Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How To: Manage Your Fabric Scraps

When you create timeless works of art as we all do, you also generate something else; scraps. Yup, I said it. That five letter word, scraps. Every crafter defines scraps differently. Myself, I define scraps as any pieces of fabric smaller than a fat quarter (It is not as generous as it sounds.). I have a couple systems for storage such as the jar of long wide scraps and those smaller than charm squares which are mostly used to adjust tension at the beginning of a project. The ones that are closer to a fat quarter than a charm square in size are folded and stacked in a small pile and kept at arms reach for small accessory projects. But what do I do with them when my jar is full and my stack is no longer easily accessed? Well, I start by looking a for a couple good scrap projects. Planning is vital. The above pile will be turned into two things.
You might know Sandi by her blog name Portabello Pixie. This book is a gem! I have yet to make anything from it but it is a constant source of inspiration. I will be making the Ruffled Head Scarf found in Sandi Henderson's Sewing Bits &Pieces. I cannot seem to ind a picture of it anywhere and the book pages are too shiny for my scanner. But it is a pretty little patchwork number.Which is to say, I will be cutting out 3"x3" pieces of fabric until I have enough for the head scarf construction.
And lots of these. That is to say lots of fabric flowers made with technique. Which I will be sharing this weekend! I was asked a couple times about how I made this pretty little brooch and I thought it high time I show everyone. So come back and check us out m'kay!

Now take your patterns and start tracing. I usually start with the biggest piece first and once I run out of space I go to my next size. Like this piece, first I traced my head scarf squares, then I traced some medium sized circles. I actually had three circle sizes I was tracing.
Keep tracing until all of your scraps are covered in circles and squares and petal and leaf shapes etc. And you have a lovely pile sitting on your work station.

Cut, cut and cut some more. I wish I had a pair of spring loaded Fiskars scissors for this job but having a razor sharp pair of Fiskars classic orange handled did me just fine. These are my piles about half way through. I doubled each of them at least. Now they are ready to be sewn patchwork style into a ahead scarf (Or two) and made into brilliant flowers for hair clips, brooches and all manners of accessories.
Alas, due to the nature of cutting so many circles, my scraps still had scraps. But I am okay with that. What I do with these is keep them in a zippered pillowcase and use it along with stuffing for felt pieces and pillows etc.

For me, scrap management boils down to storage until the scraps become a small stash and then planning what I will do with them.  Sometimes, I do all these steps as the scarp comes across my table. But usually, like yesterday it is a say long affair. Now, hopefully the weather cooperates with me tomorrow and there is ample lighting for tutorial photos. *fingers crossed*

What do you do with your scraps?