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Thread: Fabric Waste

  1. #1
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    I just got to thinking here while I was cutting out fabric for a new quilt - a sampler. When you cut your squares and get it down to 1/8" here and 1/4" there and 1/2" someplace else, after all is said and done, how much fabric does one waste when making a quilt. Suppose you are making a quilt, say 96x124, how much of that is actual waste - I bought four yards of one fabric, four yards of another fabric and three yards of a third fabric. How much of that am I allowed to waste - throw out - less than 1 inch, some pieces being 26/28" long. This is one of the things in quilting I absolutely do not like to think about. But I just got to thinking - Am I going to have enough material? I am making a sampler with three colors only. Every block design has only the three colors. This is not counting the sashing, or border or backing - I always pick that out after all the blocks are made (on this one, there will be 48 - 12" blocks.

    My brain doesn't want to work this morning - It is probably turkey stuffed yet.

    Thanks for any info you can give me. I would hate to think I was wasting money here at $9.00 a yard Clara Barton Birthplace Museum - Windham fabric. Edie

  2. #2
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    how much you "waste" depends on how much of the cut-off portions you save. With all the renewed interest in strip quilts and crumb quilts, the conservative quilter will waste almost nothing in the long run, tho you may not use it all in one project. Art quilters can even use the thread pieces that come off...those less than a quarter of an inch, or the gnarly threads that occur when and if you prewash. Even selvedges are used today in projects. Also, do you cut individual pieces, or do you stip quilt? Strip quilting can often save fabric.

  3. #3
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    Me personally, I don't save anything less than a 2 inch square piece with the idea to reuse it in a quilt someday but I do toss all those bits and pieces into a bag and use them for dog/cat pillow stuffing or pincushion stuffing. I try not to waste when ever possible.

    When I make pet pillows, I use a heavy duty canvas type fabric for the removable outer layer so it can be washed when needed....not the stuffed part of the pillow...I don't think it would ever get dry!!!!

    jodi in leavenworth

  4. #4
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    I try not to even think about it anymore. I lived all my life with the "waste not want not" attitude first from my parents, and then my husband. I got so tired of all the stash of junk they had created that if I want to throw something out that I know I won't ever use, then I throw it out. Although I must say that the other day I did make some potholders from scraps. And I find I am saving triangles that I would normally throw away. As far as selvages and 1" strips, out they go. I have enough bins to sort through now.

  5. #5
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    Grann, I'm with you. I also lived my whole life "save that, don't throw that away, etc." Result: my basement could have been shown on Hoarders> Since DH lost his job we've been down-sizing--I've taken at least 4 SUV loads to the Humane Society Thrift Shop.
    As for fabric, I save my salvedges for another quilter but anything I have to ask "is this too small?" out it goes. Life is too short to worry about (literally) the small stuff.

  6. #6
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    I save the smaller pieces and when I have some time to just do fun stuff, I make string quilt blocks to use in charity quilts. I'm developing a workshop at a local quilt store called The Frugel Quilter. This is a workshop in string quilting. One of the local long arm quilters saves me all the narrow pieces she trims off quilts for this project.

  7. #7
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Between me making mini string quilts and DH making his tiny-piece (5/8" square pieces) quilts, there is not much wasted around here.

  8. #8
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    I only save it if it is 1.5" or wider. Maybe someday I'll try making a rag rug, or something using the clothesline and scraps, but I'll continue to produce those. In the meantime, there is therapy in cleaning up a mess and throwing it away. I'm constantly creating more messes, and in order to create a measure of order, I need to throw away the tiny stuff.

    If someone does think of some real use for the small pieces of batting, please let me know as I have a couple of bags of it (by small, I mean, smaller than what I would use for a rag quilt--so smaller than about 6" square.) I'm not interested in making pin cushions. Most people I know don't sew and I have a magnetic pin cushion that I like so I don't need any.

  9. #9
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    I also save strips of 1.5 or more, as I use these for log cabins. The triangle pieces from flying geese (depending on which method I use at the time) I save and make pinwheels for doll quilts. Born from Depression era parents, the waste not was a way of life, so I also save my little scraps for pillows. Just making two matching pillows for quilts uses up the scraps rather quickly. I also make the cover that can be washed.

  10. #10
    Super Member judy_68's Avatar
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    There are probably alot of people on here that would be happy to pay for postage for your scraps.
    Judy

  11. #11
    DJ
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    I end up throwing larger pieces away than I'm really comfortable doing, but I know I'll never use them. Has me wondering if I could put them through the paper shredder to use for stuffing? Also wondering where I could donate them if I just have a separate waste bin for fabric, bag it up and give it away.

  12. #12
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I don't save pieces that are very small. I think 3 inches is the smallest I will save. I will save strips that are at least 1 1/2 inches wide. Small bits and pieces drive me batty.

  13. #13
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    I have a drawer in my sewing room that I keep filling up with scraps that turn into string pieced pillows, or table runners. I even used some of the leftover jelly roll strips to add some ruffles to a jean skirt for my granddaughter.
    I really like the idea of stuffing pillows with the odd bits though, never thought to save the "dog ears" trimmings before.

  14. #14
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    how about pet beds or door draft stoppers?

  15. #15
    Colorful Quilter's Avatar
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    Me Me Me, I will pay postage for Any scrap pkgs. of 100% cotten anyone could PM me if you want to de-stash, would love to help you out. too often I find myself buying new fabric to cut into small bits for my quilt tops

  16. #16
    Colorful Quilter's Avatar
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    I you really want to get rid of your scraps, I would gladly pay postage, I am always in need of scraps, you could PM me

  17. #17
    Senior Member Norene B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorful Quilter
    Me Me Me, I will pay postage for Any scrap pkgs. of 100% cotten anyone could PM me if you want to de-stash, would love to help you out. too often I find myself buying new fabric to cut into small bits for my quilt tops
    Is your avatar made from small bits? It is beautiful.

  18. #18
    Super Member katiebear1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    I save the smaller pieces and when I have some time to just do fun stuff, I make string quilt blocks to use in charity quilts. I'm developing a workshop at a local quilt store called The Frugel Quilter. This is a workshop in string quilting. One of the local long arm quilters saves me all the narrow pieces she trims off quilts for this project.
    that's what I do too. I will make crumb or string blocks on days when I want to sew, but do not feel like working on current project. When I get enough I will make a quilt or wallhanging.

  19. #19
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    For myself I keep pieces 1 1/2 inch by 3 inch or squares 2x2inches. If I do not care of the fabric or know some one wants it I give it away. I am trying hard to keep abreast because I need a space that has some organization inorder for me to be creative and enjoy quilting.

    Waste seems to depend alot on what size fabric you started with and the pattern you are using. I have way more waste from applique and fuzzy cutting then when I cut strips or squares.

  20. #20
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    You can save them, put them in an envelope and offer them here for the cost of postage :wink:

    I save what I am comfortable working with... the rest I will throw or give away.

  21. #21
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I will save scraps of fabric to use for scrap quilts but if the scrap bin gets overflowing I know it's time to donate them because I won't be able to use them all. I don't like saving things that I might need one day, it just creates guilt.

  22. #22
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    [ Also wondering where I could donate them if I just have a separate waste bin for fabric, bag it up and give it away.[/quote] by DJ
    My LQS collects sewing material, and machines to be sent to Woman's prision in Ohio

  23. #23
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    I am just wondering, not what to do with leftover scraps, but how much more fabric should I order to make sure I don't run out. I am saving what I can here to use in other blocks that have that size piece that I need for that block, but I am going to run out, sure as shooting, and I have been used to making quilts with fat quarters and extra fabric and this time around I am making a quilt, big, (see first note on this) and I am just wondering if I should order more or if I will have enough or am I cuttiing wrong. I do make one block at a time and I try to figure out where the best cut is going to be, but maybe I am wrong there. That is the help that I need. Thanks, again! Edie

  24. #24
    DJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    You can save them, put them in an envelope and offer them here for the cost of postage :wink:
    Thanks, I may just do that . . . start a drawer full and see if someone wants to pay the postage.

  25. #25
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    I'm going to try to explain what I do to reduce waste but I'll warn you - it sounds backwards.
    I buy more than I need.
    Yup.
    If my pattern calls for 2 1/4 meters (or yards), I round it up.
    That way, I know the piece I have over will be big enough for my stash. And I don't worry about the 1/2" strips that end up in the trash.
    The cost of my craft I guess.

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