The Confident Stitch’s biggest competitors are the elusive “bins.” Customers come to the store, gawk at, examine and fall in love with our fabrics, but walk away, claiming their fabric bins are too full. When they describe these bins, I hear annoyance and regret in their voices. I imagine a plastic tub full of brown batiks from the 70s, stretchy fabrics with unknown contents or an unspeakable number of yards of a-little-too-transparent cotton shirting.
These bins make me sad, not just because my job is to sell fabric and the bins prevent that. They make me upset because rarely do customers describe their bins in a positive light. If, during the battle of The Confident Stitch vs. Bins, a customer described boxes overflowing with beautiful fabrics that will eventually become amazing garments and quilts, I would happily accept the loss. That is usually not the case.
After reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, I realize this situation is not fair for the bin owners or their fabrics. I agree with Kondo and believe that fabric should be loved and bring you happiness. Per Kondo’s first step of tidying up, you should discard the things that do not bring you joy.
If you love all the fabric in your bins than disregard the rest of this post. If that is not the case, here are five easy ways to responsibly dispose of your unwanted fabric:
Donate Your Fabric Scraps to a Good Cause
Quilts for Kids is an international organization that makes quilts for children with life-threatening illnesses, children of abuse and children living at poverty level or below. There are local chapters around the country that will happily accept donations of quality quilting cottons, flannels, orphan blocks and quilting supplies.
Project Linus similarly makes quilts for critically ill children and has chapters throughout the US.
Quilts of Valor makes quilts for service men and women touched by war.
Some schools, Girl Scout programs, and churches accept fabric donations.
Take Your Fabric Scraps to a Local Thrift Store
Most thrift stores accept unwanted fabric. This is a great way to support your community and provide resources to those who may not be able to afford them full-price
Host a Fabric-Swap
Your trash may be another’s treasure. Host a fabric swap party with your sewing friends.
If you have small scraps or unusable fabric pieces textile recycling is an option. Fabric and garments are sorted by color and composition, pulled into yarn or shredded, woven or knitted into a new fabric or used as textile fillings. Some cities offer textile recycling. If that is not the case for you, stores such as H&M accept unwanted textiles.
Get Creative with Your Fabric Scraps
There are endless DIY fabric-scrap ideas on Pinterest. Although some are not my style and may not be yours, there are plenty of great things to do with fabric scraps. I am considering making my own twine with the ample scraps we have here at TCS or using them to fill a cushion.
Although we love when people buy new fabric, we understand the impact of the textile and fashion industry. We encourage you to find use for what you already own. That being said, owning fabric should never be a burden. If you don’t love what you have, figure out a responsible way to get rid of it and make room for things you love. What’s your favorite way to re-use or recycle fabric scraps?