It’s that age old question… what do you do with the fabric left over from a project. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to tesselate the pattern pieces on to the fabric the inevitability of scraps you can’t bring yourself to throw away is almost guaranteed.

I’ve become overly organised with mine over the years and they now get sorted into the following categories:

  1. So small I’ll never use
  2. Cotton fabric
  3. Anything other than cotton fabric
  4. FQ size +

Now clearly category number 1 is stored in the bin… Well, I say clearly but actually I spent years with all my scraps in one bucket and getting annoyed by all the tiny bits that were laced through some quite usable pieces. It just made it harder to find whatever I was looking for so given I’ve never used anything smaller than 10cm before I stopped allowing them to clutter up my stash (however controversial that may sound)

I then have varying sizes of box that I keep the other categories of scraps in. They all used to be in one box but when you’re trying to do patchwork bits of silk and fleece are thoroughly unhelpful. I then keep anything from the size of a FQ up to a full half a meter separate because I find they can be wasted in my scrap bin, their size makes them too useful for lots of projects (drawstring bags for example)

Now I do have to make a confession… I have never used anything from box number 3. I don’t actually know what to do with them, and yet I can’t bring myself to bin them as they look like they should be useful. My brain says a textured quilt where the pieces are all different fabric types would be lovely, but I haven’t managed to design anything that works like that yet. A similar concept but in cuddly toy format would be lovely too but it has also yet to be created. So for now they will sit in their box… any suggestions for them would be very gratefully received.

My box of cotton scraps is the one that gets the most use. I’ve made many patchwork quilts and cuddly toys from them (also the rattles here). One of my favourite uses is as a contrast facing, it adds a nice surprise on the inside of a garment and reduces bulk on heavy weight fabrics like denim. Basically though, any project that only needs small pieces (like appliqué) and this is the box I’ll rummage through for inspiration.

My biggest scrap sorting tip is to commit to a box size and keep the stash to within this size… don’t let it spread.

Its really easy to just keep throwing scraps at a box until it’s over flowing and then buy a bigger box but eventually they’d take over your sewing space. If the box is full, go through it. Consider if any are too small, or even too big to justify being in there. If that doesn’t cut any out it’s either time to bin a few you don’t see yourself using or whip up a scrap busting project. This is one of those jobs that I would entitle “Sewing Space Housework” (along with clearing the fluff from your sewing machine, binning blunt/bent pins and sweeping/hoovering all the loose threads from the floor.

Ps. If you do have carpet in your sewing space, a rubber broom (just like hairdressers use) is perfect for pulling up threads.

One scrapbusting project I need to try is fabric twine. I’ve seen it on Pinterest but am yet to try it, I must add it to my list of things to try next time my stash gets out of control.

So this is what happens to my scraps… but what do you do with yours?


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