Scrap Organization and Storage

 My scrap quilts always get the most interest, attention, and questions so I’ll share what I do. This is what I posted on my instagram account through multiple posts but I've combined and condensed
them all in this post.  I’ve tried storing by color or size or whatever only but that didn’t work for me. 

I have two storage towers for different categories and works in progress. I’ve tried using only one but it’s not enough room.

PRECUT SCRAPS: I basically cut them so they can mix and match with the math easily (1.5, 2.5, 4.5”). There’s a few other sizes thrown in that are leftover from other projects but it would be too much waste to cut them down so I leave them. When this bin fills up, I make a quilt. I currently only have up to 1.5x5.5” because I used all the bigger strips on this quilt.  I include up to 6.5” and anything longer is left longer.

Strips 2.5” are left long and sometimes used as binding. If it doesn’t quite make 2.5”, I’ll cut it 2 1/4” and it goes in with the binding, most of which are combined with like colors (which are hiding under the bigger binding rolls).

When I’m cutting for projects, if the offcuts will fit into one of these sizes, I’ll cut it then so it can be sorted right away. I like to cut scraps to the biggest size with as little waste as possible.

STRING SCRAPS (I just call them skinny strips)
I pretty much keep every scrap but anything smaller than 1/2” is tossed (into another bin to use as stuffing). The kallax bin is where I keep all leftover string scraps and anything I don’t feel like dealing with at the moment. When it gets full, I “process” the wider leftovers into my preferred precut sizes but this is where anything skinnier than 1.5” goes, with the exception of the solid fabrics (see below).

The plus quilt uses the shorter skinny strips and the black
 and gray border was made using a mix of the skinny strips and
the leftovers not processed yet.

I do keep my solid scraps separate (pic 4). After cutting 1.5” strips (like in Part 1), I cut them into 1” strips and then the scraps from those are cut into .75” strips. These are long term projects and I may not do this with these solid scraps forever once these projects are done. Most likely they’ll just go into the skinny bin.

The quilts I’ve made with the skinny strips, like the one below, are more improv pieced so I do not trim or straighten any of the skinny strips.

BINDING TRIANGLES (the offcuts from joining binding) - Something I’ve never seen anyone post about using and I assume most people throw away.

So all triangle scraps go into this drawer no matter the shape of the triangle but more than 90% are actually from binding.

I save them because I know I will use them…as flying geese (left picture below), a bears paw border (right picture below), sewn together in a row to create sashing, lattice design, and as part of the design. I often will sew them together as leaders/enders on other projects. Sometimes I’ll square them up, sometimes I don’t. It also helps that I love HSTs.

Obviously, not everyone wants to save and sew with their tiny scraps. But I think sometimes we are so focused on finishing that we don’t enjoy the process. Sewing the small scraps forces me to slow down and think more creatively; there’s less waste and uses what I have so there’s also less need for buying more fabric (though that one is hard because who doesn’t love new fabric).

OTHER SCRAPS - These are the scraps that could be processed into my precut sizes but I don’t because I feel like there would be too much waste cutting them up or the scraps coordinate somehow.

This quilt below, left, started from mask leftovers, which had all those weird curved bits left. There wasn’t enough though so I added in a finished quilt. Yes, I took apart a quilted and bound quilt to add to this project, which I will circle back to.

All of the scraps, above, right, are #tulapinkfabric scraps mostly from my mom, and so I decided to keep those separate and start a quilt, to finally use some of my long hoarded #tulapink fabrics.

Now back to using a finished quilt, sometimes I sew and finish quilts, that end up being unsuccessful for whatever reason. Unsuccessful to me means if we won’t use it, I can’t sell it or I have no one to gift it to. The quilts below were unsuccessful; the black, white and red one was just too boring and I didn’t actually finish it and the #hstquilt was too small. I ripped them both apart (I’m not too careful when seam ripping, I mostly start with a seam ripper and then just rip the stitches). I’m mixing parts of them together and pulling other scraps to mix in.  They were in one of the drawers waiting to be used.  I am trimming them to a new size (after already trimming them the first time) but I know it will be a successful quilt in the end. Some may think it’s a waste of time doing all of this extra work but I feel it’s more of a waste if no one will ever use it.

LARGE SCRAPS - This is basically anything bigger than 2.5” and can be folded. These types of scraps just go back onto the shelf or in the storage bins (pic 1) with the other yardage. Sometimes I’ll use them in place of yardage to give variety so I don’t want to cut them to my precut sizes.

I store my fabrics by type and then color. Solids and linens are stored separately and then prints are by color. (I do have a bin for knits and others but rarely use it.) I keep different sizes mixed together. But these are all stuffed full so whatever doesn’t fit (but have been cut into) gets put into this extra storage bin (pic 3), which is also stuffed full and the lid doesn’t fit. So then I’ve mixed them in the bin with deer prints which are separated for specific quilts.

Leftover quilt backings stay with the other quilt backings. I always buy 4 yds for backings and then what’s left will typically be pieced together to make a scrappy backing. (The last two cubbies missing from pic 5 on the end are all of my 
#libselliott fabrics.)

My ultimate goal is to have nothing overflowing or stuffed full but that is harder than it should be.

SELVAGES - If you’ve been around awhile, you may know I love selvages and save them all. I mostly use them for #fabricweaving, although sometimes I will leave them on and use them as part of the fabric. Once I make the #selvageweaving, I use them as if they were just a fabric panel, even cutting them up for patchwork. I also prefer to work with the selvages without the fabric, so will cut right along the edge where the fabric starts or cut 1/4” into the fabric. This includes solid fabrics, which are my favorite to add pops of color and texture.

Anything that’s not sewable goes in the bin behind my machine and when full, gets emptied into the bigger bin. I use these for stuffing, using half fabric scraps and half polyfil stuffing as the fabric scraps alone make it really dense and heavy.


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