I have a lot of fabric scraps. (Okay, that’s an understatement.) If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for ways to use them. And if you’re like me, you also know to never, ever throw textiles away!! (If you didn’t know that, I’m telling you now.) 😉 So what to do with those tiny pieces? These are a few suggestions, but the list could go on and on! 1. Piece strips into a striped fabric that can be used for small projects like zipper pouches. 2. Use tiny scraps and bits of lace for textile jewelry. 3. Make a crazy quilt. 4. Embellish accessories, like wrist cuffs. 5. Very tiny pieces of textile (like the trimmings that result from using a serger) can be saved for stuffing toys or art dolls. 6. Cotton scraps are great for English paper piecing. (EPP tutorial here.) 7. Use small bits of beautiful fabric to create buttons with the Dritz Craft Cover Button Kit or a similar kit. 8. Small pieces can be bonded to an adhesive (like Heat n Bond) to create appliques. Using the iron-on adhesive makes it easy to cut out small or intricate pieces, too. 9. Just tired of looking at the same old fabric? Organize a scrap swap with fellow crafters who might feel the same! 10. If the idea of acquiring even more fabric doesn’t sound like a good idea, gift your scraps instead of swapping them. 11. If you absolutely cannot think of what you’d like to do with your extra fabric, donate it to Goodwill. If it’s too small to sell, they will still send the fabric off to be recycled. What are some of your ideas for using scrap fabric? I’d love to hear!
I am a sucker for “eco-friendly,” even if I could stand for a lot of improvement in that arena myself. That is why I always go nuts for someone whose entire craft is centered around the three Rs!
That is one reason I love iamthemandy. The other reason is that she’s awesome. Oh, and did I mention that her work is darling?!
This sweet, sewn scrap cuff was a gift I received from her, and I love it. It fits perfectly and comfortably, and the texture is so rich. And, it is actually made from scraps I included in a giveaway! I love how she can turn something that once looked so familiar into something totally different and exciting.
iamthemandy has a plethora of unique, cleverly crafted goods, from tape measure earrings to magazine coasters!
And I am also loving these upcycled crocheted tshirt coffee sleeves!
In addition to her website, you can follow her on twitter and facebook, and she also has an etsy shop. And be sure to look at her blog, where she regularly posts updates about her biz and cool craft tips.
Aside from meeting some very lovely, talented people and seeing what they do, I learned–courtesy of Sheri–how to English paper piece.
I had seen it before, and always thought it looked like something I’d like to try, but I never did until a few days ago. Now, after having actually tried it, I am in love!!
It is very easy and really relaxing. It is done completely by hand, so if you’re looking to get a project done fast, this probably isn’t what you’ll want. However, even with all the teeny, tiny whipstitches, (I think I’m averaging about 16 stitches per inch!) it moves along faster than you might think–mostly because it is so enjoyable! Another thing that I love so much about this is that it’s perfect for using up tiny scraps. I have TONS of pieces of fabric that I don’t want to throw away, but they are so small and irregularly-shaped, it would be a pain to line each one up and cut it with the rotary cutter. With EPP, the cutting part really doesn’t need to be terribly accurate (you’ll see why in a bit).
I thought I would provide a quick and dirty tutorial. If you want to learn more about it, there are tons of resources in books and online.
English Paper Piecing: A Basic Guide
1. Gather your supplies. You will need fabric, of course, and your paper templates! You can find templates to print online, they can be purchased online or in quilt shops, your you can make your own. If you are printing/cutting your own, be sure that you are very accurate with the shape of your paper. An uneven edge or the wrong angle could cause your patches top to not match up. (Common shapes are diamonds, hexagons, octagons, rectangles–I decided to go with hexagons!)
2. Cut your fabric pieces. And this is where you don’t have to worry about being accurate! There should be about 1/4″ overhang on all sides, but if there are a few crooked places, that’s okay. Since it’s so small, I do not pin the paper to the fabric, but simply hold it as I cut around.
3. Baste the fabric to paper. Again, I do not use a pin here. Hold the paper and fabric together, while folding down each edge and basting through paper and fabric. Don’t worry about making it too secure; this is just to keep everything in place until you get around to stitching them together.
4. Stitch pieces together. Take two basted pieces and hold them together, making sure that their edges line up. Then, whipstitch them together at the edge. Ideally your stitches should be very tiny and just catch the edge of the fabric. Be sure to go all the way to the corners! (The first piece I made at the MQG meeting was a little bit wonky because I didn’t go all the way to the corners.)
When you are ready to take out your paper pieces, simply clip the basting stitches and pull them out. Then you can open the fabric edges and remove the paper, so that it can be used again.