Structure and Improv piecing - Part 1

Structure and Improv Patchwork - Part 1

Patchwork quilt blocks featuring fish and jelly fish


When fabric designer Lisa Dolson gifted me some of her Ocean Adventures fabric  for Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, I immediately knew that I wanted to have a play with improv patchwork.  With so many lovely prints to incorporate, I wanted to be free to experiment and see how the creative flow took me. 

So what is Improv? 

Improv is when you design a quilt without specific design rules.  There are no set measurements or layout that you need to follow, no boundaries or specific intentions; it's an organic process that's very free and spontaneous.  It's freeing and liberating too!

My Idea

I came up with the concept of 'Structure and Improv.'  The idea being that I make a series of 'traditional' quilt blocks, that provide the 'structure' within the quilt, and then I use improv quilt blocks to join all the blocks together.  In this blog post I shall be sharing a bit about the 'Structure' and in part 2 I'll be sharing more about the 'Improv'.


I do love a traditional quilt block and so I decided to go with a couple of my favourites.  First of all I created three Flying Geese blocks and stitched them all together.  

Flying geese quilt blocks

A few months ago I had fun with curves  making some drunkards path quilt blocks and so I thought I'd make some more. 
I also made a 'porthole' block to give the effect of looking through a window, perhaps from a submarine, or at an aquarium.   (I love this method!  I use it in my Dresden Porthole Pillow Pattern.

A porthole and drunkards path quilt block featuring jellyfish and a fish

Finally, I made a couple of square in a square blocks, with fussy cut centres, again to show off the fish and the jellyfish prints.  

square in a square quilt block


This weekend I'm going to be making some improv quilt blocks and joining them all together with the 'structured' blocks to make it into a mini quilt.  I can't wait to tell you all about it and I look forward to sharing progress in Part 2 with you soon. (**EDITED - Part 2 Available here!) 


This post may contain affiliate links. 
You can read my full disclosure privacy policy here.

Get a FREE pattern when you sign up to my newsletter

Check out my digital sewing and quilting patterns

Take a look at my favourite things in my Amazon Shop.

Back to blog