I love scraps. I think most of us sew-y, crafty people love scraps because we see so much potential in them. (And because we also recognize the investment in all of that fabric!)
As anyone with experience with fabric scraps (or breeding small rodents) knows, they can quickly multiply and get out of control! So I thought I’d share a couple of ideas about how to manage and use fabric scraps.
Sorting, Saving, and Storing Scraps:
First of all, find a simple solution that you’ll actually do. If you’re just getting started, then definitely go simple because it’s more likely to be effective.
When I finally decided to start getting organized I took everything smaller than a fat eighth out of my regular stash and sorted my scraps by colors only. I still use clear plastic bins from Target/Walmart/etc. and just automatically add my scraps to the right bin.
The other benefits to storing scraps by color is it’s easier to find something I need AND they look prettier, they inspire me to make something with them and therefore I’m a whole lot more likely to actually do something with them!
Here’s an example where I used a bunch of my red scraps to make a wonky log cabin quilt!
Sorting by Size:
I have often been asked what size scraps I save. I save anything bigger than about 2″ x 2″ and smaller than a 10″ x 10″ square in my scrap bins. Anything bigger than that I put them with my yardage (which I also sort by color).
Uses for Fabric Scrap Strips
Another common size we end up with is long, strips or “strings”. One of my favorite quilts for strips and strings are this string quilt using paper foundations to create the blocks.
Another classic and personal favorite for strips are traditional log cabin quilts. It’s easy to trim down your scraps to the right sizes for these blocks. You can see the start of this vintage inspired version – and learn about how to make a log cabin quilt here.
Here’s another variation on a traditional log cabin block (this one is a Courthouse Steps variation) that is part of the wonderful Scraps Inc pattern book. That book is full of other gorgeous scrap quilt inspiration.
Sorting scraps by size:
In recent years, I also started sorting scraps a little bit by size as well. A while back I read a post by Lori Holt about organizing and saving fabric scraps. She’s a genius.
I’m not quite as well organized, but I have started saving two sizes of “precuts” when I’m cutting fabric or have left over jelly-roll strips, etc. I save 2 1/2” squares and 2 1/2” strips. Both are useful in lots of patterns, and they’ve come in handy. I still keep them sorted by color so they look pretty are I’m more inspired to use them.
My last Scrap Management tip: purge!
Routinely go through your scrap bins and pull out scraps that just don’t inspire you any more and let them go. Give them to a friend, a quilt guild, or a charity and let someone else create with them. I guarantee that you will be more inspired to use your scraps after you’ve got rid of the ones you don’t like anymore.
These are just a couple of suggestions that have worked for me. There are loads of great ideas out there for organizing and using scraps. Most importantly, do what works for YOU! Saving and organizing scraps is only worth doing if they’re something you’ll use, not because they’re something you feel guilty about.
Today I’m sharing a little project for using scraps at Flamingo Toes. Bev has organized a series of tutorials for busting your scraps – and they’re more than just fabric scraps – there’s paper, trims, etc. involved as well! I’m excited to see all the projects and ideas as the series continues.
I’m sharing mini-quilt tutorial perfect for using up fabric scraps. You can find the full tutorial HERE.
If you’re looking for other ideas for using up scraps, this post is full of ideas for using your fabric scraps.
I’ve also started a Scraps pinboard that I update regularly, if you want to follow it for the latest projects and ideas:
What are some of your favorite tips for sorting, storing, and using fabric scraps?