Fabric Scrap Enthusiast

Fabric Scrap Enthusiast

If anyone ever doubted it, I’m a fabric scrap enthusiast. I’m also a bit of a fabriholic, but the major portion of my stash has been gifted to me. I would not have bought this much for myself. Though I love a large piece of new fabric, I also find it a bit daunting. I realized recently that it’s the scraps that excite me. Fat quarters, skinny quarters, squares, inchies and especially the literal scraps from sewing and quilt piecing. I’m always wondering (in a good, creative way) how I can use them.

I’ve always saved my scraps. More saved than used, but I have used some for various projects. About a year or two ago I asked my sister to save me all her scraps and I received a couple of bags of scraps after she made several quilts and outfitted her ladies barbershop chorus with musical themed vests.

I always wash my fabric before doing any sewing. My sister doesn’t. To have everything the same, I tossed a basket of scraps into a mesh bag and threw it in the wash. I forgot that my sister told me she’d also tossed her thread scraps into the same bag. Oh my! Between the extra threads and the normal shredding of cut edges, I had a pretty good mess to sort out. But I’m in scrap heaven!

The first two afternoons I worked on it, I started ironing the pieces, but then realized I first needed to de-thread and generally separate the fabric from the thread bits and blobs. I happened to have a tall CD pack cover handy and tossed the threads into it. It’s nearly full. (And I have plans for that, too.) Today I got back to ironing and sorting. The ironing is necessary for me because some of those threads wrapped the pieces tightly. They were too tightly folded for me to work with, especially given how small some are.

This is what I’d ironed up to about an hour before I stopped today:

On the left are mostly longish strips, starting with nearly two inches wide to 1/4-1/8 inches wide in the center. Moving to the right, next are the really bitty pieces of fabric I call shards–none bigger than my thumb (about 4 in this photo). The fairly large pieces are in the green basket. Just in front of that are little one inch plus square samples with a couple of piles of larger squares in front of them (green squares and more to the left and mostly dark squares to the right and more forward). The pile topped with a light blue scrap are shorter strips about 1.5-2 inches wide. Right in front is a mish mash pile of the odd shapes you get when cutting around patterns. Ninety-nine percent is cotton. Sister made a christening gown, too, so there’s also some silk and some lace, and there are a couple of other silky fabrics (I don’t know what they are) and a few pieces of upholstery fabric. There were also several pieces of batting and some interfacing. (Everything else on the table is just stuff I should have/need to put away.)

I was amazed that some of these tiny pieces did not fray in the wash. The silk frayed intensely, but a couple of shards (maybe inch by half inch) are lovely (potentially useable) frayed silk. Lest anyone think I was exaggerating about 1/8 inch strips:

[Sorry about the blurriness. I was probably holding the camera too close. (Haha! I was trying to figure out what the purple flower fabric was at the bottom. Turns out that it’s my dress!)]

Some tiny pieces did completely fray. A few frayed too much to use (except maybe as thread), but somehow are still holding together enough to recognize the original size and shape.

The fabric companies are apparently well aware of scrap users. There were a couple of selvages that, instead of the usual color dots or squares, had color shapes that coordinated with the the design (cars and music notes, that I remember) which seem like fun.

I have ideas for everything. Some may or may not work, but I’ll have fun. Using raw edges is something I haven’t done much of before. I’m imagining some crazy, crazy quilting…

Time to stop waiting!

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