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What do you do with fabric scraps?! Shawna's Answer.

Photograph of scrap quilt, multi colored in front of a red brick wall.

What do you do with fabric scraps?! I inevitably have scraps from every sewing and quilting project and I constantly wonder how to use them.

My first strategy is: Use them! Seems obvious, I know. Scraps are easy to overlook so when I’m planning a new quilt project, I always make a point to include scraps in my fabric pull. I select them based on color or value, and I make sure to include leftovers from garment making, not just quilting cotton.

My second strategy is to pick a project with the purpose of using scraps. This quilt is made from a collection of garments I got at the thrift store, fabric from my stash and scraps. The smaller pieces in the pattern and the busy design work great for leftover fabric pieces.

Photograph of scrap quilt up close in detail.

Pattern: Nostalgia by Rebecca Bryan

This pattern is written with specific yardage requirements, but since I was using a random collection of fabrics with unknown amounts, I skipped ahead to the cutting instructions. My goal was to cut out the number of pieces that I needed for the pattern but not to worry so much about having enough of a specific color.

I started with the larger grey squares in the quilt and I cut as many as I could. Then I had enough blue fabric for three squares and I finished off with the dark red. I did this with the smaller squares too. I cut as many as I could out of a particular scrap and then moved on to the next scrap and so on.

Scrap quilt showing the back of the quilt.  Large color blocks make up the back of the quilt.  Quilt is being held up in front of a red brick wall.

Once everything was cut out, I spent a bit of time on the layout. With the variety of fabrics used, the layout is where I really get to focus on the design possibilities, and they were endless for this quilt. I was strategic with the layout for the bigger squares to give a visual foundation. I placed the lighter squares around the edge and kept the darker ones in the center. For the small squares that make the nine-patches, I paired things together based on value rather than color.

If you want to make a scrap quilt, go for it! Start with a color story, then start combing your fabric stash, dig in your scrap bin and maybe pull some shirts out of your closet. It’s gonna be great!

Up close photograph of scrap fabric quilt.

Comments on this post (1)

  • Jul 01, 2020

    I love this project ! Great job. I’ve been saving my scraps too for something like this. :)

    — Jenifer

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