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Fabric Scrap Projects

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Silk and netting scraps sewn onto handmade paper.

Silk and netting scraps sewn onto handmade paper.

Stash Busting!

I collect little boxes and trays. I don't care what they are made of or what they look like. I need them to store all my tiny fabric scraps - you know, the ones that end up on the floor after working on a bigger project.

Some scraps are minuscule and should have found their way into the trash... but I can't bear to let them go, so into a handy tray they go. I even keep thread offcuts. I know that I will use them sooner or later. Won't I?

If you are like me and hoard all those little scraps or even larger remnants, then I have some ideas for you. Put those leftover fabric scraps to work in these easy projects.

Fabric scrap mini pillows.

Fabric scrap mini pillows.

Patchwork case for Galaxy Tab

Patchwork case for Galaxy Tab

Scrap Fabric Patchwork Pillows

These little pillows are easy and fun to make and they can be the basis of many fabric creations.

  1. Put two scraps of the same size together, wrong sides facing.
  2. Sew (by hand or machine) around three sides.
  3. Stuff with polyester toy stuffing.
  4. Sew up the fourth side.
  5. If the fabric is patterned, hand sew small quilting stitches right through the pillow, picking up a few details in the pattern. If the fabric is plain or has an all-over pattern, sew small stitches randomly all over the pillow.
  6. Turn the edges over once, and over-sew with brightly colored embroidery thread. Leave the raw edge visible as it adds charm. Perfection is not what you want here.

You can sew the pillows together to make book covers - see Fabric Journals - or a cell phone/tablet case. You can see the case I made for my Galaxy Tab, in the photo. It is almost two years old and a bit battered but still keeps my Tab safe. I also used these pillows to make a messenger-bag style purse for my mother.

Assembling fabric pillows.

Assembling fabric pillows.

Skirt made from scraps.

Skirt made from scraps.

Patchwork Skirt

I made this in a couple of evenings for my daughter. The scraps were part of a bunch I picked up at a local market - they cost about $3 - and I had to cut them to size. Notice that I had to machine-embroider Taylor Swift's 'autograph' on the bottom edge - just to make sure my daughter would wear it!

These lightweight cotton skirts are lovely for summer, or they can be worn in cooler weather with leggings. This one looks great with a black t-shirt and black leggings.

Instructions for making a similar skirt can be found at Polkadot Chair: Tuesday Tutorial. I had to make adjustments, as I didn't have enough fabric long enough for the top and bottom edges. I also had to add an extra row of squares to compensate.

Fabric scrap mini quilt 7" x 7"

Fabric scrap mini quilt 7" x 7"

Miniature Quilts

This miniature quilt on the right was made by sandwiching batik, batting and a felt backing fabric together and machine-doodling all over it. The felt was slightly larger, so I fringed it with scissors. I had some scraps of netting and silk so cut out heart shapes and sewed them onto the piece, leaving an opening to stuff in some polyester toy filling. I then quilted the heart by machine and embellished the lot with 'pretties' and sewed on even tinier scraps of gold ribbon in the corners.

You could make several of these and stitch them to a larger backing to make a wall-hanging. Mine is now glued to the front page in a little-sewn journal. I hope to fill the journal with these little fabric creations.

The tiniest scraps of silk can be made into an embellishment for a handmade card or wall decoration.

The tiniest scraps of silk can be made into an embellishment for a handmade card or wall decoration.

Tiny Scraps for Cardmaking

The tiniest scraps can be used for such things as card making and embellishments for mixed media art and quilts. I love hearts, as you can probably tell, and these little silk pieces were perfect for sewing onto hand made paper that I had previously given a watercolor wash and then rubbed with a gold covered finger. The paper is from my scraps collection too. The whole piece is only about 3 inches square. Perfect for gluing to cardstock to make cute handmade cards.

Wall hanging made from scrap batik, fabric strips, produce bags and paper.

Wall hanging made from scrap batik, fabric strips, produce bags and paper.

Wall Hangings & Art Quilts

This wall hanging was made as a simple quilt, i.e. batik, batting and a muslin backing. I used my machine to quilt the piece all over with random swirly stitching. The backing was folded forward and blanket stitched. The embellishments are the interesting parts - I used leftover strips of fabric, silk ribbon, paper, a string of wooden beads, netting and those plastic mesh bags that hold small fruits and vegetables. I machine stitched some of the strips and hand sewed others, using various stitches. I also sewed on more beads and couched on some thick metallic thread.

The finishing touches were a brass heart, two curtain/drape clips, and a twig to hang it from.

Stitch Sampler

Use similar sized pieces of fabric, plain is best, to experiment with machine and hand stitching. You will need to use a backing fabric for strength - a fusible iron-on material is ideal. These pieces are pages. Sew across the page in wavy lines, using all the stitches you have. If your machine has a lot of stitch variations this could take a few fabric pages to complete. Leave about an inch between each row of stitching. Then in these gaps you can practice your hand sewing, trying out lots of interesting embroidery and other stitches. It will look a little like my wall hanging (admission: that's what the wall hanging was originally intended to be but I went off in a completely different direction, hence no stitch sampler photo!). When you have filled your 'pages', you can sew them together, wrong sides facing and then bind them with more stitching to form a reference book.

Here's a general idea of a stitch sampler: For What It's Worth.

A Few More Fabric Scrap Ideas

  • Use leftover fabric to cover a book. Simply glue into place. You can pad with felt if you like. Tutorial at Delightful Distractions.
  • Be ambitious and make a laptop sleeve with fabric pillow squares.
  • Rag rugs - Craftster: Latched Hook Rug Tutorial.
  • Fabric flowers to decorate knitwear. 49 flower tutorials at Kojo.
  • Wrap strips of brightly colored fabric around wooden coat hangers and glue in the ends to make lovely padded hangers for your favorite garments.

Happy stash busting!

© 2012 Bev G

Comments

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on May 23, 2019:

Thank you! I've been crocheting 'wings' for freeform bag panels this evening. My sewing is going to be limited to shortening a pair of jeans for my mother and repairing two dogs beds. Nothing creative at all!

RTalloni on May 23, 2019:

Really enjoyed seeing the skirt. These are all neat projects, but have been on a skirt making binge and am afraid this is sending me down another avenue with them. Thanks for adding your tips on the project. Love it.

Margarida Borges from Lyon, France on October 04, 2016:

I'm more the crocheting type. I love to do crochet and I only hand sew when needed... but I could try a project like this.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 04, 2016:

I expect you would love it if you learned how. I hated sewing when I was younger but I enjoy it now.

Margarida Borges from Lyon, France on October 04, 2016:

Nice way to repurpose tissue scraps! My only problem is that I'm not used to sew..

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 18, 2016:

Oh, thank you so much. That's very sweet of you.

Val Karas from Canada on July 18, 2016:

Bev - Being a typical male I am not into this sort of a creative expression, but I am deeply admiring your talent and passion for all these different ways of creating something beautiful. It's really for the folks like you that this world is insisting on its decorative, not only functional aspects.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 09, 2016:

Thanks, Snakesmum... I have a whole stack of scraps now - a friend sent me a huge box of printed fabric (mostly cats). I should visit my own hub more often!

Good luck with your projects!

Snakesmum on January 08, 2016:

Why haven't I found this hub before? There are two shelves of fabrics and offcuts waiting to be used in the bookcase I use for my crafts storage. Currently I'm working on making couch covers for my two old couches - they are suffering from cat-scratch. When they're finished, I shall have to come back here for more inspirations! :-)

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on February 27, 2013:

Love them! Been using them in painted collages lately. Thanks for stopping by.

Rogene Robbins on February 27, 2013:

Lots of good ideas here. I always have lots of scraps, now it looks like I need to get busy.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 01, 2012:

LOL! Jimmy, just watch you don't sit on it!

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on October 01, 2012:

Beautiful, some great crafting ideas for fabrics, now where did I put that needle? .....jimmy

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 29, 2012:

Hoarders must unite and fight those who wish to declutter us! Thank you hisandhers!

hisandhers from Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2012:

These are absolutely beautiful! I am a total hoarder of all things crafty and you gave me the inspiration I didn't even know I was looking for! Great hub.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 29, 2012:

Thanks so much, Abhimanyu. I'm sure there are lots more ways of using them too. I should imagine you have many beautiful fabrics available to you in India!

Abhimanyu Singh Baghel from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) on September 29, 2012:

Awesome hub and equally awesome ideas! I too, had the habit of throwing the leftovers, but from now on, I'll also collect them and make something useful. You've inspired me for this. Voted up! :)

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 29, 2012:

@ Just Ask Susan - I sort of understand what you mean about the sewing machine but since I've discovered free-form machining, it has become great fun. Like doodling by machine!

@aberld Thank you. Glad it's inspired a few ideas. Have fun with your class.

Amber White from New Glarus, WI on September 29, 2012:

Beautiful hub! I just bought bags of scraps and have been looking for ideas to do with my students in art class. You have some wonderful ideas! voted up and pinned!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2012:

I've never really enjoyed using a sewing machine but I do like to sew by hand. You've given me some great ideas here on new projects.

Sharing, tweeting and pinning.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 29, 2012:

Indeed, wilderness. I go out of my way to collect people's offcuts from Freecycle and Freegle. Thank you.

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on September 29, 2012:

This is neat! Making crafts and projects from scrap fabric. It also sounds like a great way to introduce kids to craft projects and to "recycling".

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 29, 2012:

Thanks, Millionaire Tips! Finding the time is The Big Thing, isn't it? :-) I wish I didn't have to sleep!

Shasta Matova from USA on September 29, 2012:

These are gorgeous treasures that you have made. I too have difficulty throwing away scraps, and I have the heart embellishments that you do. I just need to make the time to play. Voted up.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 27, 2012:

You are a treasure, Joanveronica, thanks you so much. There are awesome things you can do with plastic shopping bags and they are probably easy to work with - they can be braided for rugs, I believe. I bet there are some tutorials on YouTube. Thank you so much for generously sharing.x

Southernmapart on September 26, 2012:

Very nice pictures of scrap fabric production pieces posted with the article. A real show-and-tell Hub.

Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on September 26, 2012:

Hi, it's me again! I just wanted to tell you this Hub is now on FB, Twitter, Stumble, Delicious, Pinterest and Hubpage followers. Well worth it!

Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on September 26, 2012:

Hi there, fabulous article! Wonderful projects, beautiful results and great photos! All in all a priceless Hub.!

I can so identify, I hate throwing scraps away too, be it cloth, yarn, thread, whatever. I even hoard plastic shopping bags. I wish I had room and nimble fingers to continue working at crafts, I have always loved this kind of activity. Alas, I don't live in my own home, and my fingers are clumsy with arthritis, so no can do! I'll just look at your beautiful work instead! And feel happy to have met you on HP. Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting. Will be sharing too! Have a good day!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 26, 2012:

Many thanks, Carol. The bright colored fabrics are mostly Kaffe Fassett designs that I picked up on eBay. They are irresistible!

carol stanley from Arizona on September 26, 2012:

Loved the little pillows you made. The fabrics are all so gorgeous and you did marvelous things with the bits and pieces. I love all forms of art..and the photos are so gorgeous...I am entranced....Up, bookmark and share..

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 26, 2012:

Thank you, ma' darling! Tegan wore it yesterday to vist the Donkey Sanctuary. What's the betting she never wears it again!

Judi Brown from UK on September 26, 2012:

Lovely, lovely, lovely! Love the patchwork case and the little cards. Would love to make some things like this for people for Christmas - can't believe you made your daughter's skirt in a couple of evenings - I'd be fighting it into submission for weeks and it would still look awful!

Inspiring as always, voted up etc.