South Sacramento Quilts for Kids

We make quilts for kids in crisis from donated and discontinued fabric.

Tube Tops – Easy Tricks for Patchwork Quilts

 Using WOF (width of fabric )** strips to make tubes, you can quickly create patchwork quilts in several different designs. Whether you have a lot of scraps to use, or you want to create a more structured design, Tube Tops makes it easy. Optional variations are at the bottom.

Pictures to match instructions coming soon.

Materials for “What a Scrappy Kid” quilt – approximately 40” x36”

Ten 4.5” WOF strips

1 ½ yards batting

1 ½ yards backing fabric

Thread (gray is a good color to use if your fabrics are all different colors. Or pick the most prominent color in the scraps)


1. Lay out strips in an order you like. Try to lay the strips so any printed selvage (the words describing the fabric) are all at the bottom.

2. Sew the strips together…don’t worry about the ends not meeting – it is not necessary to pin, just let the feed dogs move the fabric without tugging or pushing. WOF are the stretchy direction of fabric, so you don’t want to pull one fabric more than the other – it will end up with a pucker. 

Iron the seams all in the same direction.

3. Make the tube. Lay the quilt top face up and fold in half so the seams run up and down and the wrong side is up. Sew the seam so all the sewn strips form a tube.

4. Lay the tube flat with top edges even. Cut across the bottom to even up the edge – this should also cut off any printed selvage. 

5. Decide how many strips you want (I cut eight ~5” ones for Scrappy. Remember each strip uses ½ inch for seams.) Cut across the tube – making narrower tubes. You can make them the same width or varying widths. 

6. Layout the tubes, rolling individual ones up or down to get the design you want. If you roll each tube ½ block, instead of a full block – you avoid having to match seams…and eliminate the bulk of four pieces of fabric coming together. Here are some samples:           

Straight across bargello


half stepping stone random


7. Putting tubes together. Lay the first tube right side out. Turn the next tube inside out, slip over the first tube, and roll to align blocks as desired. Sew the seam on the right hand side. Turn tube right side out.

      Continue to turn the next tube inside out, slip over the sewn tube, stitch, and fold out until all tubes are sewn together. 


8. Cutting tube open. Lay completed tube flat and smooth out. Pick a spot – it really doesn’t matter where, unless you have specific blocks you want to highlight – press fold flat and cut edge with scissors (DO NOT cut through two layers of fabric).


9. You have a completed quilt top! Bind and quilt as you like. This is a great quilt for “stitch in the ditch” quilting…stitch right down the vertical seams. Check our quilting hints page for different ways to bind your quilt.

** WOF width of fabric is the measurement across the fabric. It usually runs from 42-45 inches. Don’t worry about the different widths of various fabrics…it will all be fixed during construction. If one is quite a bit shorter, you can

Finished Quilt