Fabric Scraps – How To Use Every Last Piece.

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When I first started sewing, I was amazed at how many waste pieces of fabric I was producing. Being a little bit miserly, I really resented the thought of throwing these pieces away. Especially when they are such expensive and lovely fabrics. So here are some great zero waste ideas that I have found for using up every last one of my Fabric Scraps.

How To Use Up All Your Fabric Scraps

20 ways of using up all the fabric scraps in your scrap bag. Zero waste ways to make great gifts.Making Scrunchies From Fabric Scraps - using up waste fabric and up cycling old cloth to make other things #zerowaste #recycled #upcycled #fabricscraps #scrunchies #giftideas

My scrap bag is always overflowing. But I hate to throw even a small piece away. I would rather try and reuse it in some way to ensure it doesn’t go to landfill just yet.

As well as my scrap bag, I have a large pile of old clothes and towelling that is due to be repurposed. I just don’t believe in wastage.

Small Bags and Pouches

For larger pieces of woven fabric, bags and pouches are a great way of using up your fabric scraps and producing great gifts at the same time.

All you need is 2 pieces of outer fabric, 2 inner pieces and a zipper of the correct length.

Here is a great tutorial on how to sew up a zippered pouch

Zippered pouches of various sizes

Earbud Cases

You could also make these great earbud cases, which uses a cd as a template. Tutorial here.

Earbud cases - a great way of using up fabric scraps - #zerowaste #upcycled #recycled #fabricscraps

Eye Masks

A little while ago, a friend and I looked all over to find a suitably soft eye mask for her daughter. We didn’t really find one soft enough for her needs, and so when I came home I made her one from the scraps of some lovely Rifle Paper Company rayon that I had in my scrap bag. It was SO silky and soft.

I self drafted my pattern, but there are some great patterns for free out there. Like this one from Tilly and the Buttons.

Rifle Paper Company Eye mask

Scrunchies

So on trend at the minute. These are a great idea for long thin scraps that you have. A great back to school and gift idea, and they only take a few minutes to make.

Check out my tutorial here.

 

Making Scrunchies From Fabric Scraps - using up waste fabric and up cycling old cloth to make other things #zerowaste #recycled #upcycled #fabricscraps #scrunchies #90s

Reusable Sandwich Wraps

I got pretty tired of throwing away ziplock bags for sandwiches. And then I realised that there was a far better zero waste reusable option. So I made myself some reusable sandwich wraps. Find my tutorial here.

How to Make your own reusable sandwich wraps - an alternative to plastic ziplock bags for packed lunches. A zero waste kitchen swap.. #DIY #tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these #sustainable #kitchenswaps. #Environmentallyfriendly #sandwichbags #zerowaste #zerowasteliving #zerowastelifestyle #sandwichwraps #sustainableliving

Patchwork Quilts

Quilting is a speciality that I have yet to properly delve into, though I have promised myself that I will have a go soon.

There are different types of quilting, but probably the easiest to start with is english paper piecing. Done by hand, in this method you cut geometric paper shapes slightly smaller than the fabric that you are using. You fold over the fabric at each edge of the paper shape, loosely tacking it in place. Then you take the edges of each paper covered shape, and you sew them together tightly. You can remove the paper, or leave it in place.

Patchwork - english paper piercingYou can also machine quilt your pieces together.

This is such a good way of using all the fabric scraps, and you can end up with a really eclectic mix.

Making New Fabric From Scraps

Very similar to patchwork, this is a way of using those log strips of fabric. I find some coordinating pieces and sew then together with a 1cm seam allowance. I then trim the seam allowance and press open all the seams well. With enough pieces you can go on to make a whole new piece of fabric. This will be great as a lined bodice for a small girl’s dress.

New Fabric from old fabric scraps

Small Stuffed Projects

There are so many brilliant patterns out there for making small projects such as stuffed toys and bears. Here are just a few patterns available commercially, and there are lots available for free to download online.

Commercial patterns for small stuffed projects

I personally love to make my own projects, a particular favourite is my padded fabric Christmas trees. These can be made from 6 fat quarters of material.

Padded Fabric Christmas Trees - duo

Garlands and Bunting

Bunting is a great way of using up smaller pieces, and there are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make it. Or you could just use pinking shears to cut triangles and use string or cotton to hold the bunting pieces together.

Garlands are also easy to make using scraps. Earlier this year, I made a heart garland for valentines days using a load of red scraps from my scrap bag.See my post here.

Padded Heart Valentine Garland - finished

Lanyards

Sometimes you end up with massively long thin strips. These are perfect for lanyard making. Heres a great tutorial on how to make a lanyard.

Free Motion Embroidery

A type of appliqué, free motion embroidery uses small scraps of fabric bonded together and stitched over to produce a collage of pieces. I went on a workshop, and then used the techniques I had learnt to make some Christmas decorations, but you can use it to appliqué onto lampshades, bags, or even to make cards.

The finished decorations

 

Chapstick Holders

These are a great way of using up smaller rectangles of fabric, and can be attached to a keyring or lobster clasp so they can be attached to your bag. Find how to make them here. I can even fit a tiny hand cream in mine.

chap stick holders

Doll Clothes

When I was younger I was a massive fan of Sindy dolls. And I was really happy to find a few vintage books on how to make clothes for my old collection. There are also commercial patterns available to make small dolls clothes, and obviously these are very easily cut from the small remnants in your scrap bag.

Doll dress pattern and vintage doll outfit book - great for using up fabric scraps

Dog Coats

Another project that only requires small remnants of fabric, I made a friend’s dog a dog coat using some fat quarters of fabric and an up cycled old fleece blanket. If you watched this year’s Great British Sewing Bee, you will have seen the contestants epicycle some old tents to make a waterproof version!

Make a dog coat using remnants of fabric

Reusable Kitchen Towels

Although the  backs of these are made from old towels, I do like to use fabrics from my scrap back to make the backs pretty. Find how I make these brilliant zero waste items here.

Reusable Paper Towels - all the towels made up

Unsponges

While we are in the zero waste kitchen swaps groove, why not make these plastic free pan scrubbers from small pieces of fabric and up cycled towelling or flannel? I even made a pan scrubber version using hessian from my rag rug making. See how you can make your own.

How To Make Unsponges - Make your own kitchen sponges - a great alternative to plastic bacteria breeding sponges and scrubbers. A great zero waste kitchen swap. Upcycle old clothes, towels and bedding to make these padded scrubbing washing cloths that can be laundered with the rest of your wash. DIY unsponge tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these sustainable recycled kitchen swaps. Environmentally friendly #unsponges #kitchenswaps #upcycling #sustainable #zerowaste #environmentallyfriendly #kitchenunsponges #diyunsponge

Reusable Make Up Remover Pads

Similarly, whilst the actual removing part of the pad is best made from new or upcycled towelling, the backs can be made as pretty as possible using some of the cute girly dress fabrics from the scrap bag.

I prefer to have square remover pads, as this does not waste as much fabric.

Fabric Bookmarks

These are a great idea as a stocking filler for a bookworm, or teacher. Perhaps you could give them with a favourite book? Find my tutorial here.

Handmade Fabric Bookmarks - great fabric bookmarks with an elasticarted loop to fit over books. Scrapbusting and zero waste idea for using up fabric scraps. Great gift idea for teachers at Christmas or end of term. Lovely gift idea. Make your own. DIY. Handmade presents. #scrapbusting #zerowaste #bookmarks #giftideas #teachergiftideas #backtoschool #scrapbustingidea #fabricbookmark #stockingfiller #handmadegift

 

Reusable Sanitary Towels

In my tutorial on how to make reusable sanitary pads, I used quite a few pieces from my scrap bag. And because I make quite a few girly garments for me and my little girl, my sanitary pads are ever so pretty.

Find my tutorial here.

Reusable sanitary pads made from fabric scraps - find my tutorial on how to make those here #recycle #upcycle #zerowaste #reusablesanitarypads #upcycling

Applique

One of the best things about sewing is the fact that you can personalise each garment or piece you make to the recipient.

One of my favourite things to do is cut letters, shapes or details from fabric, and then appliqué them onto bags and garments.

Some of my first makes as a sewist were fabric bags. One of the recipients of a bag was a huge Disney fan. I had used a Mickey and Minnie print as the interior of the bag, but I ironed some of the remnants onto a piece of bondaweb (or vliesofix) then them out. I could then bond them to the exterior fabric of the bag, and sew them onto the fabric with a small zig zag stitch.

Applique of fabric sc raps applied to a bag outer

Letters and numbers are great for putting onto pump bags and pencil cases for school gifts. Or even for pimping up teeshirts.In my advent bag tutorial, I cut out numbers to go on each bag.

Advent Calendar Treat Bags - sussex machine

Sandcastle/Sandwich Flags

A couple of years ago, I saw that Liberty London were selling these (Liberty London Party Picks by Meri Meri) in a shop in the Lake District.

For 24 picks I considered that the price asked was quite steep. And so I decided to make my own.

Again, using Bondaweb or Vliesofix, you can bond your fabric. Then remove the backing, stick the fabric to itself around whatever length of cocktail stick or wooden skewer you wish – and hey presto, your very own personalised sandwich picks or cupcake flags. Or we take them to the beach as sandcastle flags.

Sandwich picks or sandcastle flags made from fabric scraps - zero waste

Rag Rugs

For small pieces of jersey fabrics and old clothes, one of the best uses is to cut the scraps further into long thin strips. And to make these into a rag rug. Find my tutorial here

Making a rag rug - finished

Rag Wreath.

For long thin lengths of coordinating woven fabrics, why not consider making a rag wreath? These do not just have to be a Christmas decoration. See here how you could also make one.

Festive Rag Wreath - finished

Stuffing For Other Projects

What if the piece is too small, or too ragged, or just on the selvedge etc? I still don’t throw these away. They make great stuffing for other projects, such as my Padded Christmas Trees, Pumpkin Garland or Felt Hearts. I also use old pillows that have lost their bounce for these projects. Nothing need be wasted.

So there you have more than 20 ideas on what to do with all the fabric scraps in your scrap bag. I hope that you have found this post useful, and that you have a go at some of these.

Why don’t you pin this post for later?

 

20 ways of using up all the fabric scraps in your scrap bag. Zero waste ways to make great gifts.Making Scrunchies From Fabric Scraps - using up waste fabric and up cycling old cloth to make other things #zerowaste #recycled #upcycled #fabricscraps #scrunchies #giftideas

20 plus ways of using up all the fabric scraps in your scrap bag. Zero waste ways to make great gifts. Ideas on how to use up waste fabric and up cycling old cloth to make other things #zerowaste #recycled #upcycled #fabricscraps #sewing #sewingprojects #sewingideas #scrapfabric #scrapfabriccrafts #scrapfabricDIY #giftideas #fabriccrafts #fabricscrapsideas
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

22 Replies to “Fabric Scraps – How To Use Every Last Piece.”

  1. Ali Duke says:

    I never thought there were so many ways to use smaller bits of fabric! I love bunting, I have just finished some for my daughters bedroom. I loved making it so am going to look for some more to try.
    #MMBC
    Ali Duke recently posted…Imposter Syndrome, Blogging & MeMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Laurie says:

    My scrap bag is often overflowing too. Thanks for these great tips! Love the chapstick holder. Mine is always getting lost in my bag. I could use this to clip it to an inside strap!
    Laurie recently posted…Share Four Somethings – JuneMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. Yes, I love clipping my chapstick to my bag, and mine is big enough for a tiny tube of hand cream!

      Reply
  3. Eilidh Horder says:

    Inspirational! What a lot of ideas. I’m just about to make some room in my wardrobe… but now I’ll have a job donating anything!

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. And sorry. I must admit, I do have an issue throwing jersey clothes away. The rag rugs are a great idea for these!

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jayne, the Christmas trees are a really great gift idea too!

      Reply
  4. Sarah-Marie says:

    So many great ideas! They have really encouraged me to get creative. I love your stuffed Christmas trees and will definitely be having a look at the tutorial! #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. The Christmas trees are so cute and make great gifts too!

      Reply
  5. Carol says:

    So many great ideas for those little left over pieces of fabric. I’ve been wanting to try a rag wreath or rug. I think this year I’ll try one. #MMBC
    Carol recently posted…Strawberry-Lime WaterMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      The rag rugs are so easy, a great way to use old jersey clothes.

      Reply
  6. Alice V says:

    I have a feeling I will need your post in the near future so I am pinning it for later. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful tips! #KCACOLS

    Reply
  7. Kelly-Anne Combes says:

    Oh wow some of these fabrics are so beautiful and something that I would love to try and create. But I have to be honest my needle skills are something else. Thank you for taking the time to join us for #KCACOLS and we hope to see you next time.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      This is why I need to use every last scrap. Not wasting any of these lovely bits!

      Reply

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