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Fabric Scraps: Trash or Treasure?

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I love fabrics. Yummy yummy fabrics.
There are so many textures, prints, weights, purposes, etc.  Ack, why don’t I work at a fabric store?  (Probably because I would hoard it and not sell a bit of it…)
But after cutting fabric for a project, I’m left with pieces of fabric.
And here comes the troubling question…………“Do I throw these scraps away?”
(Note: This is only part of my scrap pile.)
If the piece is any bigger then my 2 hands together, or is a strip at least as long as my arm…….I hold onto it.  You just never know.  (I know, the voice of a packrat.)
But I do throw away the smaller pieces.  Mostly because my fabric scrap pile was becoming overwhelming.  So a girl has to set up some rules……..even for her scraps. Ha!
Now, for you non-believers who think that scraps are a waste of space, here are a few project ideas that will happily use up some of those fabric scraps.
(Click on any of the images below to be directed to past tutorials.)
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Love those scraps.
Now do a little spring cleaning in those scrap piles……and make something useful out of them.
Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Babycakes says:

    Years ago my mom showed me how to make a crazy scrap quilt using newspaper.You cut paper squares the want .Sew the scraps on the paper square covering your seams as you go.When paper is covered trim match paper then tear off paper.Wal la A square made with smaller scraps.I made one for my nephew many yrs.ago.It was fun,but no time to do it since.

  2. Anna Lin says:

    Seeing your post, they are treasure indeed. Very inspiring! Just never seen such fabrics covered clips before :).
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. matmut says:

    Excellent de trouver quelqu’un avec des idées originales sur ce thème. Bonne journee !

  4. Kermommy says:

    For those unusable little bits, any thing with fibers, natural or not, you can shred it and make fancy paper out of it… there are tutorials floating around the net. You can also make a kind of moldable “clay”.

  5. amie says:

    Look on websites like cath kidson and laura ashley for free samples, and also sent me out some fantastic tilda fabric samples, they were tiny, but perfect for the magnets or covering buttons and pins.

  6. Monique says:

    I have been saving my scraps for years thinking i would use them quicker than i really have but i have made some baby shoes, baby blocks, etc. but recently thought that i really want to start a braided rag rug out of them all, kinda as a “scrapbook” of all the different fabrics that i have used over the years. still need to sit with the boxes and bags of scraps to get them organized into a timeline but will get to it, i will, i will, i will.

  7. Whitney says:

    I love my scraps! I use them mostly for applique and coin purses. My machine has an embroidery attachment so alot of my friends are getting personalized coin pouches just because! They make even better gifts when stuffed with a gift card :) Love this post, thanks for sharing!

  8. Mareeyah says:

    I love your ideas! The flip flop back straps are cute. But does it mean that I’m worse? I’d hold on to a fabric scrap smaller than my hand. Lol! I turn them into little bows for hair clips or head band.

  9. Sue says:

    I love all the ideas for your scraps. I keep mine to because I never know when I will need a tiny bit of fabric. The scraps that are too small I throw in the recycle bin. It is mandatory we recycle here so I just automatically do it. I do it with old clothes too. If I cut a pair of old jeans up to keep as much of the fabric I can use I put all the left overs in the bin and any old shirt that can't go to the thrift store go in the recycle bit too.

  10. Barb says:

    We cut small squres from our scraps to use with our WOODKINS dolls. If you don't know what they are, look them up!

  11. Angela (Cottage Magpie) says:

    Sounds like a lot of people have already mentioned this, but scrap quilters use some pretty tiny pieces. I use everything down to 3/4" square. I'm sure lots of quilters would be happy to have them (and probably even pay postage for them), especially if they make quilts for special needs causes (for example, I make quilts for a local child abuse prevention & care center).

    If you really really don't want to donate the smaller scraps, you can also compost them! Just FYI.


  12. Anne Reno says:

    I am following ButtonMad by my email account.

  13. Anne Reno says:

    I left a comment about the buttons. They really are cute and would add a lot to many types of projects!

  14. heymudda says:

    I left a comment on how inspirational their story is! Beautiful buttons!

  15. heymudda says:

    I am now following the Incomparable Buttons blog.

  16. Gypsy Genes {"GG"} says:

    I am also an Incomparable Button blog follower! Thanks!! :D

  17. Gypsy Genes {"GG"} says:

    I left a comment on Incomparable Buttons blog!

  18. mtnhomequilter says:

    funny you should mention scraps, when just this morning I came across a CUTE quilt pattern that uses the smallest of scraps! Here is the link plus it looks like it goes together with just rectangles in between the scraps! The hardest thing would be deciding where to put the scraps! And just so you know- I "save" other people's thrown away scraps for MY scrap bin unless it's under 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 square. Then I can finally part with it. When you spend good money on fabrics I say use it to the last drop! So if you have any scraps you're willing to part with, let me know, I'm always collecting!

  19. Alisha says:

    I'm new to your blog and have to tell you how much I love it! Thank you for some really great ideas. You have inspired me to craft more and try new things. Thanks so much. I love everything I can do with my left over scraps. Can't wait to see future blogs.

  20. Jill says:

    Hey there…I made a couple of the things you suggested and they turned out super cute! Thank you! I blogged about it and listed you as my craft indpiration. Check it out:

    Thanks again, I can't wait to do some more!

  21. Holly says:

    I agree with a previous poster…make pet beds! Anne at the Greenstitch Podcast took it one step further. Make (or buy) the pillowcase and keep it right by your machine or cutting table to collect scraps. When it's full, close it up and start over. Then you only touch those scraps once and take away some of the temptation to hold on to them just in case.

    1. mywisteriacottage says:

      Love the pillow case idea. great idea.

  22. Holli says:

    I keep all the scraps from my quilts and make matching scrappy pillows for the beds. Easy and Cheap.

  23. Maria D. @ DownrightDomesticity says:

    Thank you for the links! I've been reading your blog for just the past year or so, so I missed a lot of earlier posts. Your son is so little in the fabric baby rings post! But what a cutie! :-)

  24. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the ideas to use up those scraps. I have two baskets full! :)

    Also, I'm giving away a pair of my earrings on my blog this weekend. Head on over and enter if you'd like.

  25. Daffy's Dream says:

    Thanks for sharing, i do few small project with scrap, love all your collection.

  26. Meagan says:

    I BELIEVE in scraps!!! I don't have many scraps to use but I seriously LOOOVE your tutorials!

  27. Denise says:

    I'm a scrap saver too! Surprisingly, I use a lot of them. I do go through my basket now and again and clean it out of anything I haven't used for some time. It's the only thing I'm a pack rat with.

  28. Ashleys Under the Stars says:

    Love this! I don't understand how people can throw away some of the scraps they do! I use my tiny scraps for stuffing! I have so many teeny pieces and I am a knitter, so I have so many scrap yarn pieces for my go green stuffing!

  29. Maria says:

    I always save my scraps too! Now that I see all these little scraps tutorials all together, I am totally going to make several of these things with my scraps–excited!

  30. Cerise says:

    Thanks for all these ideas! I have a huge bag of scraps…couldn't bring myself to throw any of it out, but I couldn't think of what to do with it either!

  31. Chrystal's Corner says:

    Had to come back and share these bean bags…another great use for scraps!

  32. Ash says:

    DEFINITELY a treasure! There's always a use for the scraps! Yesterday I made THE cutest straps for a swimsuit cover-up with scraps! Pics at

  33. Jessica Snider says:

    Most all of my business comes from the applique technique, so I've always kept even smaller scraps because I know that one day it will be an Owl's beak or an orange slice. My goal by the end of the summer is to clean out my scrap collection by making the mother of all crazy quilts! should be VERY colorful!

  34. bethanndodd says:

    I will make something with scraps as soon as I get some time…you know where I can get some of that? HA!

  35. Clover says:

    Great ideas. I hate throwing pieces away. even real small ones. These are some cute ideas. I am gonna try the head bands first.

  36. Lindsay says:

    Right now I dont have much of a stash and I do save everything. I have actually been using them too :) … even the tiny ones.

  37. Karen C says:

    The quilt shop I frequent saves all of the scraps – from classes and from customers. They have a group that makes pet beds for the local animal shelter and they fill what is basically a pillow case with the scraps. The beds are nice and fluffy for the pets and are completely washable and dryable as they are 100% fabric. I've started saving my scraps for this reason (at least that's what I'm saying…)

    1. Gini says:

      Thank you for this great idea! My mom just passed away and I will make pet beds out of her old shirts and clothes! She was such an animal lover and would love this idea!

  38. Joyful713 says:

    Where do you get all of your fun fabrics? I found such a cute shop near my Mom's in Nebraska (about 14 hours away), but have yet to find one near me. Do you buy online?

    1. mywisteriacottage says:

      I find that on line sites offer much more variety plus vintage than most fabric stores do today if you can find a fabric store. Do try ETSY as well as EBAY

  39. Charlotte says:

    The pieces you are throwing away would be gold in the hands of a person how makes mini quilts like I do.

    Or even a kindergarten teacher who loves to do art projects with her kids (like I used to when I was a K teacher).

    Do you belong to a quilt guild? If so someone will want them.

    Take a look at what many of us are making on Facebook page
    'Trash to Treasure Pineapple Quilt Challenge'
    Mine is May with the yellow pineapple blocks with orchids.
    The yellow strips were all from scraps given to me or my stash scraps.

    Have fun!

  40. Lynn says:

    so many great ideas. it's good to know that i'm not alone, but i've yet to figure out how to store all of my scraps! i been working on projects for my etsy shop that use my scraps too.

  41. Keriann says:

    Oh my gosh I have the same rules! My husband laughs when he sees me holding up a teeny tiny piece of fabric trying to reason with myself as to why I should keep it! So I set the same rules you have…I mean exactly the same rule! How funny! My only exception is if it's a piece from a collection I am current head over heals for I simple move the micro mini fabric scrap from my stash and take over to my scrapbooking stash…I'm sure I'll find the perfect scrapbook page to glue it to!

  42. Jaclyn says:

    I saw the cutest quilt made out of scraps and it's now on my to-do list. The quilt was made up of 9-12 inch blocks, pieced crazy quilt style so anything or scrap goes. Then there was sashing between each block to separate it. It was so much fun and I loved that each block was separate, so my new goal is to continually make blocks out of scraps as I go or as my pile gets too out of control.

  43. Kelly O. says:

    my completely unusable scraps get stuffed into a thrift store pillow case. when the case is full I sew it up and donate it to the humane society as a dog bed. they have animals that have surgeries or are ill and need something disposable–enter scrap filled pillowcase…

  44. Joel and Chelsey says:

    I have this great quilting idea once I've saved enough of those tiny scraps you feel guilty throwing away. Humanitarian donation and I get to be super thrifty using all those left overs!! I'll share a pic once I'm done.

  45. Dolly says:

    I just love your website! I look forward to the noon hour when your emails usually arrive. Thanks for all the great ideas! You must work your tail off–just know that all your work is appreciated

  46. Melissa says:

    I've been wanting to make time to get back to crafting and you've given me sooo many great ideas, I can't wait to get started. You have an AMAZING talent for creating things. I'm so jealous. Thanks for the great ideas for those of us that aren't quite as imaginative.

  47. feelincrafty says:

    ahhh, the fabric scrap dilemna! I'm always wondering, keep or throw away?? Is it too little to keep??? I love your pin cushion. I really need to make one of those! I also made a sketchbook of 'drawings' made from little scraps, like 1" scraps. It turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself! Hence the reason I hardly through any away. but I like your sizing technique for deciding what stays and what goes.

  48. sbfh says:

    I used to just throw away the pieces that are too small to be useful. Now I gather them up to be used as stuffing for dog beds. I got the idea from the greenstich blog. It was given to her by a reader/listener

  49. Quinn's mom says:

    Just recently redid my sewing room and used a clear plastic shoe holder on back of door. Each section is used for different color scraps….I have found that I am actually using some since I can take a quick look at what I have and don't have to dig in box.

  50. Kristy says:

    Love my scrapbox and WOW! what great ideas you have for using them!

  51. Jenn says:

    Ashley, in fact, I'm using my scraps from a recent wall art project to repurpose a mousepad, and to make the camera strap that you so graciously linked your tutorial. My question for you is, how would I be able to make it as a "slipcover" and not sew it to the strap?

    1. kat says:

      A good way to do that is to mix the concepts for the seatbelt cover and the camera straps into a removable camera strap pad! :) Happy crafting!

  52. Chrystal's Corner says:

    Love this!! Thanks for all the great ideas for scraps:)

  53. Maria Alice says:

    Ótima idéia! gostei.

  54. Teresa Peschke says:

    I've been using scraps to make tanks for my daughter. They have been turning out pretty well.

  55. Rags to Stitches says:

    I love fabric scraps, I keep them all even when I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. Of course now I have a bunch of new ideas. Thanks for a great post! Can't wait to work on some new, fun stuff with my scraps. Love your blog!

  56. Monkey Sews says:

    I separate my scraps into two piles: usable and real scraps. I keep thinking that I could use the trimmings for an art project ot stuffing…. It's hard for me to throw them away because I know that the minute I do…I'll think of a use!

    LOVE your ideas!!

  57. Lisa says:

    I think you should add quilted note cards to this list :)

  58. Eisley Rae Clothing says:

    Thanks for this! I have SO many fabric scraps and can never think of what to use them for, aside from rosettes.

  59. Ryan and Heather Bartron says:

    I needed this! My scrap pile could definitely use some rules. Maybe now I can whittle it down a bit.

  60. theolivetree says:

    I have any etsy shop and I use all my fabric scraps! Some are just to pretty to part with.

  61. Michelle Walkenhorst says:

    So many great ideas to use up my scraps! Now I have birthdays and Christmas taken care of. I just need a better method to keep it organized.

  62. Danae says:

    I always struggle with this one! I finally have my own little craft corner where I can keep my fabric stash organized, so I'm a little more lenient with myself about keeping scraps. I've also become obsessed with applique, so having scraps around is great!

  63. BluBabesCreate says:

    These are all great ideas!

  64. Briep says:

    thanks for this it helps me vindicate that keeping all of my scraps is ok. I look at the huge box and I say I am ever going to use these. The answer now is… maybe.

    1. Jennifer says:


      I am looking for scrap fabric to try and make an “I spy” quilt. I am expecting in September and would like it to be very child friendly. Would you be interested in selling me some of your scraps?



    2. Anonymous says:

      no im sorry they are mine!

    3. Chelsea says:

      Not sure if you found what you were looking for, but a lot of fabric stores and even Walmart sell fat quarters and small pieces of fabric that may help you with this.

    4. mywisteriacottage says:

      Try Etsy for fabric scraps. A lot of sellers there offer scrap packages.

    5. Bev says:

      try your local yahoo freecycle group

    6. Kaytlyn says:

      Hey, I know this is late. But I would cut up old clothes that you don’t wear.

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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