Saturday, February 26, 2011

What to do with Fabric Scraps?

Anyone who has ever sewn anything in their lifetime has undoubtedly been plagued with the question of what to do with all those scraps of fabric. Those who were born without the hoarding gene would have no problem simply tossing those leftover pieces right into the trash can, never to be thought of again. If I were to toss a piece of fabric larger than the size of my hand into the trash can I would no doubt be plagued with recurring nightmares and cold night sweats.

Let me backtrack a bit first however. You see, I am pretty sure that when I toss my fabric scraps into the over-sized shopping bag sitting beside the table they begin to multiply. I swear that every time I throw a scrap in there I can pull out three. It's a miracle that I haven't pulled out any mutant scraps with all the inbreeding they are certainly doing in the deep dark pit of that American Eagle bag.  I really haven't sewn that many things thus far and I already have two large stacks of scraps. May I add, that is after throwing out a few handfuls of strange shaped pieces. Don't worry though fabric activists, they did receive a proper funeral and burial. 

After decreasing my scrap pile slightly I decided that I needed to find something, anything, to do with all those pieces I just can't bear to throw out. So, I have been searching the interwebs to find some suitable projects for my scraps. I thought that I'd compose a list of the resources I found and share them with you all and to ask for a favor from my multitude of few readers out there. First, I'd love to know how ya'll use up your fabric scraps or if you simply toss them in the trash never to cross your mind again? Secondly, I need to be pestered and nagged to actually complete these projects before I have a fabric scrap pile so large I get buried under it.

Without further adieu here is the list of projects that I can hopefully work on next week to get rid of the scrap pile. My goal is to, gulp, throw away all the leftover pieces after I have made these projects. It really is time to come to the realization that I don't have enough room to save all my scraps, especially since the cabinets are bursting at the seams already with 70s yellow canisters and Pick-A-Delis.

First, are these cute quilted coasters from Martha Stewart. The directions indicate that only a 4.5"X10" piece of fabric is required. I will need to pick up some batting in order to make these though. 

Nest, for the larger scraps I think I am going to turn those into oven mitts and pot holders.I intend on swiping the oven mitt pattern from a McCalls apron pattern that I have. On a side note, I did attempt to once make an oven mitt from a 40's vintage apron pattern only to find that when finished it wouldn't fit over my gorilla sized paws. 

I found this tutorial to make patchwork hot pads, which seem to be a perfect way to use up those really small pieces.  Since it also requires a binding I could also use a few larger pieces to make bias tape. (Especially since store bought bias tape is a bit pricey and can be a challenge to match.)

Making oven mitts and hot pads also seems to be a good way to learn some extremely basic quilting skills which I will put to use when I hopefully make an actual quilt one day.

I also found this tutorial to make zippered pencil pouches. I could certainly use one of these to throw down in my purse to stop all those pesky ink and pencil marks that seem to cover the bottom of mine.

Next up is another Martha Stewart tutorial for padded hangers.  I know that the traditional use for padded hangers is lingerie, but I was thinking that is might be better to hang my vintage dresses on padded hangers. The dresses slip off hangers that don't have a little cutout, but the hangers with a cutout sometimes leave indentations in the shoulders. 

Now, no blog post about what I should do would be complete without some sort of crazy hair brained idea of mine. You see, I came across this tutorial to make a really cute ruffled camera strap. Now, I don't own the sort of camera that you would want to use one of these straps with, but that didn't stop me from thinking of some strange other use for it. I want to make just the ruffled strap and affix some sort of strange card/money carrier to the end of it. Why would I want to do such a silly thing you ask? I have two reasons actually. One, fanny packs aren't really acceptable to wear in public and I did my fair share of sporting those circa the fourth grade. Secondly, if I could cram my money into some sort of sleeve then I could have two hands free and no purse dangling from my shoulder when I make a mad dash at an estate sale for vintage Pyrex/Tupperware/sewing patterns/vintage dresses. Oh yes, I told you the idea is crazy.

In closing, be on the lookout for coasters, oven mitts, hot pads, zippered pouches, padded hangars, and ruffled straps. If you don't see these in say, 10 business days, then please feel free to nag me until you do. If there is no sign of me in three weeks I have been buried under my fabric scrap pile and I'm still digging my way out.

So, what do YOU do with all those scraps?


  1. Note to self: blog post about fabric scraps (don't want to write a book in your commewnt section!) ... if I don't have it up in 2 days feel free to nag ME (and I shall return the favor LOL)

  2. Could some of those scraps become a contrasting pocket and/or ties/straps on the aprons you make?

  3. dfr I'm eager to read your blog post, and don't worry I will nag you if it's not up soon!

    glorm- That is a great idea that I hadn't thought of! Thanks!

  4. Here's a really easy tutorial for coasters:

  5. marysews- I will definitely check out that tutorial. Thanks! :]

  6. dfr inspired me to add a post on this - just a head's up that I linked to yours! ;-)

    Scrapaholics Unite!