A system for keeping scraps

Some of you will consider this sacrilege: I threw out all the fabric in the picture above.

I know there are some quilters out there who keep every piece of scrap fabric no matter how minuscule. I am not here to judge if you have bins filled with every piece of fabric left over from your quilting projects from the last 20 years. That’s just not for me.

My sewing room is already packed full with yardage and works in progress. I don’t need tiny scraps that don’t stack well added to the mix. But I do keep leftover fabric if it meets a few requirements.

Here’s my system for decidingĀ  whether to keep or pitch fabric scraps.

  • Anything over half-a-yard stays in my stash.
  • If the fabric is less than half-a-yard, I cut it down to a quarter yard and put it with my collection of fat quarters.
  • Scraps smaller than a quarter yard get cut into 5-inch squares.
  • Anything smaller than a 5-inch square is thrown out.

So far I’ve got two shoebox-sized plastic bins filled with five inch squares. One is just Christmas fabric. I use them when I teach quilting for students to practice sewing quarter-inch seams on, turn them into doll quilts for charity, and occasionally make a block or two out of them for a scrap quilt.

What’s your system for keeping scraps?

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Comment (5)

  1. Oh, I’m the one who keep all scraps, even if they are 0,5 cm. I buy some fabrics sometimes, but that’s for changing/swapping tiny scraps from my friends. I give them 1 meter new fabrics, and get scraps in return. I would give anything to have your scraps, or anyone else’s scraps as well. Nearly everything I sew is made from scraps, tiny scraps.

  2. I keep all my little tiny scraps in big Ziploc bags and give them to my mother. She uses them to stuff dog beds.

  3. I am like you Stephanie, I don’t keep all of the tiny scraps. I do cut everything down into a couple category (2 1/2 in strips or squares, 4 in squares, or 5 inch squares) anything that does not fit into these categorys typically gets thrown away. Keeping this many sizes does get messy, though.

  4. I am starting to organize my sewing space. Have quite a large space but still was not sure how to organize and what fabric to keep and throw out. I just hate to throw out. Will now use your guidelines because I realize there is just not enough time to do everything and I seem to get bogged down.


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