Scrap Quilts Made Easy: 7 Tips for Success

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Alert the media, there’s a scrap quilt in my future!

Yesterday I dumped my scrap bag on the floor in search of a specific piece of fabric.

This is just one of the many bags of scraps I’ve collected over my years of quilting.

This is just one of the many bags of scraps I’ve collected over my years of quilting.

Like many other scrap quilt lovers, I try to keep my scraps organized – ok, organized is not the right term – maybe I should just admit it: they were stuffed into a bag so tightly, the contents nearly doubled when turned from the bag. And no matter how I pawed and peeked, searched and sorted, I just couldn’t find the cloth I was looking for.

And here are some more… wouldn’t it be easier to see what I had if they were sorted?

And here are some more… wouldn’t it be easier to see what I had if they were sorted?

I used to have a system for organizing my scraps.

All pieces were ironed and sorted in shoe-box sized bins arranged by color and fabric type (yes, I did say ironed… that was a long time ago and lasted about a month). Batiks were separated from broadcloth. Plaids were with plaids. And hand-dyed solids had their own system of organization. Then my family moved, my scraps multiplied, my sewing studio shrank, and my passion for sorting waned. My kids dumped out the bins and used them for their crayon and rock collections. My good intentions were overruled, and I resorted to keeping an empty grocery bag under my cutting table for castoffs.

But this time – I swear I am going to get the scraps in control, especially since I’m working on a fun quilt incorporating lots of my favorite hues.

Sorting my bits and pieces by color makes taking an inventory of my stash so much easier.

Sorting my bits and pieces by color makes taking an inventory of my stash so much easier.

 

Read on for tips for sorting, storing, sharing, and sewing with scraps!

Let it go: If the scrap is less than 2″ on the longest side, just get rid of it. If you can’t bear to throw it out, put it in a mason jar and enjoy the color it adds to your studio.

I keep lots of snips and scraps in jars.

I keep lots of snips and scraps in jars.

Sort by color: It will save you time in the long run. If you have lots of scraps in one color, arranging by value makes a lot of sense.

Sorting by color and value makes lots of sense.

Sorting by color and value makes lots of sense.

Store in clear containers: You will use what you see, and if your scraps are hidden away they may never see the light of day again.

Pre-cut while you work: Determine a size (such as 2 ½” squares) that you will use frequently, and trim your scraps to those dimensions. Store your precuts together for easy access.

Share the wealth: One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Your quilt friends will love you for it!

Recycle: Zippered plastic bags (like the ones that hold sheets and pillow cases) make perfect scrap block organizers.

Donate: If all else fails, pass on your hard-earned scraps to a school, art center, or guild.

Need an idea or two for the scraps in your studio? Check out Modern Patchwork Home for a collection of quilt and home décor items, many of which work very well with scraps! From Debbie Grifka’s Twinkle Star Quilt to a charming Sketchbook Cover from Lee Chappell Monroe, we’ve got you covered. The book has an amazing 24 projects just waiting to be explored! And for me, exploring a quilt pattern with my favorite scraps is one of the best activities I can imagine.

Happy Quilting!

Best,

Vivika
Editor, Modern Patchwork

Pick up your copy of Modern Patchwork Home!

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