Scrap Overload: What to do with Leftover Fabric Scraps?

Hey everyone! So excited to Sew-Along with all of you guys again! If you missed yesterday’s post, I’m hosting another Sew-Along here, this time for the Crescent Skirt. We’ll aim for a start date of April 18th, as that works for most of you. I will post the fabric requirements and envelope back this week, so you can get to the fabric store!

This has been an awesome week already and it’s only Tuesday. I have some really exciting news to share with you shortly, stay tuned!

Also, thanks for all the great comments on the Bound Buttonhole tutorial. Yes, you can make them yourself. It’s easy if you take it slow, make a practice buttonhole first, and sew down those triangles carefully. I will follow up with a post on what happens to the inside of the buttonhole, when I get to that part on my dress.

In the comments, GermanGirl asked a really interesting question, one that I’d love to see your thoughts on!

I have a question, not on button holes, but one I’d love to see comments on: What do you do with cut-off pieces of fabric, that are too small to make anything out of them and kind of too big to throw them away (at least when it is high-quality fabric)?! Do you store them? And how? I have basically no storage space, and every time I finish a project the cut-offs lie on the floor for weeks, because I don’t know what to do with them…
Any suggestions?

So, this is what happens to my fabric scraps:

Yes, that’s a full laundry bin overflowing with my scary, miscellaneous fabric scrap stash. I save all of my fabric scraps, tossing them into this bin as I go.

I keep them while I’m working on a project, in case I need to re-cut a piece, or patch a hole, or test my stitches. Or, if my sewing instructions call for extra fabric other than the pattern pieces, such as bound buttonholes. Then after the project’s done, I keep them in the bin, just in case. (In case of what? I’m not sure.)

I have all these great intentions of using them, for the inside facings, for bias binding, or for testing. Even more creative uses like fabric flowers or embellishments! But the truth is: I don’t. If I’m going to use a contrast fabric for facings, I’m much more likely to buy the exact right fabric at the start! Chances are, even though this laundry bin is full of scraps, I won’t have the right one for my next project.

But I just can’t bear throwing them away! It seems so wasteful. I like to think one day I’ll use them up, in the spirit of reducing waste and reusing every little piece. I like to think that bin is in my closet because at the end of it all, I’ll use every last scrap up and not throw anything away. (Am I a bit of a hoarder, perhaps?)

And yet, they’re taking up valuable closet space! If you sew in a small space like me, and have limited storage space for your good fabrics, then isn’t it a waste of space keeping useless bits and scraps?

So what do you do with fabric scraps? Do you use up the little scraps, and how? Or do you throw them away, guilt-free? I’d love to hear what you think!


75 Responses to Scrap Overload: What to do with Leftover Fabric Scraps?

  1. Victoria March 22, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    I’m like you. I hate to throw them away but never find a use for them so they’re filling up a bag on my shelves.

  2. Dawn March 22, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    There is a sewing school near me that takes donations of scrap fabric. Maybe call around to find one near you!

  3. Amanda March 22, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    I have 2 small bins and I’m not really sure what to do with them either. I’ve made pin cushions, bookmarks and coasters with them (for me and friends). How about self-fabric belts, small pillows, iPod covers, or using thinner fabrics for pockets? Tilly just did a guest post on Casey’s blog about a fabric necklace (and I’d love to try the Cupcake Goddess’ corsage tutorial)! Or you could create loops with your fabric and put hangers on them, as you’ve done here? :)

    Oh, and I have that same Alexander Henry peacock fabric, just in a different colorway! Can’t wait to use it.

  4. Helena March 22, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    I keep them if I see a project for them in the future, both in fabric-quality and amount. Right now I’m working through my stash, making things out of left-overs and other pieces that never have been used.

    If they are too small, I don’t really like them, I throw them out, but never right away.

  5. Alessa March 22, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    I think apart from the many roles they can play in sewing, if they’re big enough (contrast fabric-covered buttons, pockets, facings, belts…) they could be made into lots of other interesting things. Bow or fabric flower brooches, patchwork-stuff (little bags, maybe?)… I’ve also seen those plastic coat hangers covered with fabric strips, which looked really cute.

  6. Lauren March 22, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    i had this problem when i first started seriously sewing… i saved every single scrap. eventually, i ended up with two giant garbage bags full of scraps (aiee!) when i realized they were just going to continue sitting there. i ended up donating them on freecycle.

    the only scraps i save now (that are too small to make a garment out of, i.e., less than half a yard) are the extra special prints/colors that i can’t bear to part with. i use those staggered under my labels for my clothing line. i think it looks pretty! of course, this won’t work for super specialty fabrics – stuff like wool and silk, i save to make brooches or tiny stuffies. the rest get tossed or donated.

    speaking of donating, people are happy to take your scraps!! you can give them away on craigslist or freecycle. i’ve had people take them to cut up and stuff stuffies with (teeny tiny scrap pieces), to make quilts, for craft projects, etc. one girl took the ones i donated to a nursing home so the residents could make tiny quilts with them. i thought that was really cute… and a much better use of the scraps than them just hanging out in my closet :)

  7. Amy March 22, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Ditto Lauren above, I give away bits that I don’t like or can’t see myself using on freecycle, folk are generally desperate for bits like that and my various bags of scraps over the years have gone to a church quilting group and a girl starting up sewing, amongst others. Obviously you have to collect a few before you can list them, but people will generally pick up even tiny amounts of fabric, you don’t have to wait too long to collect enough to give away! (assuming you sew a decent amount of course!)

    I save bits I like and use them to decorate my own cards, make ipod/camera cases, for fancy dress costumes, for scrap to practice stitches etc and for quilting.

    If the fabric is good quality, I save for a while, then cut them into regular sized pieces and sell them in my Etsy shop as scrap packages or fat quarter bundles :-)

  8. CGCouture March 22, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    If they are fairly small, I take them to the quilt store where they have a tub and sell the scraps by the pound to quilters. If they are around 1/4 of a yard or something, I either make bras/panties with them, or donate them to Goodwill. If it’s appropriate for my son, sometimes I’ll make something for him with it–you can make kids clothes with surprisingly little fabric when they are young. Anything else that doesn’t fit that description, goes to the trash…I used to save it, but got tired of it hogging my space when it wasn’t going to be used for anything.

  9. Leah March 22, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    I use mine to practice button holes and bound buttonholes, or I SHOULD be, because all of mine are a mess. And I like to make these little birds with a free pattern I got from Spool Sewing, you can find it here:

    It’s a really efficient use of scraps. I put catnip in them sometimes with cotton batting and give them to cat owners or present them to my own disdainful felines.

    I would love to do big fabric covered buttons. Very Purple Person has these fabric button necklaces that look amazing. I feel like you need a button covering kit or something, right? Something else to buy…

  10. Ann March 22, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    My local farmers market has textile recycling once or twice a week, so every couple of months I drop a bag off there!

  11. K2 March 22, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    My Mom saved all the scraps from the clothing she made for my sister and I growing up. When I was about 9 years old, she took all the scraps and made a quilt for each of us using the scraps. It didn’t matter what the fabric was made of, as long as she could get a 4″ x 4″ or a 8″ x 8″ square out of it. I love that quilt even though some of the fabrics used in it are truely hideous (I was a child in the 1970’s). I can still point out what some of the fabrics were used for, whether it was a shirt, or dress, or even underwear!

  12. Ashley March 22, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I always either throw them out of donate them to goodwill if the scraps are large enough. I do feel a little wasteful sometimes, but ever since that TV show Hoarders came out I feel extra allergic to clutter!

  13. gina March 22, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Throw them out or donate what you think is usable! Yes, I do get rid of anything smaller than my hand. I DO keep a nice size scrap of my finished projects for repairing and if you check out my blog I do make purse inserts to match my dresses. But really, clutter messes with me and I can’t concentrate with so much stuff in the way, plus it’s just a nagging reminder that I haven’t really finished the project by having the fall out still hanging around in a corner closet.

  14. allison March 22, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    I save all my scraps in a large bag, and then donate them to the city mission. they get paid by the pound for fabric that is sent out for recycling for various other uses. this is also where i send any clothes that are too ratty for good will or salvation army. I think it’s a win-win!

  15. Jennifer S March 22, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    I will admit a tendency towards “quilting” cottons, but about 10 years ago, I started cutting all my fabric scraps into squares, starting at about 8″ and down to 2″. Then I stacked them in a much much much smaller box and stored them. My plan was to make quilts to sell or give away. But I keep buying more planned quilt sets, so that wasn’t working.

    I ended up giving a bunch to my grandmother, who is now 82. She sewed them into some funky quilt tops. I put them together with a plain backing, tied them and bound the edges. I sold one at a craft sale and the other three I donated to the Ladies Auxilary in my small town. I told them to do what they would, be it sell them as a fund raiser at the craft sales (they had other ladies who made mittens and things for the same plan, unfortunately, they both passed away in the last year) or give them to some seniors in the Lodge as a lap blanket. Being that it’s a small town, I had more than one lady in that group thank me over and over again for such “beautiful” quilts.

    I gave some to my mom who is helping run a girls group, and now I have to give more to my grandmother – she wants to make dolly quilts for my nieces and I’ll let her do whatever she wants with the rest.

  16. Caroline March 22, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    I list them on Craigslist as a freebie. I put them on my porch and they’re usually gone within 24 hours. It’s a surprisingly competitive classifieds listing, too — I get lots of response!!

  17. Val March 22, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    I saw someone on Freecycle was asking for fabric scraps for some weaving project she was doing. COOL! So I got rid of a big bag. I’m well stocked back up on scraps again tho. I used to let my girls dig into that whenever they wanted to make doll clothes, but they’re kind of past that now.

  18. Caroline March 22, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    Oh, and I list my ribbon scrap on Etsy. That’s another surprisingly competitive market! (I think it’s the scrap-bookers.)

  19. amy March 22, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I make lanyards for all my teaching/name badge carrying friends (the ones on the tutorial listed below look very similar to a popular southern brand- who sells them for $10-15 a piece!).

  20. Rebekah March 22, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Hi Tasia!

    I keep all of my fabric scraps and stash them in two blue, cardboard boxes. They do wind up sitting there for awhile but I have used them for drawstrings, bias tape, and lots of quilting projects. Quiting sometimes require itsy-bitsy fabric pieces so scraps work out perfectly.


  21. Abigael March 22, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    I’m a serious scrap-hoarder, too… But something that I’ve done is stick a fair number of med-sized scraps (enough to make little repairs or trimmings or whatever) into the pattern envelope that I used to make the garment producing the scraps. This can make for a bit of a fat pattern envelope, but I generally transfer my patterns into an 8.5″x11″ manila envelopes after use, so it works out.

    I’m trying to get myself to just immediately pitch the tiny scraps, but it’s a journey. Will get there eventually… ;-)

  22. Heather March 22, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I cut my pattern pieces really close together so I usually have about 1/2 meter extra plus the in-between bits. I put the larger bits in the center and fold the larger scrap around them into a tidy rectangular package, tied in a bow with a strip of the selvage. Currently they’re in a bin, but I’ve arranged to give most of it to a friend who sews for her tiny little girl. In theory I could make doll clothes or something but frankly I’m not going to take the time.

  23. alice March 22, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    so glad you’ve posted about this! i recently had to divide my scrap between wovens and knits!
    i like the idea of tossing out anything smaller than the size of a hand. now that my scrap is getting out of control, i’m thinking of tossing out those fabrics that i don’t love. but there are so many wonderful memories of sewing projects past…
    i keep scrap in part because of my terribly fond memories of playing with my grandmother’s scrap bag when i was a small child, with her pinking shears. i also have fond fond memories of a luscious 1930s crazy quilt at a museum i once worked at. normal quilts aren’t my style, but i do dream of one day producing a fabulous scrap crazy quilt.
    my scrap hoarding tendencies have been rewarded a couple times – finding just the right size for waistband facings and small lining pieces.

  24. Cat March 22, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Tasia – Look here. Someone would love all your beautiful scraps.


  25. Alexandra March 22, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    Long skinny pieces go into the box for string quilting. The others go into a small bin for quilting or whatever; when it overflows I sort through and either throw pieces out or use them for cleaning rags. (I tend to have a lot of flannel, corduroy, denim, linen, but not much high-end stuff.)

  26. Zeddie March 22, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I save all scraps too. It’s an addiction! I’ve made patchwork bookmarks and eyeglass cases. I also have plans to make small zippered bags. Another idea that was inspired by David Coffin’s book on making pants is to use good quality shirting scraps for pocket bags (or for waistband facing).

  27. Laurie Brown March 22, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    You take up crazy quilting! Any fabric can be used, but fancies are especially nice. Even tiny wee bits can be used. And, after you get it pieced, you get to buy lots of lovely threads- cottons, silks, variegated, metallics- and beads to embellish with.

  28. Katharina March 22, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    I do throw out small scraps (hand size). I do make mini skirts (about 1/2 meter of fabric is enough) or camis out of the bigger scraps. Smaller jersey scraps can be made into panties.
    I use wovens to make hats or for hatlinings. Cotton batist or organzas can be used for interfacing. I use lining scraps to line a yoke (sometimes even in contrasting color). Thin fabrics can be used to cut the inner pocket on bulky garments.
    I always wanna make headbands from the really small scraps but seldom do as i dont really enjoy making those.

  29. juliab March 22, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    I give them to the local pre-school where they use the diverse range of pattern and texture to make collages, or they use the bigger scraps to make things like finger puppets and such. Luckily I know a few pre-school teachers and they dont need asking twice when I offer! I love the idea that these scraps go towards developing little artistic and creative minds.

  30. daiyami March 22, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Gift bags, clutches/cosmetic bags, and fabric flowers. I try to make them while the thread is still on a machine.

    My problem are the 2/3 yd scraps, that I’m pretty sure I could squeeze a tanktop or cami out of —if only I had a pattern.

  31. Becky March 22, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    I’ve gotten to the point where I can toss the really chopped-up scraps without much guilt. I do save larger ones and try to use them for small practicalities–recently I used some cotton and fleece scraps to make a Kindle case, and most of a largish scrap left over from one of last summer’s shirts to make a knitting needle case. Like Daiyami, the biggest problem I have is when I have something in the range of 2/3- 1 yard leftover from a project– it seems like I should be able to squeeze some kind of garment out of them, but I don’t always know what will work (especially for my non-quilting cotton wovens.)

    Hmmm….maybe that could be an idea for a future pattern for you? Some kind of awesome top or skirt that only needs about a yard? ;-)

  32. lisa March 22, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Lots of stuff!
    I make every small thing I need with scraps.
    potholders, wipes for the kitchen and bathroom, kleenex even (sometimes),
    Appliques, stuffing (shred it up into tiny bits for stuffing sewn/knitted toys), cover buttons with it, make trim with it, use it to add cuffs to a shirt that has no finish on the sleeves (sometimes this can really make a normal shirt look fantastic!), debit card/credit card protector pockets, grocery coupon pockets (the one you posted on this blog can be made with scraps), toys for pets (i do not have any…but other people can do them)
    I love scraps! I do not complain about them. They are great to have, as long as I stay on top of it and do not put off using them everytime I think of something great to make.

  33. Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    I post “Bag of misc fabric scraps. Must take all.” on Craigslist. :D Just did that over the weekend, actually.

    The only scraps I have now are quarters and eighths of quilting cotton that rightfully should be called scraps, and linen pieces from Maiwa. I actually do use the linen pieces quite regularly. Most of them are washed, and so I use them as sew-in interfacing.

  34. Audrey March 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m such a beginner sewer that I don’t really have many scraps, yet. And I do say yet. I have a small bag of scraps, however, that I plan to use for stuffing a small toy that I’m sewing for a friend who is having a baby. Barettes? Buttons? Scrap-booking? Hmmmm…. all VERY good ideas. :)

  35. Angelina March 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    I’m a quilter so I’ll happily take any woven cotton (voile, quilting cotton, even heavier linen/cotton canvas blends, etc) scraps that you have! Email me if you’re interested in working something out. :-)

    I love your blog – you’ve helped inspire me to try my first clothing item! Thank you!

  36. Brumby March 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    I save mine too; for two planned projects. The first is that I have some scraps of fabric from both my Mums and my Mums Mums sewing, I plan on combining them with mine and making a generational quilt to celebrate our love of sewing. And the second is that I am going to use them as stuffing for some boot shapers to keep my knee high boots tall during winter.

  37. Angela March 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    i have two big boxes of them, too. I can’t get myself to throw it away. Maybe you should have a sew-along for just scraps! We could spend like a week or two on different ways to use the scraps. :)

  38. jessness March 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I found kits for these in a random japanese store nearby. Uses less than a quarter yard of fabric too!

  39. A Sewn Wardrobe March 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    I toss mine. I’m a rabid anti-hoarder. Now that I’m starting to sew with silk, though, I’m going to start saving big pieces to make bias strips.

  40. rachelmp March 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    I keep my quilting cotton scraps. Love them! Other fabric or cotton that I don’t want any more I donate to my kids childcare and afterschool care program. The kids just love them for collages and craft projects. Some of them go to my mum to for her craft.

  41. Claudia March 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    I make barbie and other doll clothes. I have a vintage Jill doll and make clothes for her.

  42. K-Line March 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I regret to inform you (though it suits my OCD personality) that I throw most everything away as soon as the garment is finished. If there isn’t enough fabric left over to make something else (I estimate half a yard at least), then I know it’s just sitting there to taunt me. I hate throwing away fabric. A) I paid for it. B) It’s hideously wasteful. C) What about the day I actually need that 2 inch square of fabric and it’s gone?? But I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used a scrap. And I can’t be hoarding. It’s bad for my creativity.

  43. ShimmyAlley March 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    I use all my scraps to embelish plain t-shirts, then i sell them. I can never get enough scraps.

  44. Reana March 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    This is my first year of sewing and sewing equipment, fabric, and scraps is already taking over my room! I did a little post not long ago that includes neat little ideas on recycling muslins, and lots of the ideas could also be used for scraps of fabric! Especially if they’re pretty :)

  45. Stephanie March 23, 2011 at 4:09 am #

    I have a few boxes filled with scraps. It was a lot worse when I first learnt to sew & would often buy more fabric than I needed ‘just in case’. Now I still hang on to a half metre here, a quarter metre there. Only in the last couple of years have I really started to look through it & use it for a touch or highlight here or there. I’ve also started to clean out the collection each year & re-assess some of the things I’ve kept.

    I often find that it’s the expensive silk & laces that hang around the longest with no real use. They’re just so pretty it seems a waste to get rid of them.

    I did find a very useful way to get rid of a lot of scraps recently, my friend held a craft evening & we all made hats to wear to the spring racing carnival in Melbourne. I took along all my scraps & trimmings & it was great everyone went through them & used up quite a few. I was happy because it was nice to see someone else find a use for them, rather than me throwing them out.

    Maybe a scrap swap with friends would be a good idea. Everyone comes round brings any scraps & you go through each others & swap similar to going through a remenants bin at a fabric store. Sometimes it’s takes someone else to see the potential in something you’ve viewed as a scrap for years.

  46. Megan March 23, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Hi! If you’re looking for a cami pattern, Casey has a nice tutorial up on her blog. You don’t even need a pattern!
    Happy sewing!

  47. Amelie March 23, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Meg at Megan Nielson Design Diary is posting a week’s worth of tutorials on what to do with old tights that would also work great for fabric scraps.

  48. Camille March 23, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Tilly linked to a relly interesting listing by Ali on her Friday Finds last month :

    Maybe that could be useful !

  49. GermanGirl March 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Thanks for all the lovely suggestions!

  50. trish March 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I think someone mentioned this but I am a scrappy sewer and I have several projects you can use on my blog for scrapping! A wristlet, scarf, table runner….I love scraps!

  51. vwbug March 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I am one of those people that looks on freecycle or craigs list and goes and get the scraps. Not to say i have have tons already :)

    But for my scraps I either sew stuff for the grandkids, or I make doll clothes. At work I do a silent auction to raise money for March of Dimes. One of the things I auction off is a 18 inch Doll with wardrobe. If it really is not suitable for either of these things I donate to the hospital ladies aux. and they make quilts to give to the sick.

  52. Catholic Bibliophagist March 23, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    I make gift bags out of fabrics I would otherwise have no use for. If pieces are small, you can sew them together patchwork fashion until you’ve got something large enough to make a bag out of. Sometimes, for small gifts, I use fabric as wrapping paper. I tie the package up with ribbon remnants or strings of fabric cut with pinking shears.

    (However scraps of quilting cottons are always saved because I can use very tiny pieces in my quilts.)

    When I make a muslin out of muslin, I use the scraps for foundation piecing string blocks. Or I cut up the muslin itself to make foundation blocks.


  53. kaitui-kiwi March 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Oh gosh, I’m glad I’m not the only one guilty of not throwing out fabric scraps. I’m terrible, I just can’t bear to get rid of beautiful pieces of fabric no matter how small and they hold great memories of the item I made :)
    My plan is to go back to my learning-to-sew days and make some barbie clothing. So I bought a super beautiful vintage barbie and I’m going to make her a few cute outfits out of my favourite scraps ;)

  54. Bellieshaker March 24, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    I love this that my Friend Natalie started to make, its such a cool idea, im jealous because im too much of a neat / balance matching colours freak to be able to make something so free and creative, all my colours would have to match etc, part of slight OCD maybe!!! :) :) :)

    But im in love with this skirt, its a work in progress and i hope the pic does it justice to how funky it actually is!!! :) :) :)

  55. Nethwen March 24, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    What great ideas!

    I use my small scraps for decorations, appliques, or bindings. You can see a picture on my blog of how I used skinny scraps for a t-shirt adornment.

    For larger scraps, say the size of half a shirt front or larger, I sometimes sew them together to get muslin fabric.

    And, I admit, I do throw scraps away. I feel bad for the waste, but after my one box gets full, I weed. I’ll have to remember Freecycle from now on.

  56. Sabrina Clementine March 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    I also have a ton of scraps and remnants! I tend to save the small pieces to make labels for the items I sell in my shop. It saves them from the garbage, and I think it adds a nice handmade touch.

  57. MadStash March 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    My fabric scraps came in handy several days ago when our basement was flooding from all the rain and melting snow. I was able to keep the furniture from being damaged by throwing down heaps of scrap to absorb one water pool while I vaccumed another pool. By then, the scraps in the other pool had absorbed enough water to keep the flooding at bay. I threw the soaking scraps in the trash & vacuumed up the remaining water, then threw more dry scraps down. Then the scraps on the other water pool had reached their saturation limit, so I threw those away, vaccumed what was left then piled down new dry scraps. OK, there were three leaking areas at once so I was really hustling! Now, I’m down to one box of fabric scraps. :D That box should come in handy next time there’s a flood….

  58. Paris March 25, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    I save all my fabric scraps, even the tiniest of pieces. I just recently used all of them up to stuff a cushion I made for an armchair that was beginning to not feel so cushy anymore. I used the scraps, cutting large ones into strips, and polyfill from an old pillow I made and Voila fresh, cushy seating for my bum.

  59. Meagan March 25, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I have a couple of uses for them. Other than petting them and remembering the projects that don’t fit me anymore.

    Firstly, sometimes when I oil my machine I put too much on. I haven’t developed the practiced hand yet. So I need to grab a scrap and sew back and forth like crazy until there is no oil stain on the stitches. It may take more than one scrap.

    Secondly, when I’m punching eyelet holes, I generally can’t get the hole to punch unless I place a canvas or denim-type fabric folded up a couple of times underneath my project. The holes punch easily and perfectly with the scrap underneath.
    When I go to set the eyelets, I’m not supposed to use a regular hammer on the set, but I don’t have a rubber mallet, so I fold that same heavyweight fabric up and place it over top of the set, then hit the hammer on the fabric. It works quite well.

    I do machine buttonholes so rarely that I always forget which direction it heads in once it’s done the bottom of the hole, so I usually grab a scrap to familiarize myself with the buttonhole process before I start on the project. And that goes for any non-standard stiches as well — I always grab a scrap to try it on to get the tension and stitch-length right and familiarize myself with how the machine feeds the fabric.

    Before I got a proper pressing cloth I would also grab an appropriate scrap to use between the iron and my project as well.

  60. daiyami March 26, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Followup now that I’m no longer on my phone: Here’s the fabric flowers I make (there are LOTS of fabric flowers out there that aren’t so cute to me, but this one I like):

    I cover a button in another scrap and run a pipecleaner to be a stem, and then I use the flowers as bows on gifts wrapped in fabric (or gift bags from bigger scraps), and the pipecleaner holds the fabric in place. Especially useful for the shiny brocade/silk scraps, and only requires true scraps (eg, about the size of your palm).

    Megan, thanks for the link to the cami pattern!

    I don’t throw anything away. Terrible hoarding tendencies here. I’m pretty sure I will have to make a quilt someday, the way they were made back-in-the-day, with scraps of all types of fabric.

  61. Sandra March 26, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    I used to buy material I liked, without a pattern in mind. Always bought plenty to cover all uses in the future. When it was time to make something always had lots left over. My daughters dolls always had up to date outfits made from left overs. Made matching outfits for daughter and dolls.
    Used other left overs for patchwork vests, carrybags, even have tidied up edges and wrapped gifts in what reciprients think are scarves and part of the gift.
    When it comes to my cardmaking, I use strips of material folded to make “iris” cards, and appliques on t shirts and jackets.

    When all else fails there are always friends who are willing to have any left overs for their projects.

  62. Rachael March 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I keep all my scraps separated. The smallest ones go into a bin to use as stuffing for pillows and plushies and whatnot. The larger ones I use as muslin. The ones that are too small for clothes, I use for purse linings, bows, underwear, fabric covered buttons, etc. lol I feel like a hoarder all the time, but as long as they aren’t being thrown away I feel good knowing I’m not contributing to the amount of fabric taken to the landfills every year.

  63. Rachel March 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    I’ve used my scraps to make two quilts so far, I cut the scraps into squares of the same size for the quilt. One of the quilts was a huge success, the other a bit of a failure (aesthetically, it still keeps me warm). I keep my cotton scraps in with my quilting fabrics, and i’m keeping the jersey scraps for when I eventually get around to having a go at making undies. I think it might be time to make another scrap quilt soon.

  64. Jennifer March 28, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    I must admit, this has been a problem for me since I began sewing a few years ago. I can’t stand the idea of throwing fabric away! To me, it’s a waste (of textile and money)! This has led to a large canvas bag overflowing with fabric scraps of every shape and size. I’m getting better though… now, if I don’t honestly think I can make something of value, it goes into the recycling bin. Thank goodness our county lets you do that! I’ll have to check into Craig’s List and Freecycle – I’m sure someone out there can put my scraps to much better use.

  65. alice March 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    this post – and responses – inspired me to organize my scraps this weekend (and bag up some of the too-small-for-me-to-use pieces). Now i want to make bias tape form them!

  66. Paulette March 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    I give mine to a friend so she can use them as filling in pet beds that she makes. She then donates them to the local pet shelter.

  67. Michelle M. March 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Hello. My name is Michelle. And I’m a scrap-o-holic.

    I can’t seem to throw any scraps away and for a long time they sat in a couple of baskets in my sewing room, unused and unloved. Finally, about a year ago I found myself determined to use them up. My first project was a twin-sized scrap quilt for my daughter ( – I gathered up every piece of fabric in my stash that had even a bit of pink in it and cut it up for the quilt. Of course, when I looked in my scrap bins after finishing the quilt the pile didn’t seem any smaller. Maybe the scraps are multiplying?! ;)

    I’m still determined to go through my scrap stash. My most recent projects include:

    ‚Ä¢ Doll diapers for my daughter’s stuffed animals
    • Baby quilts for donation to a local maternity home (
    ‚Ä¢ Mini monsters for goodie bags at my son’s first birthday party (
    • An eye-spy bag for my daughter (

    Er… can you tell I like to make things for my kids? ;) Other things that would make good use of scraps:

    • Quilted drink coasters
    • Quilted pot holders
    • Eyeglass case
    ‚Ä¢ Spare cash… sell them by the pound on Etsy

  68. Angela April 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Okay…I’ll tell you what I do with my scraps as long as you don’t turn me in for being OCD. I collect all the “usable” sized scraps, as defined only in my own mind, and neatly fold them up. I add any extra notions from the project, along with my fabric receipts/stickers and package it all up in a zip lock bag. I label it with a picture of the pattern and who it was for, their measurement info, whatever, and then file it away in my “completed projects” cabinet.

    Sick, I know….

  69. Jane Elise April 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    I love the idea of making a quilt out of all the scraps — my mum also sewed HEAPS for me as a child but she kept them all in a huge clear plastic bag. Because it was clear I used to get it out and study it, turning it round, looking at all the memories of fabric and clothing. Recently my parents moved and 30 years of scraps went to the tip. I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated.

  70. Michelle Antoinette April 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I feel the same as you. I can’t seem to part with any of my fabrics let alone fabric scraps. At this point my fabrics are taking over my living/office/sewingroom. I have resorted to selling the scraps that are fat quarter size and using the smaller scraps to make crazy quilts and throws to sell.

    This method seems to work a treat.


  71. Jane Elise April 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    My friend Ros has been making mini bean bags from her scraps.

  72. Janice J. Bear April 12, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    I use my scraps to make little pillows. I try to with with a “waste not, want not” philosophy. With the bigger scraps I make a pouch sewn on three sides and clip it to the edge of my sewing table open side up. As I snip threads and fabric bits I toss them right into the pouch. When it is full I stuff some dried lavender inside and sew the opening shut. They are the perfect little something to keep the garters I sell protected when I ship them to customers. The garters keep their shape and the lavender keeps the dust mites at bay. Customers love them!

  73. Debra April 16, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Appliques! Pincushions and sachets! Practice pieces! Catnip mousies! Yo-yo somethings! My list is endless, just like my bag of scraps.

  74. BER April 22, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Scraps , knitting or sewing are an issue. If you sew with wool then they are wonderful for rug hooking, and rug hookers are always happy to get good quality wools. Sometimes it is just the right color for a small section. The bird mobile is a great idea. Otherwise recycling sounds good. I guess there are always doll clothes, especially Barbie if the prints are small enough and the fabric fluid. Quilting, particularly log cabin quits are easily made with scraps. Your blog is great, thanks. Good luck with your new program. Best,BER


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