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Scrappy Activism: Putting Your Stash to Good Use!

Scrap Sale

As a self-proclaimed ‘crafty activist’, I often, when sewing, struggle with what I call ‘scrap guilt’. Upon finishing a project, I’m usually left with a sizable pile of scraps that I can’t bring myself to throw away, but that I also have no idea what to do with. So, instead, I store them in a tiny cupboard, the door to which is becoming harder to close with each new make.

After just 2 years of garment making, the little cabinet has become a teeny textile purgatory for the colorful ghosts of projects past – each one whispering that they’re business is yet unfinished.

An Ever-Growing Conundrum

Just throw them away!” exclaims my sister with some exasperation while watching me stuff yet more scraps into the overburdened cupboard. “You don’t know what to do with them, you don’t have the time to do anything with them, and you’re acting like an extreme hoarder.” She’s never been one to coddle, my sister.

While my hoarding is, I think, far from extreme, I can see her logic. Nonetheless, my time at The Confident Stitch has taught me a lot about sustainability, fast fashion, and the havoc that fabric production wreaks on the environment. As such, I feel like the least I can do for Mother Earth is to house a few usable scraps until inspiration strikes.

The thing about inspiration, however, is that it rarely – if ever – strikes like a bolt from the blue. Only after much pondering and research do bright thoughts seem to occur (at least for me). So, with Earth Day fast approaching and the collective TCS promise to be more purposeful ringing in my ears, I set out to finally put some of my scrappy fabric spirits to rest.

Research & Discovery

The internet really is a glorious thing. I had only to type ‘What to do with leftover scr…‘ into Google, for an endless list of creative possibilities to appear. Predictably, what began as a personal inquest quickly morphed into a work project. (Something that – for better or worse – often comes of working in a creative environment.)

April’s ‘Confident Theme’ is Earth Day Everyday, and we’d already been planning to showcase our eco-friendly fabrics and products. But – inspired my ever-growing list of scrappy projects as well as the ENORMOUS box of scraps we keep in the back room (my personal cupboard can’t hold a candle to this leviathan) – the idea of a Scrap Sale began to form.

Bundles of Joy

So, Rachael and I set about assembling 5 different types of scrappy bundle:

  1. Quilting Cotton
  2. Lightweight Wovens
  3. Heavyweight Wovens
  4. Knits
  5. Wools

After several hours of careful sorting, we were left with almost 100 beautiful bundles for a Scrap Sale to be held April 22nd through the 26th, 2021.

Dapper Scraps

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Maisie, you’ve been sewing for two years and your scrap pile is unmanageable! Why would we – makers saddled with our own immense stash – want to invest in a bundle of YOUR scraps?’

For three reasons:

  1. Our scraps are the crème de la crème! High-quality fabrics lead to high-quality scraps, and every single bundle includes a gorgeous range of fabric.
  2. Quality AND Quantity. Each bundle is a healthy mix of good-sized scrap and in-tact remnants, and contains at least 2 yards of beautiful, usable fabric. Moreover, several remnants in each bundle range in size from 1/3 of a yard to over 2 yards!
  3. The price is oh-so-reasonable! Quilting Cotton bundles are $10, Lightweight Wovens, Heavyweight Wovens, and Knit bundles are each $15, and Wool bundles are $20.

Lastly, a fourth, fringe benefit that comes with purchasing one of these bundles, is the curated list of scrap-related projects I’ve included below! What a fabric stash sometimes needs (perhaps counterintuitively) is new variety! Almost like a vitamin boost, a selection of new scraps (in conjunction with a list of inspiring ideas) can give life to those remnants you’d long since given up on.

The List

The following list has been organized to correspond with our 5 scrappy bundle options, and includes links to relevant tutorials, posts and patterns. These projects have certainly inspired me, and I hope they’ll do the same for you!

Quilting Cottons

Lightweight Wovens

These bundles can include everything from cotton voile to rayon to raw silk, tencel, and flannel!

  • Pocket linings, waistbands, and contrasting cuffs – One of our favorite ways to add a unique touch to a garment, while also making use of some beautiful fabric!
  • Lotta Jansdotter Pom Pom Scarf – Use a piece of linen or voile to make this fun accessory!
  • Hairbows – YouTube is rife with great DIY hairbow videos. I particularly liked this one by Hairbow Supplies Etc.
  • Cloth Napkins
  • Head Scarves or Pocket Squares! Use a leftover piece of silk or rayon, and a rolled hem technique, to make an eye-catching accessory.
  • Bunting – The party decoration industry is largely a wasteful one. Help the earth by making a festive, fabric bunting that can be used again and again.
  • Cover your own buttons!
  • Cage Comforters – a great way to donate to your local animal shelter while also using up old flannel, fleece or batting scraps.

Heavyweight Wovens

Confident Maker Michael McCollough used his leftover waxed cotton scraps to make these awesome Dopp Kits!
Confident Maker Michael McCollough used his leftover waxed cotton scraps to make these awesome Dopp Kits!

Primarily comprised of denim, canvas, twill and the occasional piece of waxed cotton, these bundles are great for bag-making!

Knits

Penguin and Whale showcasing a knit headband and beanie!
Penguin and Whale showcasing a knit headband and beanie!

I’m often intimidated by knit scraps, but Swoodson Says has compiled a list of over 40 great ways to use these stretchy remnants! Below are few of my favorites.

Wools

Scrappy Wool Handwarmers from Swoodson Says!
Wool Handwarmers from Swoodson Says!

Wool scraps are particularly hard for me to throw away because they’re just so luxurious! Here are a few good alternatives:

All of the Above!

And last, but not least, a few ideas that apply to all five categories!

  • Children’s clothes – Often scraps that are too small for you are perfect for the little one in your life!
  • Scrap-Filled Dog Bed – An excellent way to make use of super small scraps, your puppy is sure to love it!
  • Contrasting panels, sleeves, yokes, pockets, and etc. – Many patterns have smaller pieces and panels drafted into them which means the opportunity for scrappy mix n’ matching is endless! Try using leftover linen for the side panels in a Tabula Rasa Jacket, rayon for the flutter sleeves on a 3888 Adele Top, or a knit for the contrasting sleeves on a 3669 Nico Raglan Tee – just to name a few!
  • Kids Memory Matching Game – A game traditionally played using a deck of cards, I think the fabric version could be great for traveling!
  • Fabric Postcards – While not a sewing project, the crafter in me loved this inventive repurposing!

A World of Good

I hope this list has been not only inspiring, but encouraging! You can put the scraps in your sewing room to good use, you can help the planet, and you can have fun doing it! Be sure to check out our Scrap Sale happening in-store and online April 22nd – 26th.

Happy Earth Day & Happy Sewing!
Scrappy Sewing!

 

 

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