10 Projects to Sew from Scraps
I use the words “scrap fabric” a lot when writing my blogs. I like to sew accessories and small things for the house and the kids. I don’t throw away fabric pieces easily, or for that matter.. I don’t throw away things easily in general :-). I know you’re thinking “Is she a hoarder?” But… at least I’m an organized hoarder. I do try to fight it and I keep everything as uncluttered as possible. Sewing without scraps would be delightful though, at least for a while… maybe I’ll start missing scraps :-) When I’m buying fabric for a sewing project, I always end up with fabric scraps, some big, some small, some in weird shapes. So, in order to contain that pile of scraps, I need to come up with projects to use them up!
Do you keep scraps? What pieces of fabric do you throw away? How big are they? What is your criteria to keep or not keep a piece of fabric?
In general, a scrap is a leftover piece of fabric that is too small on its own to be used for another project by itself, right? The size of a piece that is considered ‘useful’ varies from person to person.
I’m using the word scrap for any leftover piece of fabric, not just the pieces that are so small that you can’t sew them to another piece of fabric anymore. If I would have more time and more space, I think I would just keep all the pieces that you cut off. Zero waste! The tiny parts I would cut up for filling of a floor cushion, the bigger parts for a patchwork quilt, small pouches, doll clothes. The long strap parts for making fabric twine. I think I could start a scrap fabric business! Wouldn’t that be great? Using up fabric scraps is so fulfilling.
Right now I have 4 categories of fabric scraps:
- The bigger pieces I wrap around some cardboard or fold and store them in baskets.
The smaller pieces are in 3 categories:
- smallest ones that are soft: a basket with scraps to use for filling,
- the weird shaped ones and long straps in a big cardboard box and
- the square pieces that could be used for patchwork or small accessories in a separate box.
These categories fit with what I like to make. If you are mainly sewing clothes I guess you would throw away much more. But if you are making Barbie clothes or a postage stamp quilts you can keep it all.
I’m now making a kimono jacket out of old denim trousers. I don’t know if it will end up how I imagined it in my head, but I like to work with leftovers and pre-loved material.
A quilt blanket made out of very small pieces is also on my list. This is a long term project but I can share my first 3 blocks with you! To make it feasible I’ve decided to start making quilt blocks size 9 ½ x 9 ½ (unfinished).
I’m just going to try to make the little scrap pieces rectangular and square so I can make strips first that are easy to assemble. I will try to stay in soft blue and green color tones and see how it turns out.
As I told you at the start of this post, I’ve done a lot of projects with scrap fabrics over the past few years. I gathered 10 of them here, so if you need some inspiration just click on the links to go to my old blog posts. We have a video and detailed written tutorial for every single one of these projects.
1. Making fabric twine is my favorite scrap busting passtime… a great way to use up scraps very fast. Check out the fabric twine tutorial and my blog about the things that you can make with fabric twine.
2. A flag garland is a classic, it is easy to make and great to have and reuse. I made this one 4 years ago and it has already gotten a lot of use. We get it out and decorate the house every time there is a birthday to be celebrated in the family.
3. Making a dog leash from scraps is very easy and a neat gift for a dog owner!
4. If you want a set of fabric napkins with mitered corners you can of course buy new fabric and make a professional looking batch but I made a stack of small napkins for everyday use without going to the store. These don’t need to be made out of the same fabric. If you stay in the color tones that match your table or plates, I think it’s a nice way to cut down on waste.
5. Every new mommy needs baby bibs, a lot of them and it is so nice to have a couple of small pretty ones to catch up the drool when the baby gets its teeth. That’s when these triangular baby bibs come in handy.
6. Long hair? Or little nieces, grandkids or friends that would like a handmade scrunchie? The 80’s are back and so are scrunchies, make one out of the scraps of a blouse, skirt or dress…you just cut out of your favorite fabric!
7. Little pouches are perfect to use up leftover fabrics. You can mix and match different fabrics for the interior and exterior. This tutorial is for a rectangular travel pouch to hold your toothbrush or a cutlery set.
8. To make reusable make-up wipes, your scraps can be as small as 4 by 4 inches. These are super simple and fast to assemble. You can use cotton, flannel or old towels.
9. Making your own sanitary pads might be a little out of your comfort zone but besides the plastic snaps, I’m sure you have all the material at hand in your sewing storage. Last year we donated 1000 pads to Pachamama, all made by our great MadamSew community!
10. Do you already have pattern weights? You don’t have to buy them. They are very easy to make and you can just use rice as a filling. Besides holding the pattern pieces in place, I also use pattern weights to hold down a large piece of fabric on my table when I cut it or when I’m making marks.
These are the 10 projects I wanted to share with you. I’m sure you will find something that will inspire you to use up those leftover fabric pieces!
Have a nice day!
Making tutorials and sewing videos for MadamSew