Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How I Save My Scraps....the method that saved my quilting life

For those who just happen upon this post... I started a series on Instagram this week. Left Overs - not just for dinner.... 

You can find me on Instagram @Pleasant.Home

I'll be sharing how I save, store, organize and use the Left Overs from my quilting projects! {and fabric scraps in general} mostly on IG with a few posts here, for a couple of weeks. 

First up! 
My scrap saving and organizing endeavors have evolved over the years.  I started by sorting into bins by color. {I even tried two different types of bins}. 

Work Station

The fabric scraps were a jumbled, wrinkly, crinkly mess. I had to dump the bins each time I wanted to use my scraps. Then I preceded to dig through them, trying to find the right color/shade and size.  

Blue Bin

I would finally give up and every few months I would list scrap bags in my Etsy Shop, or give to family and friends.  Some even ended up in the trash. {It felt so wasteful} It was time consuming too. {taking away precious sewing time} 

And then a few years ago a friend introduced me to a different scrap saving method that kinda changed my life. Not even joking. :) 

I'll show you how it works for me and then I would totally recommend you pop over to

my friend Lori Holt's blog and check out her post about this fabulous method for saving, storing, organizing and using your scraps and left overs. Lori's method seriously was a game changer for me.  I LOVE this method.... {link to Lori's post, at the bottom of this post} 

You saw in my post on IG yesterday this little yellow pail.  It sits at the back of my work table on the cutting section. When I am cutting fabric for a quilt. I throw the left over pieces into this pail. Mostly anything that is less than a fat 1/8". The larger pieces get folded back up and set aside to be put away later. 

Anything smaller than 1 1/2" gets tossed in the trash. {or you can save them for various uses like stuffing for sending packages, or dog beds, or leave them out for the birdies to use in their nests} 

When my little pail is full and overflowing, I grab my ipad, pick something to watch or listen to, and get to work. 

In the photo above you can see the left over pieces that were in the pail.  They've been dumped onto my ironing board, which is also part of my work table, and pressed. Not sorted or anything.  Just quickly pressed. 

And then I get to cutting. I cut these left overs into usable pieces. 

Lori has found that cutting her left overs into the following sizes, works really well for her.  I adopted the same sizes and give it a thumbs up! 

1 1/2" strips and squares
2 1/2" strips and squares
3 1/2" strips and squares

I DO NOT spend a lot of time measuring and deciding what size to cut my left overs.  I grab a piece, lay my ruler over it and pretty much eye ball what size it can be cut to, with the least amount of waste.  I figure - even if I cut in error and have a little too much going into the trash pail, it's better than how I was saving and using my scraps before! 

Here are some of the trimmings from a 'cutting into usable pieces' session! 

And here are the fruits of my labors. Strips and squares {and some smaller strips waiting to be cut into squares}.  And some triangles that need to be used as leaders and enders ending with a life as a Half Square Triangle. 

It does my heart good to see all this fabric that will actually be used in some form or another! So little waste! And no more time wasted digging thru scrap bins.  Win. Win. 

I USE these left overs ALL the time.... In the next couple of weeks I'll be posting on Instagram and here at Pleasant Home; how I organize these usable pieces, and also, projects with really good tips and tricks.  Seriously the possibilities are endless! 

Tomorrow I'll be sharing on Instagram, how I organize and store these usable pieces. Good stuff. :) 

You can find Lori's post here: 
 Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet


Megan Dunton said...

Great idea!!!

Sherry said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I am determined to get my scraps in order ad the best way for me is to have the squares and strips pre-cut and ready to go. Getting organized is on the top of my list to help create a calm sewing space.

Little Quiltsong said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I too like to organize my scraps as per Lori! She is amazing! I've also found that many of her blocks use those famous little sizes of scraps - which works out wonderfully.

Helen L said...

Yep that is a great way to deal with scraps. Loved seeing your nice piles of "pre-cuts"! :-) Hugs, H

Theresa Morgan said...

Boy this does take the stress out buy doing a little at a time.Thanks for showing us yours. Loving the bowls too

Maria said...

You could also recycle your waste pieces ie: the pieces that are left once you cut your left overs by giving them to your local daycare centre to use for craft. That way you have no waste at all. I do this with string, fabric and ribbon scraps :)

trish said...

Lori's method was also a huge change for
me! I love it! Thanks for sharing!! :o)

Pamela S Conley said...

Good article. My question is how do you organize the storage after making the usable pieces? Do you put all the same colors together or same size/type pieces? Or do you separate by color then sub-divideny shape/size? I'm sure I could come up with a system but wondering how you do it.

debbie @ happy little cottage said...

Lori's method is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your version. I need to get back to it. My bins are looking like your befores again :) xoxo

craigandlissa said...

Welcome back! You were one of the very first quilt blogs I ever followed. Because of you I discovered the world of Englisg Paper Piecing and I've been addicted ever since. Your scrap series on Instagram has been fabulous. I missed you!

farmhousequilter8 said...

I just noticed YOU ARE BACK! I am so excited. I found your blog not too long ago and read alot of your old posts. Thanks for coming back....so excited to start reading and seeing what you are making......Paula in KY

Carla said...

I've been been wrapping my strips around vintage spools to save and the larger pieces I toss in a bin to cut into squares later. I like your little pails.


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