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Fabric Scrumbles

Updated on October 1, 2014

Little Patches of Texture

Scrumbles are generally made from little patches of freeform knitting or crochet but as my primary craft involves fabric I wanted to look at scrumbles made from tiny textiles pieces.

And just as knit and crochet scrumbles can be knit together - how about patching tiny textured textiles together - a texture version of patchwork, if you will.

So get your thinking caps on, have a look through the information below and get inspired.

Experimental Patches

The piece pictured below is an old textiles piece of mine where I experimented with making a patchwork out of my textiles pieces. Each square is based on a larger textiles piece which I particularly loved.

What I'm proposing with the fabric scrumbles is not quite the same as this.

I think it would be fun to make lots of weird little shaped pieces and not worry about their size or how they're going to fit together - think about how they could be gathered up or how melting them might change their shape.

Sweetie Patchwork by MeltedRachel
Sweetie Patchwork by MeltedRachel

So How Can I Sew a Scrumble?

Opposite you'll see one of my crochet and knit scrumbles.

But how can I make a textiles piece that has the same sense of freedom?

Well, if a scrumble is using a certain amount of stitches and then switching to something different then why can't we do something similar in fabric? For example we could start by pleating the very edge of a piece of fabric, then, once we've done that move up a bit and trap some stuffing in behind the fabric to make bobbles, then further along, gather the fabric up with random hand-stitching pulled tight and then further up machine embroider around and around.

I've included a few ideas below of techniques you could include.

The Art of Manipulating Fabric

The Art of Manipulating Fabric is one of my favourite textiles books.

Every sample in this book is made from a plain white fabric so all the interest comes from the way the fabric has been manipulated with pleats and smocking and cording and stuffing etc.

If you're interested in playing with the surface of fabric then I highly recommend The Art of Manipulating Fabric.

Also there are some great images at the back of the book where she's added lots of the techniques all together on one background - it looks amazing!

The Art of Manipulating Fabric
The Art of Manipulating Fabric

The Art of Manipulating Fabric is split into six parts:

Controlled Crushing

Supplementary Fullness

Systematic Folding

Filled Reliefs

Structured Surfaces

Mixed Manipulations


Ideas for Fabric Scrumbles

Below I've included ideas for what you could put in your fabric scrumble.

Think about mixing something conservative like pleats with some crazy free motion embroidery or French knots on top of smocking etc.

Playing with Stitched Lines

Moonbeam by MeltedRachel
Moonbeam by MeltedRachel

Don't worry about using an embroidery hoop, just throw some fabrics down and start sewing on top of them.

Don't worry about lines or patterns.

Don't worry about puckers or gathers, let the fabric do what it wants to.

Embrace the mistakes!


I like the idea of having a pleated patch of fabric on a patched together quilt. It might be fun to make something quite ordered and flat and then have these occasional places of high texture for added interest.

Pleats don't have to be rigid and ordered - the above example was gathered into simple pleats and then machined sewn down into place creating all sorts of strange gathers.

Think about making something organic like fungi.

Perhaps you could even pleat in a circle.

You don't have to start a scrumble from one edge - why not start it from the middle?

Think about maybe starting with a really dense technique in the middle that really pulls your fabric in and then go with something lighter at the edges like simple light machine embroidery.

Below I've doodled an idea for a piece that's gathered in the middle, surrounded by dense machine embroidery, surrounded by stuffed bobbles, surrounded by light loose machine embroidery.

Fabric Yoyo by MeltedRachel
Fabric Yoyo by MeltedRachel

Fabric Yoyos

Yoyos could be interesting for couching down random pieces of fabric - other ideas could include using different shapes, colours and fabrics.


Smocking is something I've not tried before, but just like pleating this might be a fun way to add a surprise bit of texture to a textiles piece.


You could either sew shapes through two pieces of fabric and stuff the middle or you could trap stuffing or marbles or beads in your fabric to create interesting texture.

Textiles by MeltedRachel
Textiles by MeltedRachel
Raising The Surface With Machine Embroidery
Raising The Surface With Machine Embroidery

This is another one of my favourite textiles books.

Raising the Surface has some great techniques that would be awesome added to an experimental fabric scrumble - grillon thread, for example, that shrinks when it's heated.


Shirring Elastic


This example shows some black shirring elastic worked onto green organza.

I wound the elastic onto the bobbin and had a black cotton thread coming down through the needle and stitched around and around in circles on the organza. I used an embroidery hoop to stop the fabric from scrunching up immediately. The elastic pulled the organza up into a "frog-spawn" effect.

I think this would work well on any thin fabric. Patches of shirred fabric could be sewn into place on top of other textiles pieces and worked in to make the patch look like it belongs there.

Surfaces for Stitch: Plastics, Films & Fabric
Surfaces for Stitch: Plastics, Films & Fabric

This is another of my favourite textiles books - full of ideas that would be good for this project - like knotted pieces of Tyvek fabric that can be couched to a background fabric.


Share Your Thoughts - Reader Feedback.

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    • bikerministry profile image


      6 years ago

      OK you are over the top creative. So glad I found your lenses. Congrats on the So Crafty Magazine and keep up the great work. i want to try these ideas right away! Blessings.

    • bikerministry profile image


      6 years ago

      OK you are over the top creative. So glad I found your lenses. Congrats on the So Crafty Magazine and keep up the great work. i want to try these ideas right away! Blessings.


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