Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Hoarding, Thy Name is Amanda

In the grande scheme of things, sorting out my stash of fabric scraps probably does not seem the best use of my limited time. But when those fabric scraps have filled up the capacity of a ten foot square box, and then a garbage bag, and then another garbage bag, it became almost imperative. Isn't it frustrating that to organise something you need to completely trash it first?

The Elephant in the Room

Pictured above is just a selection of the stacks of scraps I made today based on colour / type: purples, reds, blacks, browns, greens, oranges, blues, pastels, polkadots, plain colours, knit fabrics patterned, knit fabrics plain, patterned fleece and plain fleece. Half of that has now been folded and stacked into neat little piles. The other half is carpetting the floor of the spare room and giving me the sweats.

I'm being torn in two directions here. Responsible me is trying oh-so-hard to declutter and organise my life in a more straightforward manner. You would not believe how much I've thrown out or consigned to the bin recently*. Crafty me has been programmed to save the scraps from everything to be used at a later date for smaller projects**. I mean, who throws out lovely fabric? Psychopaths, that's who.

Because it's so much easier for me to let you all run my life rather than make decisions for myself:
  • Do you keep all your scraps?
  • Do you have a minimum size that you keep?
  • Do you only keep them if you don't have a bigger piece?
  • If you don't keep them where do they go? (i.e. garbage, shop, school, Fabric Heaven)
  • How oh how oh how oh how does anyone store such a monumental scrap heap?!

*Until I show you the pictures at a later date, then you'll believe me.

** Disclaimer: I almost never make smaller projects.


  1. I keep everything bigger than a finger. I only just figured out that a finger is the standard size, looking at a bag of scraps and the rejected ones.

    But I don't have that much yet. And my scraps tend to get raided by a learning to sew child who thinks that it's just for her...

  2. I don't keep all my scraps as I tend to be quite tight when cutting things out so I minimise them. My scraps have to be about 5cm x 5cm min. Otherwise I bin them.

    And I store them in these:

  3. I keep all of my scraps in the vain notion they will be used for small fabric origami projects. I have used precisely nome of them.

    I'd be willing to take some scraps off your hands though! *shameless*

  4. I keep all of mine, for when I get round to that huge scrap quilt I plan on making (one day,one day) or the tiny ones I use as 'feeders' to stop my machine munching up my fabric at the beginning of a seam.

  5. I got rid of a lot when we moved and now wished I hadn't. I haven't sew in like six months. It's so sad. I have one bag now with scraps for quilts because I *do* actually quilt.

  6. I don't keep all my scraps - they have to be big enough to make an applique heart to make the grade, about 10cm x 10cm, and they have to be pretty enough to use as applique as well, because I use my scraps for....applique!
    I used to keep them in carrier bags, but that was bad because the carrier bags kept on multiplying, so now I keep them in a small plastic chest of drawers, and if it gets full I have a de-stash and get rid of some. I take them to the household recycling place and put them in the textiles bin.

  7. I don't keep any scraps. I just throw them out.

    As a matter of fact, if a piece of garment fabric isn't large enough to make a child size pair of leggins, I toss those too. I might keep the occasional cute cotton print scrap, but it doesn't happen often.

    This isn't to imply that I feel like i'm better than anyone else, because I have NO problems hording everything else! Just not scraps, for some reason.

  8. Oooh, scraps! They started to take over my space, so I have made a strict (ish) 1/2 yard rule. Anything smaller than that gets tossed in the bin. I tell myself I'll applique with it, but I just end up buying fat quarters for applique, so it's a lie. If I can't make Myra a skirt with it, away it goes.

  9. I keep anything bigger than 3cm x 3cm or thereabouts. The smaller bits go into a bag which eventually gets used as stuffing for the odd draft-excluder or two. I'm stashing the slightly bigger bits to hopefully make a scrappy quilt from .... one of these days ... when I get around to it! I need to get a box for mine. At the moment, I haven't got a lot and it all fits into a large carrier bag.

  10. You should sell them on Etsy as scrap packs! Since you've already organized them, you could just sell by color/weight.

    I do keep my scraps (every tiny little piece), because they're useful for quilting bees, but I think eventually I will need to put a limit. I have 2 hat boxes full right now, and I don't think I should have much more than that, to be manageable in my small sewing space.

  11. I hoard craft supplies like a creepy little dragon, of course I don't throw away my scraps. Although every so often I go through them and give a bunch of them to my niece to make barbie clothes with. I also like to pretend that I raid my scrap pile for the same purpose sometimes but since that happened all of ONCE even I am not buying it when I say that.

  12. I used to haord everything, for similar reasons to everyone here. But then I moved house and realised I had scraps that I was never *ever* going to use, so I got rid. Bigger bits I sold on ebay, medium sized went to my aunt's school for craft project and the little bits went in the bin.

    These days I am ruthless and if there isn't enough to make a pocket or facing or something, I junk it. That said, I do but half metres of pretty fabric from remnant bins and hoard them for, well, pockets and facings and the like.

  13. I throw away everything except Heather Ross scraps. It's weird because I know I'll never use them, I just can't bear throwing out her stuff.

  14. take them to school - they'll appreciate them and you'll feel better for doing it.


  15. I used to keep all my scraps, now I toss the little odd shaped ones and only keep what would be big enough to use as a pocket lining.

    I also keep of a bag of scraps (mostly fabric I don't care to use again) for the kids to "sew" with.

    I have a large plastic bag that zips shut(bedding bag) that I store my scraps in. When it becomes full, I sort through and keep what I think might actually be used. The rest goes either to the kids or in the trash.

    BTW, I love the castle peeps party frock! It's adorable.

  16. I have to weigh in on the side of the devil here, sorry. I think you should get rid of a lot of the scraps. But I know you have many fabrics that you really loved and were sad to use the last of. For those you should save the scraps and one day make them into a lap quilt. Then you guys can snuggle under it and enjoy the memories of those fabrics and those outfits and those moments.

  17. I like the idea of making a scrap quilt (especially with the fabric that has sentimental value). Since I live in a small apartment I have to be pretty choosy about what I keep/toss, so I cut a few 5in squares out of my leftover fabric (for the quilt I will someday make) and I get rid of the rest.

  18. Yeah, everyone's already said it, but I get rid of anything not big enough for an applique. And then I never use the scraps I keep, except to test tension and see whether or not my serger is working that day. So basically all those lovely designer fabric scraps just get used, abused, and eventually thrown out. Unless it's some of the "wonderland" line by Momo. Then I hoard every last little sliver.

    1 tip: find a friend with a fancy embroidery machine. Those people are always looking for little scraps in fun colors and patterns, and you can use your scraps to bribe them into embroidering stuff for you. They really are a form of currency.

  19. Q: Do you keep all your scraps?
    - *ashamed*, yes I do.

    Q:Do you have a minimum size that you keep?
    - Not really. Some dingly dangly ones can be used as ribbons, somewhere, somehow.

    Q: Do you only keep them if you don't have a bigger piece?
    - Oh yes.

    Q: If you don't keep them where do they go? (i.e. garbage, shop, school, Fabric Heaven)
    - The bin. Or as stuffing.

    Q: How oh how oh how oh how does anyone store such a monumental scrap heap?!
    - Time to be friends with Patchwork! :D Or, pass them on to someone who likes patchwork...

  20. larger ones i keep or bits i think i can make a flower of something like that out of, otherwise they go off to nursery/school/church club to be used for kiddy collage. my mum even keeps her knitting ends for nursery, wool makes such good hair!

  21. ps i take scraps too! would willingly home any of your fab fabric pieces!

  22. If you get rid of them you should donate to the art class we went to together..... Will be a great use for them.

  23. I was saving scraps until I realized I'd never use them...just taking up space. So now I just keep scraps of the newest fabrics I'm working with.

  24. I keep everything bigger than 1.5" square (postage tamp quilt size!), but only in fabrics that can be used in quilts (so no fleece, heavy denim, jersey etc). Any garment fabrics I keep anything bigger than about 6" square, as it might be useful for patching/applique/something. Anything bigger than a fat quarter gets folded and put on the appropriate shelf, the smaller bits are in big ziplock bags (although I'm trying to think of a more aesthetically pleasing option).

    If I find it's getting ridiculous, I throw out the scraps of very boring material that I know I'm not going to use loads of, but mainly I try to think of a project to use them up every now and again.

  25. I have a pile of scraps, also. Not THAT big, but I also don't sew for sale...just for my little munchkins. My plan right now is to use them to stuff into a Floor pillow cushion thing. I know fabric scraps used to be used for upholstery, so what the heck. At least then I won't feel guilty for throwing them out. I do keep any piece that is sizeable enough to use. I like to use lots of contrast pieces in my sewing, and sometimes I don't need much.

  26. hahahahahaha this is myself aswell!
    I have a ton scrap spots and they keep growing! I never go thru them and only assume I will use them some day so refuse to throw them out. Personally I am seeking fabric therapy!! lol

  27. I tend to keep most scraps because as you say they may come in handy at some point. If I end up with loads of scraps of the same fabric, I will out some to my the sons school.
    Also I don't think clearing out your scraps is a waste of your time and if you have space in the loft you can always make room! I need to sort out my loft fabric as it is in bags all over the place.
    **Scratching head wondering when I can fit that in!**
    B x

  28. Hi Amanda-

    Kinda sad to read that most folks toss their scraps. I am an art teacher and would welcome using the unwanted scraps in my classroom.
    In the past I would use beautiful paper to make my lessons more interesting. Now in the wake of the rising costs of art materials and few school funds for art projects, I have resorted to using fabric. My students love the new medium.

    Please visit my blog to see what we have created.