Saturday, 26 July 2014

Scrappy Days - How I organise my leftovers

Recently, I have been working on reducing my pile-o-scraps.  The fabric fund has been a bit depleted after making my Sister's Choice quilt (for which I collected lots of love purple, pink and grey fabrics) and I have decided I need to use the fabric I have instead of buying more just because I like it.

I am a hoarder in all areas of my life and fabric is no exception.  I have kept all the itty bitty tiny bits from all of my projects.

Recently, I decided it was time to sort them out and put them to use.

At the Stitch Gathering last year, I attended a class on making scrap patchwork squares.

The class suggested hand sewing, which meant you could use really tiny pieces.  However, I thought at the time I would like to have a go using the sewing machine and approach this as a method of using up scraps.  So I had a go.

The pieces are all sewn together using a quarter inch seam, which means that scraps which are less than an inch across are pretty useless and just add bulk. These squares are cut to 5".

I have also recently had a go at EPP and have sorted through my pile of scraps for pieces which can be used for 1 inch hexagons.

Turns out they have to be roughly 2.5" square, which is handy as I have a lot of squares and strips in this size from other projects.

So, all of this has led me to devise a new system for organising my scraps (which I am now doing as I go).  I've started using sandwich bags labelled with a Sharpie to house my organised scraps.

  1. Anything less than 1.5" square is pretty useless and can be disposed of without guilt.  
  2. Anything more than 1.5" and less than 2.5" square (roughly, they don't have to be square, but do need to have a minimum width of 1.5") gets sorted into colour coordinated bags for making scrappy blocks.  Eventually, I hope to turn these into a rainbow quilt.  I am also saving white and low volume scraps to use as sashing on this quilt.  A very long term project I think.
  3. Anything big enough to cover a 1 inch hexagon is being basted and added to the pile of hexagons I am saving to make a hand sewn scrappy EPP quilt.  Again, I will probably arrange these to make a rainbow.
  4. Anything larger than this is being neatly folded and kept in my scraps box for use in other projects. For example, I recently raided this for some low volume scraps for my Little Blog Quilt Bee block for July. If I can, I'm cutting out 5" square pieces to add to my charm pile.
  5. All strips of 2" or more are being kept in one bag together.
  6. All strips of less than 1" are being kept for ribbon for wrapping gifts.  However, I see these being disposed of (either re-housed or chucked) as I am yet to wrap a single present using these.  Some of them are so lovely though, I don't want to throw them away.
So, that's how I am managing to find new fabrics, ideas and quilts in my leftovers and make the most of what I have.  Quilting is a rewarding but dear hobby, so it's nice to satisfy my need to reduce waste and add to my stash.  

Anyone have any other scrap busting/sorting tips?


  1. Love, love scrappy quilts. You are very organised. Both your hexagon and rainbow quilts are going to be amazing!!

  2. I think there must be something in the air... I decided to start sorting out my scraps last weekend, which turned out to be a bit of a nightmare! Just like you I try to save as much as I can because fabric here isn't cheap - mostly it causes a sharp intake of breath and cries of "how much?!?!" I've just started making a string quilt with some of my scraps, which is a really great way of using up long thin strips - have you had a go? And you can never go wrong with hexies, what a great idea to make them as you go along though...hmmm, more ideas!!!

  3. Wow, your blocks are looking great. You are truly ambitious with your plans and scraps!