How to Sort Your Scraps
When Sewing and Quilting on a Budget it is important you make good use of your scraps. Quilting cotton is expensive and when you make a quilt top or other sewing project, there is usually various sized pieces left over. It is important to have a good method to organise your fabric scraps in place so you can find the perfect offcut of fabric for your next project.
I have tried a variety of different scrap management systems over the years. The system I have found to be easiest, fastest, and most useful is sorting your scraps by colour. I save all pieces of fabric that are a minimum of 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches square. They are trimmed of loose threads, pressed and place in a tub.
I have 12 plastic shoe box sized tubs in my sewing room.
They are all labelled by colour. I have:
Low Volume, Pink, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Orange/Brown, and Black. I don’t use a lot of orange or brown in my projects so have grouped these two colours together. Inside the tub the two colours are separated in Ziploc bags. These shoebox sized tubs sit on a shelf in my sewing cupboard and are easy to grab and move to the cutting table when I am ready to use them.
Whenever one of my tubs gets a bit too full, that is the colour I use in my next project. This way my scraps are kept under control. If you recommend another method, please share in the comments below.
What scraps to use in your projects?
When using monochromatic scraps in a project, use a variety of prints including: polka dots, stripes, ginghams, geometric prints, small print florals, blenders, text prints, and solids. Avoid using large scale prints in your small monochromatic sewing projects or fabrics that include too many colours.
Popular Scrap Sewing Patterns
Here are our most popular monochromatic scrap sewing projects. Most of these projects can be easily and quickly made from your scraps in an afternoon. All the patterns are available in our Pattern Store and Etsy Shop.
I love giving new life to my little scraps so that no fabric goes to waste! Hope the following projects inspire you:
Our most popular pattern is the Cosy Cat Coaster. This one is great for you colour coded scraps. Make a set for your cat loving friends.
Organise your sewing tools with the colour coded Zakka Scissor Keeper. This pattern includes two sizes to suit a variety of scissors.
Use your rainbow coloured scraps in the Rainbow Connection Pillow. Featuring a pineapple quilt block made in a 9 different colours and assembled into a pillow. Colourful and fun!
Gather your pastel coloured or gelati coloured scraps for this seasonal Bunny Coaster – perfect for Easter or spring.
English Paper Piecing is a great way to use small pieces of fabric and give them new life. This Hexie Sewing Kit is a great way to master basic EPP.
Do you have colour that is underrepresented in your stash? For me that is orange but the few orange scraps I have, have been used in these cute Patchwork Pumpkin Coasters – perfect for Fall or Halloween.
Your rotary cutter can be safely stowed in this colourful patchwork and linen case – Rotary Cutter and Sewing Tool Pouch.
Have you made a dresden plate? This is a clever patchwork technique that is great for scraps as each blade can be made in a different fabric. Put them together in the Dresden Placemat.
There are loads of festive Christmas and Holiday projects that are perfect for your scraps. You don’t need Holiday fabric, you can give your regular scraps a holiday twist by using them to create a seasonal item, such as the Scrappy Mini Stocking that looks great in any seasonal colours to match your holiday decor.
Create a card wallet for a gift card or other small items using the Zakka Card Wallet sewing pattern.
Coloured strips from the same colour family are combined with natural linen in the Cotton Reel Coaster.
Where to from Here?
A great way to use your fabric scraps is to Sell What You Sew. When you use your scraps to make projects to sell, everything you make is pure profit as you haven’t had to invest in purchasing more fabric. It is much more enjoyable to sew and create in a sewing room/studio that is clean and organised. By keeping your scraps under control, you can spend more time sewing and less time searching for materials.