Oliver + S

What do you do with the scraps?

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    Masha Richart

    I gather that most of the women here are like me – primarily clothing sewers. So what do you do with your scraps? What size/shape do you keep, and where do you keep them, and how do you keep them from exploding everywhere? I am trying to be a little more discerning about the size of scraps that I keep – I keep saying I will make a quilt one day – but they are already overflowing out of the large plastic bin that is their home. I just hate throwing anything away … but we move so often that I can’t possibly keep every tiny piece!

    Tamara @justsewit

    I try and save my scraps for trims, like a contrast fabric for a collar or bias somewhere. Anything less than a fat quarter is put into my big tub or scraps that can then be sorted and either used by the kids to practise their sewing on or I take some off to the local kindergarten/ pre primary and playgroups for their craft activities.

    I have a separate tub of scraps that I have had left over from when the children were little and I made specialy outfits for them that I too keep saying I will use for a quilt or something but it hasn’t happened yet. I have them bagged and dated so I know what project it was from and some of them are scraps from the smocking I’d done etc. There is a really pretty quilt pattern I have in a book that incorporates miniature dresses that I have always wanted to emulate somehow so those scraps are saved for that purpose – a one day project.

    The important thing for me is that it needs to be big enough to be of some sort of purpose and doesn’t necessarily need to be with dead straight edges, just as long as it is big enough to be useful. Strips can be used to make scrunchie hairbands and if you have enough shoe laces as Liesl blogged about that not long ago. Things that are practical and useful but don’t require huge amounts of fabric to make them.

    I prefer scraps that are large, like being able to use the last of the blue CW fabric in that print to make a skirt after using it to make a dress was just perfect and the scraps that are left over could be used as plackets and collars for something else.Making pencil cases and things like that for the children are good too as they are useful and always needed for school.

    I hope I’ve given you some inspiration there on what to do with your scraps so that they don’t build up too much.

    Jane @jesims

    If you have scraps you would like to get rid of, check with a local school. The art teacher will probably be thrilled to have them.


    cybele727 @cybele727
    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    Oh mine are definitely exploding everywhere.I used to throw them out but then I’ve made some “softies” toys and they’re perfect for using up little scraps. I’m part way through a small quilt which is all clothing scraps (but of course it’s just made me want to go out and buy lovely matching fabrics to make another).

    I had some fun with the kids last Christmas gluing scraps of christmas fabrics onto one of those large round paper light covers (our local “$2 shop” always has them) to make a giant Christmas bauble for the front porch.

    I’m trying to keep everything roughly sorted as to size, with a tiny scraps tub, a small pieces tub and then the fabric still by the metre. I’m barely treading water on that though…

    scgoble @scgoble

    Mine are also overflowing, with intentions to do “scrappy” projects or quilt them. But let’s face it – that will never happen. So really what eventually happens is that they get used as dog bed filler!

    wendy @wendyls

    For a while I just kept buying larger baskets to stuff them into!

    I’ve just discovered these stuffy sewing patterns, though.


    They’re perfect for scraps (see the Silly Scrap Snake), and quick to do up. All of the kids I know are getting scrappy stuffed friends for Christmas this year.

    Maggie @Maggie

    Wendy, I’ve never seen a softie patern for a kiwi before. Too cute.

    There are also free softie patterns out there. I can’t remember which site, but I’ll look around. Long strips can be braided and then sewn to a muslin back to make a rag rug. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/Make-Rag-Rug.aspx

    I quilt, so some fabrics can be added to the stash. The stash is ever growing.


    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    I think my scraps tend to be a bit smaller then most, as I often go to use them and then go ‘OH NO, it won’t fit and I still can’t use them!!’

    I have gotten a bit ruthless recently and either thrown them out or put them in a bag to take to a firend to add to one of her small foot rest beanbag, basically using small scraps instead of buying more beads.

    I do keep anything that I could cut a 3-5″ strip out of, as my go to skirt is made up of 4 layers of gathered strips.

    I’m planning to make minature wreaths with my playroup for christams (bascially a curtain ring, wrapped with ribbon or fabric) I was initally goiung to use christmas ribbon but I may just cut a lot of my colourful scraps into 1″ or 1/2″ strips.

    needlewoman @needlewoman

    Scraps!! An always growing problem! As a quilter/and kids’ clothes sewer here are few things I do with my scraps.

    * pieces too small to be of use for anything I collect and give to my local library. They have kids’ craft sessions, and they use them for all sorts of things. Great for making “pictures” from

    * When I’m patchworking, I save the strips/rectangles/squares left over (of which there are many as I’m more inclined to quilts with lots of different fabrics in the chosen colour scheme) in see thru bags, and put them back in the appropriate colour bucket. Amazing how they come in handy for accent squares, or an inner border.

    * If they are really variegated, I save them in bags of the same size strips/ squares etc, and try to keep them to “front” of my cupboard for quilt patterns that need lots of different colours but same size strips.

    * strips left over from gorgeous sewing fabric get saved for trims/ruffles for littlies outfits. I was particularly pleased abt a year ago when I remembered to use a beautiful striped piece that was too small for any practical use in a quilt as a ruffle around the yoke of an 18 mthrs dress; it really set off the floral fabric in the frock.

    *I’m always hoping I will have the industry to use my scraps in really ingenious ways like some of you have described but I get distracted by the next bigger project, and the prospect of the fiddle involved discourages me. Lightning McStitch, I love the idea of pasting Xmas fabric to the lantern. Did the glue show thru when the light shone thru the “bauble”?

    * When I become completely fed up with the increasing number of bags of scraps, I donate them to my charity quilting group for “quilt as you go” quilts. (I get very nice compliments abt the range/coordination of my strips).

    * Just recently, have discovered that a good friend is working teaching art programs at local refugee camp. The ‘manager’ has determined that all the young men will make a wheat bag and an apron in order to teach them the basics of sewing so I have another good place to donate fabric I really hate, or fabric that wasn’t as good quality after it was washed as it appeared to be when I bought it.

    * Last Christmas, I wrapped my gifts in brown paper, and tied them with strips of red/green/Xmas fabric which I pinked with a rotary pinker. Looked very good and rustic, and made a telling point abt all the money wasted on disposable and expensive Christmas wrapping/ribbon. I should add that I love all stuff Christmasy but really resent the fact that nice paper/ribbon has become so expensive.

    This post is probably more info than anybody wanted but my scrap collection requires constant management!

    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    re the Chritmas lantern we never “lit” it, but just hung it with a long red ribbon and bow. If you had a hanging light fitting it would be lovely to put a light globe inside.

    When I used fabric it looked great. I did it the following year with Christmas paper scraps and the cane ribs of the lantern were much more visible and it didn’t look nearly as nice and smooth

    icicle @icicle

    Anything smaller than a sheet of paper, I take to our recycle center. Yes, they recycle fabric scraps!

    eleena1 @eleena1

    thanks for your share cybele727 …..

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    I was trying to organize and sort for a while but I just started to feel oppressed and overwhelmed, which is not the point of sewing, so I chucked a few big bags. I do plan to make a dog pillow for my sister in law* and fill it with scraps over time.

    *Well, for her dog, not for her!

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