Open Line Friday-HELP! What To Do With Scraps?

Quilting Fabric ScrapsToday is Open Line Friday.  I love Open Line Fridays because I learn sooo much from you!  We have discussed everything from  Marking Pens HERE, Movies, HERE, and Pressing Products HERE -just to name a few.  (Type Open Line Friday into the search box on the bottom of the sidebar to find more.)  The usual form on Open Line Fridays is:

  • I share a question I am frequently asked.
  • I offer my suggestions for handling the issue.
  • I open it up for others to give their suggestions.

Today, we are breaking with tradition.  I have no answers when it comes to the scrap heap in my sewing room!  The fabrics are too pretty to throw away…but they defy order!  How do I turn these boxes (and there are more in my basement) into manageable mayhem?  I know some people cut their scraps into squares…tell me more!

Scrap Heap001What do YOU do with the beautiful scraps and leftovers??? What about the not-so-beautiful ones?

Disorderly yours,


Lots more quilting next week-including a Giveaway…Stay tuned!  And to our Australian friends who report that it has been 115F  Stay cool! –I’ll stop complaining about the snow and cold here in Minnesota.  Yikes!

108 thoughts on “Open Line Friday-HELP! What To Do With Scraps?

  1. Some of your pieces are still usable for paper piecing projects. Also, you could just sew them all together in paper piecing fashion, except without the paper. Just keep sewing and trimming and adding pieces, sort of a collage form. You’ll end up with something beautiful!

  2. I too store things a la Bonnie Hunter…..but the bits that are less than 1.5 inch, and all the shavings from squaring up and chopping off the selvedge, plus the unusable bits of ‘de-boned’ shirts (the stiffened parts of collars and cuffs, heavily topstitched button hole bands) These get put in the compost bin. The worms seem to like them, and the garden gets more mulch

  3. I sew an old towel or a big piece of “what-was-I-thinking-when-I-bought-that” fabric closed on three sides leaving the top open. I have one by my cutting table, aka the dining room table, and I fill it with all my scraps. When it is full I sew across the top a few times to close it and donate it to an animal shelter to be used as a dog bed.

  4. Pinterest: and type in the words ‘scrap quilt’. I have many ideas blooming. Also try ‘modern scrap quilt’. Careful, this tip will take you down a wonderful rabbit hole.

    Also, I have a guild member who isn’t very affluent and she takes any and all leftover pieces. Every now and again I give her a yard of something I no longer love.

    Or, post on FreeCycle or CraigsList Free to get rid of anything you don’t want.

    • I use every scrap I can and take in other peoples cast offs and unfinished projects to finish into much appreciated quilts for the kids in Guatamala. It doesn’t have to be pretty just warm and functional. I do try to make them as pretty as I can.

  5. Hi Lori,
    I, too, accumulate lots of scraps although I consider myself as a “beginner” quilter who has only approx. 2 years experience. Recently I put one box of scraps on the table and started to sorting them in sizes. So far I made a dresden plate block as the front of my pillow case; made lots of half square triangles for the back of the pillow case. For these 1/2 square triangles, I’m still playing around the design, either pinwheel or just line them up. So this is part of the solution for my scraps. I’m sure you can find many ways to use your scraps, looking forward to see your scrappy design.

  6. I keep ALL my scraps – even those too small to even hand sew together because they can go inside small dolls and brooches that I make 🙂

  7. I’ll be glad to take them off your hands, lol!! I love playing with scrappy left-overs. I’m in the process of making a basketweave quilt (thanks to Bonnie Hunter). This is a pattern I used to start my granddaughter to sew when she was 6 years old.

  8. String quilts? Crazy quilts? Also, crocheted rag rugs. I do that sometimes. You need 1 1/2 inch strips. for the rag rugs. Sometimes I make a matching rag rug for a quilt that has lot of fabric left.

  9. Thanks for asking the question, Lori. The feedback you’re getting is wonderful. I’ve only been saving scraps for about 2 years and I keep them in 2 shoe boxes: one for strips and the other for “chunks”. But I have little patience for this and often discard my scraps.
    If you want to use up scraps, check out the stashbuster tutorials by Corey Yoder (aka Little Miss Shabby) at

  10. I have bins and ziploc bags that I sort by colour (canadian ah) It takes up way too much space right now so I have a mantra for this year. Its , The sewing room gets lean in 2014. the rules are that I have to finish a Ufo or scrap quilt before I can start a new project. Like many quilters I have several Ufos, and many of mine are scrap quilts to start with. My biggest suggestion is Start small like one block.The other very important detail is to have a continuity fabric, Something that pulls all the scraps together. That way it all looks like it belongs no matter what you use.

  11. An idea that I thought was great I’m not sure you will understand this but I will try to explain it, you cut your pieces to the same width the length doesn’t matter and join them together and just keep adding and role them up so when you have lots of roles you join them together and you have a quilt just like that!!!!! I hope you like my idea x

  12. I sort by color order, and keep each color in it’s own basket. I’m amazed how often I need scraps for something small – a bit of this for a bee block, a bit of that for appliqué or even a test scrap if I’m having tension issues. Having them in color order opens my mind to new possibilities, like the lovely Sunday morning quilts book! Oh, I do keep strings in their own box, selvedges have a spot, and I keep unusable bits – tiny squares, trimmings, threads, skinny batting strips – in a big bag. I have the goal of making a doggy bed as someone suggested but now that I no longer have a dog, I have enough of these “shreds” (not scraps!) to finally make a dog bed. I’ll have to donate one, too! And would you believe, I even have vague plans for those tiny triangles cut off binding strips? At $10/yd you better believe I have a firm no waste policy for fabric!!

  13. A friend went to a quilt shop in the mountains of Virginia and came back with an idea for scrap triangles. The owner of the shop was sewing them to a 2 inch square to make square in square blocks. I thought this was a good idea and have been using them as a leader/ender project but with some modifications: I use my Beb Tucker Squared ruler to cut the centres more accurately and I make different size squares. I have most finishing at 2″, 4″ and 6″. I do have four that finish at 1″ – just because I could!, and four that finish at 5″ (these were a mistake).
    I showed a couple of pictures in a recent blog:

    When you do a project like this you find out how many of your friends have “bonus triangles”! I’m thinking that when I finish the kingsized quilt that I might continue to make square in square blocks, some day they will be a border on another quill.

  14. Hi Lori, I have been quilting and collecting scraps for ten plus years. At first I just dumped them into an open basket and pushed them down when the basket was full so I could fit more in. Then I colour stashed them in long narrow boxes, all shapes and sizes. Then I wanted to make a scrap quilt, using similar sized pieces, so began to sort into strips of various widths and squares. This I have found to be the best, as they don’t get too creased and are ready for use when I need them!

We'd LOVE to hear! Please reply...