Last fall, I discovered I had more fabric scraps by volume than I had uncut, garment ready fabric yardage. (Seven large plastic bins of scraps, but only six tubs of yardage.) After my frenzy of garment construction as I got to know my new serger, I realized that if I was going to keep sewing at that rate, I needed to either use my scraps or win the lottery.
Sewing with a serger can go pretty quickly, and the tidy seam finish gives a wrong side that looks much neater than this.
I've been experimenting with sewing small bits of fabric together to "create new yardage." With my collection of tee-shirt knits, I've cut odd-shaped scraps into wide strips straight on the fabric grain and then overlocked the strips together to produce bigger pieces. Then I cut garments from them. So far, I've just pieced together bits of the same fabric, and cut out my favorite underbritches patterns from them. However, I'm toying with the idea of a harlequin-patterned tee-shirt or cardigan.
I've also dipped into my collection of odd-shaped denim scraps that are too big to throw away and too small for anything useful, to see if I could make "new fabric" without following the grain line. The smaller the scraps, the more tedious the piecing process, and when your new seams have to cross the seams you've sewn previously, a trip to the ironing board is necessary. Still, it's much faster than the foundation piecing technique I used for my crazy-patchwork window quilts.
Here are a couple of old potholders I've re-upholstered with denim scraps. They're a little rough around the edges, but I won't burn my hands or the counter top with these.
There are so many ideas for fabric scraps floating around the Web--here are some I've looked at recently.
- Serious Sewing has reviews of her favorite sewing machines, and I found her discussion of shopping for a serger very helpful. (I eventually went with her recommendation, vendor and all.) Her blog features a discussion of a favorite topic of mine: How to Get Rid of Large Amounts of Fabric Scraps.
- This sent me to Scrap Happy--More Than 50 Fabric Scraps & Remnant Ideas Plus Free Patterns. I found inspiration for several small projects from this list, and a bunch of interesting blogs to peruse. m
- One of those interesting blogs sent me to Scrap User's System!, a great article about a serious quilter's approach to organizing and managing her extensive collection of small "samples" of quilting cottons. She cuts her scraps into ready-to-use bits whenever feasible.