The Art of Darkness

Tutorial: Crazy Quilt Vest

This tutorial is for a vest, but you can use the same basic technique for any other sewing project.


  • Vest pattern of your choice
  • An inexpensive base fabric (like muslin)
  • Enough fabric scraps to cover the muslin
  • Thread
  • Decorative elements such as buttons, charms, etc. (optional)
  • Embroidery floss (optional)
Click the thumbnails for larger images.

Muslin Base

Begin by cutting all of the vest pattern pieces out of muslin.

Baste a scrap of fabric, right side-up, onto the right side of a pattern piece.

Adding Scraps

Lay another scrap, upside-down, along the edge of the first scrap. Stitch across that edge of the second scrap, making sure that the basting will be hidden inside the seam line.

Second Scrap

Fold the second scrap over the stitching and baste the other three sides down. If part of the fabric “overflows” off the edge of the pattern piece, baste along the edge of the pattern and then trim the excess fabric.

Finished Pattern Piece

Cover the rest of the pattern piece in the same manner, stitching along one edge of a scrap and then folding it over. When you run into spots where one raw edge will cover another, fold under about 1/4″ of the top fabric and stitch it over the other one. You can just use a straight stitch, but if your sewing machine does decorative stitches this is a fun place to use them.


If desired, embellish further with embroidery. Run decorative stitches along the edges of some of the scraps, or stitch flowers (or skulls or spiders) on plain spots.


Repeat with the rest of the pattern pieces, then sew the vest together following the pattern instructions.

Finished Vest

Finally, decorate as desired. Sew on interesting buttons, patches, or charms. Add ribbon roses or other pretty things.


You can use this technique to make a quilt as well. The more difficult way is to take a swath of muslin the size of the finished quilt and cover it with scraps. The easier way is to cut muslin squares of manageable size, cover them, then sew them together.


  • Take care that your embellishments won’t affect the utility of the item: If you’re making an article of clothing, make sure that hard decorations like buttons won’t poke you uncomfortably. If you’re making a quilt, be careful not to add anything too fragile and/or anything the cat might eat.
  • If you’re planning to make a very intricate apparel pattern using this technique, bear in mind that the fabric layers can become very bulky. Choose lightweight fabrics and take care where you place them so that they don’t interfere with the clothing’s seam lines.