Fabric Scrap Management

In just a few weeks I have amassed huge piles of fabric scraps, like this one.

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I have been trimming and saving the larger pieces but tossing the smaller ones. Then I got to thinking, that’s my money there in the trash. Maybe I should ask the experts what they do.

So… to all you experienced quilters out there, here are my questions on managing fabric scraps.

1. What is considered a scrap?

2. Do you keep scraps or throw them out?

3. What to do with scraps IF you keep them?

4. Where to store scraps?

I have a few ideas.

For one, look at these cute little clear plastic paint cans. From Michaels. I had passed them in the aisles many times. I got to thinking about them when my fabric scraps were piling up.

So, I bought two.

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One can is holding any scrap larger than my finger. The 2nd one will hold larger pieces that I can recycle or cut into charms.

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And guess what I did with the tiny scrap pieces I had been throwing out?

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I am thinking I could hang this up outdoors somewhere and let the birds have at it. They could use the scraps to build their bird’s nests. Just pull the pieces through the mesh holes.

What do you do with your fabric scraps?

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12 comments on “Fabric Scrap Management

  1. quiltfever says:

    A lady in my guild collects the tiny scraps shown in your first photo and turns them into pet beds for the Animal Shelter. I think your bird nest “store” is also a good idea.

  2. I also am one who uses the small scaps for stuff on dog toys..

  3. Lennette Whited says:

    You have a couple of fantastic ideas there Donna!!! I usually don’t keep any scrap that isn’t a minimum of 3″ x 3″. I use to keep every single scrap, but found that I will rarely, if ever, take the time to look for a 2″ scrap. At that size, it’s just easier to cut a new one. If you’re making a charm quilt, then definitely keep anything that’s at least 2″ x 2″. I love your idea of hanging your smaller scraps in a place where the birds can pull them out for nest building!

  4. Lennette Whited says:

    Forgot to add that I separate my scraps into main color themes and store them in clear stacking bins in my sewing room closet. That way, I can open the door and see exactly which bin I need at a glance.

  5. don_mae says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Very helpful tips. Really appreciate it.

    Lennette, great idea on color coordinating the larger scrap pieces. I’ll have to do that.

  6. KipperCat says:

    These aren’t crafty uses, but at least pull some more use out of the scraps. 1)Cotton scraps are good additions to a compost pile. (A friend tosses her worn out cotton T-shirts there) 2)CCA, our local social service non-profit sells bulk bales of unusable clothes. When I read that they made $20,000/yr that way, I stopped throwing out anything too worn-out to be useful. Not all thrift stores do this.

  7. patricia says:

    what fabulous ideas ! I had been throwing away the tiny scraps like those but as I read your “feed?” I got thinking that they would make ideal stuffing for pin cushions ! I have been wanting to make some to sell at market but not wanting to pay for the expensive filling .. that solve my problem .. Fab and thanks !

  8. Kokopelli says:

    I collect the fabric scraps in a jar and stuff pincushions or other small objects with them.

  9. Debra says:

    Wow what good ideas! Somewhere I have a bag full of squares I cut out of my scraps- all about 4″ x4″. Was planning on making a quilt but never got around to it, and I’ve probably got more then enough squares there already. Will have to find my scrap bag and start seeing what I can do with it.

  10. Paula Michalowski says:

    You could make fabric beads and embellish them with seed beads, glitter, etc. Kristal wick has a great book on the subject.Then you can string them. you could also use some for collage and mixed media work if you are into that.

  11. Ilona Gracias Flor says:

    You could use them to make a rag rug too.

  12. don_mae says:

    Great, great tips!! Thank you very much, everyone.

    I found something in my supplies stash I can put the scraps in.

    Never heard of making beads with fabric scraps. Will have to check that out.

    Using them for stuffing… how did I not think of this!!

    Really helpful tips. Thanks again!!

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