge of the fabric. (How far from the edge you'll need to go will depend on the size of the print.)
Now that I know where I'm going to put it, I remove the folded piece and use a water-soluble glue stick to lightly brush the folded edge with glue.
Here I've returned the folded piece to the same location and press into place with my fingers.
Note: I determined location, removed the folded piece and only then put on the glue to prevent the glue from drying and/or getting smeared all over the fabric while ideal placement was being determined. If you have a hard time remembering where you had lined up the prints, don't hesitate to mark your fabric with disappearing ink before removing the folded piece.
I carefully moved the glued fabric to my pressing area and pressed the fold with a hot iron to really secure the glue. After I did this, I was able to open up the folded fabric (as shown above) without it coming loose from the other piece.
I then sewed the two pieces together, keeping my stitches right on the crease created by the fold.
Now that the pieces are sewn together, I opened up my (formerly glued-together) seam allowance and pressed it open. Because of the glue residue, I covered the seam with some scrap fabric before pressing.
I trimmed away the excess seam allowance, making it the same on both sides of the seam.
And here's the finished piece. As you can see, it isn't 100% perfect, but it's certainly usable -- kind of like those emergency substitutions in old-school cookbooks.
Once I cut it down to size, the piecing is even less noticeable.
Here's an example of the same thing done with a more subtle print.