Hello fellow sewers!
It is Angela from Fussy Cut. I’m a big fan of Fat Quarterly, so I am very happy to be asked to share with you in this space. After you are finished up here, please head on over to my blog and say hi!
Today I am writing about one of my favorite things – scraps! I am very diligent about saving, storing, and sewing with them, and I am here to encourage you to use your own. Let’s get started!
First off, what pieces of leftover fabric should you save? Personally, I save anything that is a 2 inch square or larger. Even those small pieces can be used to create a special, tiny patchwork project. For a time I kept pieces that were even smaller, but I realized I never actually used them. They were just taking up space. I put all pieces that are a fat-eighth (11” x 18”) or smaller in with my scraps.
Next, how do you store these fantastic scraps? My favorite place to keep them is a nine cube storage shelf (found at Target and Ikea) filled with fun containers. They are large enough to hold a ton of scraps and attractive enough to keep in any room. Mine is in my dining room, which is where I currently sew. If you don’t have the money or space, organized containers can be easily kept in a closet or on a shelf.
It is easier to sew from your scraps when they are already organized. My preference is sort them by color. If you don’t have that much storage space, you can sort in other ways – light and dark colors, warm and cool shades, solid and printed fabrics, etc. If I’m feeling motivated at the time, I cut my scraps before I put them away. I like to square up my small pieces and cut strips out of the long ones. That when I need them, all I have to do is press them and they are ready to go.
A couple extra things to keep in mind…
1- Keep those selvedges! You never know when you might be inspired to use them. They may take a while to collect, so start now if you haven’t already. Selvedges are a great thing to have on hand.
2- If at all possible, try not to stuff your scraps in a completely closed box. It is hard to use them if they are out of sight. If you store them in a closet, use open containers, baskets, or totes. That way you can see them on a regular basis.
3- If you don’t have time to cut or sort your scraps, no big deal! Find a cute container to keep them in temporarily. I throw mine into an old wire basket that I found at a thrift store. When it is full, I sort and store them.
Now that you have saved and organized your scraps, it is time to get them out and sew! You can use them for quilts, pillows, pretty much anything. I’ve included several photos throughout this post. I made every one of these projects completely out of scraps. So go on, pull out your scraps and be creative! With the cost of cotton going up in the near future and the amount of job loss due to a poor economy, it is a great way to do what you love while using what you already have.