I Dropped the Button Box Crazy Quilt Block 85

I Dropped the Button Box Crazy Quilt Block 85

Crazy quilt block 85Many Crazy quilt blocks are either brightly coloured or constructed of pretty pastel tones but crazy quilt block 85 is a sober softer coloured block in bronze and brown tones. It is a bit of mish mash of stuff but I like it. When I started this quilt I aimed to use 2000 unique pieces of fabric, lace, braids, charms, and buttons on the quilt as possible. Why? It is a Y2K quilt.

For fun I have been keeping a tally of the item count. I hope I did not make a mistake when I stitched these blocks, as after all this time it will be mighty embarrassing to discover my count was out!

Anyway here are the details and the free pattern for crazy quilt block 85.

block 85 diagramFabric content:

  • Piece 1: synthetic mix from a recycle blouse
  • Piece 2: Silk
  • Piece 3: It is totally covered by buttons but it is soft furnishing fabric!
  • Piece 4: A metallic after five/costuming fabric
  • Piece 5: A metallic after five/costuming fabric
  • Piece 6: Synthetic soft furnishing fabric
  • Piece 7: Synthetic polly
  • Piece 8: Synthetic soft furnishing fabric
  • Piece 9: under the lace is cotton

block 85 patternItem Count: 

  • Fabric: 9
  • Lace, braid and ribbon:3
  • Buttons and charms: 14
  • Total items on this block: 26
  • Total tally of items on the quilt so far: 1620

The details on Crazy Quilt Block 85

The idea behind contemporary crazy quilting is to be as creative as you can with the embellishments and hand embroidery on the blocks. Hopefully sharing how I worked the details on each block will give you some ideas for your own stitchery. This first detail is where I used some vintage commercial lace placed across the bottom of the block. I really liked the champagne colour. Even though this block has 2 fabrics that have a metallic thread woven through them the block looked quite dark. So the  light champagne gold  colour lifted the whole block. I further embellished the lace with a line of French knots around the edge. They are worked in hand dyed perle #8 cotton. On top of that is of course some vintage buttons!

hand embroidery on crazy quilt seam


The next detail I would like to draw your attention to is a seam that sits in the top left hand corner of the block. This seam was first embroidered with herringbone stitch which I then laced with a metallic thread. The thread matches  the colour of a patch on the block. I then added 3 black bugle beads inside the hill of the herringbone. With a blue shade of perle #8 cotton I then added the 3 little straight  stitches to the tops of the hills.

hand embroidery on crazy quilt seam 557

This hand embroidered seam embellishment runs down the left hand side of the block. It sent me scurrying for my notes. It is a type of twisted chain stitch that is worked in a zig zag manner. I was obviously in an experimental mood. It is worked in a yellow shade of cotton perle #5. I added black seed beads to both sides of the row.

hand embroidery on crazy quilt seam on the I dropped the Button Box quilt

in the top right hand corner of the block you can see a line of feather stitch worked in rayon ribbon floss. The seam is not very long – perhaps it measures an inch. Above the Feather Stitch is some black and red nylon lace that covers the seam. This is an example of regular everyday modern rubbish lace being used. After basting the lace down I threaded a fine metallic thread along the sides and down the centre I used some seed beads.

hand embroidery on crazy quilt seam 559This has a bit of back story as I once had an acquaintance who was always saying you cant use this or that in crazy quilting. She would say you cant use ric rac, or cant use nylon lace, or cant use plastic beads, or you cant use shank buttons, or cant use synthetics, or … you get the picture.  Each time she said it, I quietly went ahead an used it. She was around during the period of making this quilt so there is often examples of items she loudly declared I could not use. There are no rules in crazy quilting and I am no snob about what can and can not be used!

hand embroidery on crazy quilt seam 560The seam between piece 1 and piece 2  is a line of zig zag chain stitch worked in red perle #5 cotton thread. The second is some hand dyed red lace that I secured to the block with small stitches before adding seed beads.

hand embroidery on crazy quilt seam 561

The last detail I would like to share is a the buttons that I used on this block. Most of them are modern but there are some vintage buttons in the cluster. I secured most of them by simply stitching them to the block with the exception of the bead tassel. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Have you enjoyed this series? If so you may be interested in  a tutorial I have written on how to work decorative crazy quilt seams. The tutorial is a comprehensive tutorial that I converted to a pdf file (a link to the download is in the article) When I converted it I realised how comprehensive it was. At 19 pages of information it is a mini ebook and resource worth investigating!

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Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results  shares detailed practical methods about how to design and make a crazy quilt. From fabric choice, to balancing colour, texture and pattern, in order to balance and direct the eye around the block.  I cover how to stitch, build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be practical and inspiring.


  1. Just wanted to say thank you so much for posting these templates/block patterns! I am finding these a fantastic way to use up the tons of scraps I have, as well as a great way to escape those crazy “Mom is about to go nuts!” days.

  2. So glad you’re back with the button quilt! The blocks are inspirational. Recently, a friend gave me 2 cigar boxes of buttons so now I have a whole new venue to explore. Also understand about the book writing adventure. I wrote 2 some years ago about dollhouse miniatures. Lots of work preparing the samples!

    Barb W

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