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When does a piece become a scrap

When does a piece become a scrap

Old 04-04-2020, 06:29 AM
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Default When does a piece become a scrap

Today I am cleaning up some smaller pieces of fabric and boarding with comic boards some of my 1/2 yd and FQ and even smaller pieces. Some of the much smaller pieces are finding their way to another scrap bin. Some I would consider to be larger than what I would usually say was scrap. Some about 1/16 of a yard, about 1/2 of a F8. Even this is larger than I usually would put into the scrap bin but they do not lend themselves to be boarded for a nice laid out cabinet which is what I am trying to achieve. Of course they are not even cuts of any kind.
All my scraps will eventually be used as I make so many scrappy quilt.
My question is simple but could be more complex but I am very interested as it could help me with this quandary. How do you decide when a piece of fabric is to small except for the scrap basket?
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Old 04-04-2020, 07:12 AM
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I've tried various methods. I (still) have a large stash and I keep fabric for years so I prefer to keep mine covered and out of sight. I can understand and appreciate those that like the visual cues provided by actually being able to see the fabric. In the boxes my fabrics are sorted by color and theme and anything fat quarter and larger goes into the appropriate box after it has been prewashed, pressed, folded in quarters and ready for cutting. They fit very nicely in the boxes.

I started purging my huge stash about 10 years ago when my vision issues were diagnosed and when they became an issue in my life. I've cleared out about 3/4ths of what I used to have -- and I still have a lot! It was easy in some ways at first, keep what you love want and get rid of the rest. I ask myself "can you really see yourself using that in 5 years" and I'm often surprised when the answer from within me says "nope, can't think of any way I would actually use that fabric" so away it goes to someone who can use it.

Over the last couple of years I have decided that I simply do not want to save anything smaller than 6.5 x larger than a square. I tried having designated strip sizes and would cut down to the largest piece I could cut but I found that while I can cut smaller, I can't cut larger and whatever it was I had was never the size I wanted. I put up a couple offers here and watched for others and have now sent out all my little strips, squares, etc.

Instead of saving my small scraps I found a crumb quilter here on the board who takes my trimmings. I keep a flat rate postal box by my cutting area and all the little off cuts, ragged ends (when they go in the box, I do like them straight...), and all the pieces smaller than 6.5" strip of some length. A lot of things I send her are "bigger than a crumb" and some pretty useful bits of fabrics. I try to keep them roughly color sorted but I never know what theme I'll be going for, so color works better sometimes than when I'm specifically local for florals or civil war or whatever. At any rate, I pull out my one big box of 6.5 strips and go through that first when pulling fabrics for a new project.

I'm trying to use my stash, and if I can use it/send it it's all good. I had to switch my mind away from thinking I had to save/use all these bits and not only that but had to find the perfect use! Now, if it can be used, the perfect use is for whatever it can be used and the rest all go to someone.
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:47 AM
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I have all my yardage on mini bolts, my fat quarters are in a drawer. I have a couple of drawers with misc. pieces and cuts that are big enough for small projects at about 1/8 yards. Anything smaller then that goes in my scrap bin which is a laundry hamper. I have made 3 large scrap quilts out of my hamper and it half full again. Lately I have been using some of it for face masks.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:28 AM
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For me it's a scrap if I won't be using the fabric in a planned project. If the fabric, say a generic color/design, is appropriate for binding, that 1/8 of a yard (4 1/2" wof) would make 2 strips of binding for a small wall hanging or table runner; then it's not a scrap. At the same time a fat quarter could be a scrap if it's an odd design or color that doesn't go with any planned project.

Like Tartan, I looked in my scrap bin for face masks, too.

Good luck with your sorting...
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:38 AM
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Piece or scrap? You get to decide! For me, if there's enough to make dress trims or pockets or a yoke, I keep it for charity dresses for little girls. Anything smaller goes into a scrap bin, which is an old, cleaned bucket that Tidy Cat originally came in. Once the bucket gets so full that the lid won't close, I dump it all out and make some scrappy quilts until I have used up quite a bit of it. I feel guilty to have piles of scraps around, unused.
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:13 PM
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If it is smaller than a fat quarter and I’ve cut into it for a project the remainder usually goes into the scrap containers. Then, when I decide to spend some time organizing- going through scraps I cut it into the largest piece I can- then work my way down. If it’s a 3-4” width of fabric strip I might cut it into a 2 1/2” strip or what works best. I use strips as narrow as 1 1/2” for quilting, narrower than that goes into my strips bin for twine for hotpads and rugs. Squares I usually cut into 10” on down.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:09 PM
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I try to use my scraps before they accumulate too much. Anything smaller than a 1-1/2" strip or smaller than 2" square. I don't keep.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:21 PM
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anything smaller than a fat quarter is a scrap to me. I wrap yardage larger than 2 yards around an 8.5 inch wide ruler..than fold it in half and stack it in my lawyers cabinet, any yardage between 1-2 yards gets wrapped around my 6 X 24 inch ruler and then folded in half and stacked in the same cabinet on the shelves which are covered with glass....this makes it easy to see approximately how much I have....yardage that is large enough for backing gets folded separately and stacked on the bottom shelve.with the exact yardage pinned to a corner with a pin. cuts between 1/2 yard and 1 yard are also wrapped around the 6 X 24 inch ruler but folded twice along the length and stacked on edge in a drawer....my fat quarters are also stacked in the drawer on edge. Everything else goes into those plastic bins usually sorted by color. I used to sort by warm, cool, and neutral colors but now have separated them further...when I need a particular color but not much of it....I go to these bins and pick one out....I also have some shoe box sized plastic boxes that hold strips sorted by width and squares sorted by size...and yep...got a box of just strings longer than 12 inches and a box of :crumbs...I used to try and cut all my scraps into strip and square sizes as they were created but have found just throwing them into the right bin more useful....when I do a Bonnie Hunter mystery....I just pull from my scrap bins first...then the fat quarters, then the 1/2 yards...and maybe the 1-2 yard ones.....

Last edited by sewingpup; 04-04-2020 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:27 AM
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This post is timed perfectly! I need to organize my new sewing space, but unsure how to begin. Many great suggestions.
Any ideas how to wrap large pieces into bolts like the fabric store?
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:52 AM
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For me, and that is only for me, anything smaller than a 2.5 cut is tossed. I save 2.5 squares and also long 2.5 strips in separate containers. I know that I use them and use them often. Less than that are given a quick cut up and dropped in a bag to be used as dog bed filler. Larger pieces I store by color in clear plastic bins. Simple and easy.

Be kind to yourself all you organizers. It takes some time to discover what works best for you. What sizes are too little or what needs different storage. Your space will dictate some of your storage options. My best hint is to "dump the junk" aka get rid what you know you will not use. Donate in what ever manner you wish and happily sew on and on and on.

Organize to your hearts content. It does feel extraordinarily good to reach in and find what you desire.. I have been thrilled with the results of my very, very determined mindset this year to use what is in my stash. Covid-19 has helped too. My choice to shop from my stash has revealed some flaws in my organization, but also I found some buried treasures that have stirred up creativity.

Last edited by WMUTeach; 04-05-2020 at 02:56 AM.
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