Most seamsters are familiar with the discomfort of parting with fabric scraps, yet few of us actually figure out how to make use of them in practical ways. The next time your scrap jar/bag/bin/box/drawer looks like it might overflow, consider one of these projects below.
- Patchwork pincushions: Check out The Purl Bee’s great tutorial on these little gems.
- Covered jam jar lids: Fabric HQ offers a fantastic tutorial for turning jam jars into pincushions using scrap fabric. Of course, these little jars also function as storage spaces for notions… or even more scraps.
- Bunting: The great thing about bunting is that as long as the size of the triangles (or any alternative shape you choose) is consistent, the actual dimensions are totally up to you! The only limiting factor is the size of the scraps you have, and often, the more fabrics you use on a strand of bunting, the more interesting the strand is.
- Covered buttons: These are great for using on another project, or displaying together on a framed piece of fabric on the wall.
- Small wall hangings framed in embroidery hoops: Even single fabrics placed in these hoops look good on a wall, but you can increase their impressiveness by appliquéing little woodland animals or hand-stitching inspiring or funny phrases onto the background fabric.
- Business card holder: Impress potential clients by subtly showing off your handiwork as you reach for your business card (like this one above from The Crafty Cupboard)—double points for the dexterity required if you decide to patch them like a mini quilt.
- Ragged-edged coasters: Coasters in general are a great project for using up scraps, particularly if you’d like to appliqué interesting things onto them, but we particularly love the simplicity of these rustic ragged-edged coasters.
- Patch pockets: Although patch pockets can’t quite go anywhere on a garment, they’re surprisingly versatile, and often look appropriate even in unexpected places. Try adding patch pockets to bags, skirts, aprons, or shirts — they may even do double duty if you need to cover a patched hole.
- Coin purses: Ah Kwok Buckles is a great place to order purse frames and kiss clasps online, and coin purses look equally great patch-pieced or appliquéd.
- Bias tape: Long, thin pieces of fabric can be used as a pretty border on other projects. Consider investing in a bias tape tool in one or more sizes.
Even with the wide variety within these projects, the scrap fabrics that they’re comprised of tend to be used in two main ways: by patching small pieces together, or by appliquéing small pieces onto a bigger background piece. Patching may be done with a regular “wrong sides together” seam, or may be done by overlapping one fabric over the other and stitching along the edge, leaving one ragged edge facing up. Appliquéing is a particularly appealing choice when your scraps are especially tiny, since a double-sided iron-on adhesive like HeatnBond can be used where stitching would be impossible. Many of the projects listed above can use either of these techniques, or a combination of the two.