Scraptastic – Using and Organizing Fabric Scraps

Progress using my American Jane scraps (previously seen here) on my design wall. Totally digging it. I’m using a white linen blend I unearthed in my stash, instead of my old standby Kona Snow. Look at me branching out.

After Christmas I was asked to help teach a scrap-busting class at American Quilting in March.  (Wanna come? It’s on March 15. Schedule here.) Because, as you know, we quilters can not let any fabric scrap larger than 1/2″ square go to waste. It would be like abandoning puppies in the desert.

Planning for that class has been a huge motivator to do something I’ve needed to do for far too long: sort my scraps AND actually make something with them. These American Jane scraps are leftovers from a bunch of projects. Some were already sewn in rows from this quilt and this quilt. I love giving them new life – and freeing them from their captivity in a box in the closet.

Here’s another new WIP (work-in-progress) using leftover scraps from the Amy Butler lattice quilt from last spring along with other assorted random brights. I have a vague idea what I’m planning to do with these assembled strips, but I’m still curious to see how it actually materializes . . .

For lo these many years, I have mostly been keeping my scraps sorted by collection and scattered about my fabric stash. And frankly, they’ve been hard to find, they act awkward around the bigger pieces of yardage, and I tend to forget that I even have them. (Reminds me of Junior High.) Reading Jodi’s Organizing Scraps post was perfect for me. She simply sorts ALL her scraps by color. I know I’ve heard this other times and other places, but for some reason this time it finally clicked. NOW was the time to seize my scraps once and for all, free them from the bondage of their pre-assigned collections, and assemble them all in one, easy to find location, purely by color. I can’t tell you how liberating this was for me. Next step is to do the same thing with ALL my fabric. (And for further permission to do the same thing, read AmandaJean’s post on the topic.)

My method is not fancy.  I went and bought some of those clear, plastic drawer sets (that are handily on sale this time of year) and just started sorting by color.  Now everything is so easy to find and I am so much more inspired to USE them. Seriously, what took me so long?

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  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Love the plastic drawer idea…..I'd like to invite you to share some of your great ideas over @CountryMommaCooks Link & Greet party going on right now through sunday..Have a blessed weekend!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Woosers! Those are both going to look pretty and scraptastic. I just sorted my fabric a few weeks back in color and was surprised at how useful that was. It had been by designer and line too.

  • Reply
    Jennie P.
    January 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    That is a great way to store them 🙂 It looks so pretty!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Funny how you and I sort of do the same thing at the same time….my scraps have been sorted by color all along as have my FQs but yesterday I went through ALL my yardage (anything 1yd and over) and spent a happy hour sorting by color and was amazed at what was there that I forgot about!:)<br /><br />You know me….I&#39;m all about the scraps since I get so many from work!:)

  • Reply
    notes of sincerity
    January 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    This is fabulous Amy!! :0)<br />I have a silly question…what size of fabric is considered a scrap? I never know how to judge that.<br />Have a nice weekend. Trish

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I really like the stash busting quilt. I haven&#39;t figured out what to do with my scraps but I do like this idea. Perhaps my own version will be underway some day.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    ROFL! Puppies in the desert LOL! Totally understand though. I&#39;m working on scrappiness too these days! What a great idea/design!

  • Reply
    Jezibels ~ sproutbabysprout.blogspot.com
    January 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I laughed too when you said &quot;puppies in teh desert&quot; Just today I looked at some small 1&quot; triangles and actually felt bad about throwing them out – I thought &quot;well maybe I should save them to stuff pillows with them&quot; then I came to my sanity and told myself if I did that I would be called a hoarder, so the tiny piece was thrown out. Tomorrow I will sort my scraps (all 4

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    January 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I think this is the year of the scrap busting, and I&#39;m loving how everyone is using theirs :o) Mine are in ziplock bags in a CD tower for the moment (as I don&#39;t have that many collected yet, and they fit)

  • Reply
    Mary on Lake Pulaski
    January 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Love what you are doing with your American Jane. Wish I could join you at the class. Aww..scraps…a never ending issue.

  • Reply
    Jackie @ Fred-and-Cissy
    January 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I love your quilt! I plan to do the same someday, although I think some scrap sorting is due before then. Love the drawer idea too, so you might find a similar post from me in about a year&#39;s time when I get around to it!!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Organizing scraps can feel great. I recently organized my scraps by color and feel like I could put them to good use and really make something from them. I keep mine in plastic shoeboxes. My new rule is once the box is full, I must use them in a new project. I look forward to seeing what you&#39;re making with your Amy Butler.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Both of those WIPs look beautiful! I love those American Jane fabrics! I know I have been sorting and cutting scraps…now I just need to find room to store the plastic shoeboxes, I guess I need to weed the scrapbooking stuff….and so the domino effect begins! LOL

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I have to say, I sorted all of my fabric by color after Jeni&#39;s talk at Sewing Summit, and I love it soooo much better! Plus it made me realize how much I really have (gulp). I am really looking forward to not being bound by collections in the future- unless I choose to do so, that is! My scraps? Those remain a mess, so I think I need to follow your lead and sort those as well!

  • Reply
    My Life In Quilts
    January 21, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I&#39;ve been sorting scraps by size but sorting by color does sound inspiring! I&#39;m not sure I have enough bins to do this, means another trip to Big Lots or Walmart, but that&#39;s okay! All is good in the pursuit of organization.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2012 at 6:24 am

    i really like your American Jane project!! i have that in mind to do with scraps of vintage fabrics that i have!

  • Reply
    Lucy @ Charm About You
    January 21, 2012 at 8:51 am

    The squares of scraps look fantastic! So pretty! <br />Love the WIP too, such a pretty pallette :)<br />Great organising, I&#39;m still in the plastic bag full of scraps stage!! But seeing all the scrappy goodness is making me think I should get sorting… maybe after the next project 😉

  • Reply
    January 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

    scraps. they keep me up at night. stressful. I lose mine all the time in bigger pieces. <br /><br />Please teach again. I would love to come to one of your classes. My son is at BYU so it would be such a good excuse to go visit him!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts
    January 22, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I love your quilt at the top Amy. It looks so fresh and happy. <br />I sort my scraps and fabric by color too. Much easier to find what you are looking for that way! Happy Sewing!

  • Reply
    Julie Snow
    January 23, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I have all my scraps sorted by color also! I also have each &quot;like&quot; scrap of the same kind all pinned in one corner with a safety pin – then I am sure to get them all! I am going to be redoing my scrap stash of thirty-odd years on my blog – would you like to follow? <br /><br />LoveItSewMuch.blogspot.com<br /><br />I enjoy your blog – it&#39;s fun to see what you make!

  • Reply
    Claire Jain
    January 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I love your quilt! Man, I have such a hard time organizing my fabric. I spent a lot of time over the last three days trying to reorganize my craft supplies so I can get rid of supplies I no longer use and make more space to store quilting things efficiently. Thanks so much for sharing the links to those two posts. So helpful!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Puppies in the dessert. Pure comic genius. And it wouldn&#39;t be so funny if it weren&#39;t so true.

  • Reply
    Nanette Merrill
    January 31, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Love this process. Making bits and pieces into something wonderful.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of puttin them into the drawers, right now mine are all in boxes you can&#39;t see through. Now I need to start saving for the drawers. Another question, When you sort your fabric do you put all of the same kinds of fabric or mix flannel and cotton with each other when sorting. And how do you sort the ones that don&#39;t have one specific color, are all of those

    • Reply
      Julie Snow
      March 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      I go strictly by colors and then I have prints on white and prints on black in their own bins.

    • Reply
      amy smart
      March 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      I do the same as Julie – I put everything in by the most dominant color and then put really busy prints on white in a separate drawer. Have fun! It&#39;s been so inspiring to have a pile of pretty color to pull from, instead of a muddy mess. 🙂

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