How to manage your fabric scraps: the complete guide (part 1) … yes, it’s a complete tease 😋
Are you stuck on how to manage your fabric scraps? Do you want to know how to manage your fabric scraps? Learn what’s holding you back and how to create a scrap management strategy that you can be proud of, that works for you, and feels organized!
What does your current scrap box look like? Do you have them all tossed in there after sewing projects? Do you tell yourself “I’ll sort through that one day?” but one day never comes. There’s always something else better to do. You don’t really need to organize those. Without realizing it, you start to tell yourself that it’s too big, I couldn’t do it, I feel overwhelmed.
What’s holding you back from organizing your fabric scraps?
The scrap pile really isn’t that big, but with your thoughts you are making it feel bigger than it is. You have let your thoughts decide that it’s too big, and you can’t handle it.
It’s easier to do other projects instead. This is actually the same reason that we have so many UFO’s but that’s a topic for another blog post. So what is holding you back? Your thoughts actually, and the feelings that this creates.Huh? Let me show you… Here are a few of the thoughts you might have, and the feeling each one creates.
Thought: “I have no clue how to organize those”
Thought: “I have way too many scraps”
Thought: My scrap pile is driving me nuts
Can you see how the thought creates a feeling? And usually, unless we manage it, the feeling created is one that keeps us stuck. (incapable, overwhelm, frustration etc). None of these feelings actually make you WANT to go and organize those scraps, do they?
Hang on, how do our feelings impact us? Our feelings drive our actions. Here’s a simple example: when I feel happy, I smile and say hello to people. When I feel sad, I don’t make eye contact and keep my head down and walk on by.
Back to scraps. What actions do you take when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated? Shove the pile of scraps under the bed or shelf. Yes, we ignore it. We literally avoid looking at it and walk on by. It’s completely understandable why you don’t want to deal with the scraps. You are a human being with a brain. Having thoughts and feelings about things.
Where to start with your fabric scraps?
Did this resonate with you? How your thoughts and feelings make you not want to work on organizing your scraps? Fantastic! Just understanding this concept is really big. Huge. Bigger than your scrap pile.
You now have two options here. You can *MAKE YOURSELF* do it, and feel awful, or you can work with your thoughts and your brain, and sneakily make it easy to sort your scraps.
The place to start is actually with a pen and paper. First we want to model what we are actually thinking about scraps, so we can see what we are thinking, exactly what thought this creates, and how this translates to the actions we are taking (or not taking) about our scraps.
Sure, you might be thinking, I know this. But writing it down is where the magic is. It’s the difference between doing the homework, and just thinking about the homework. When you have these thoughts written down, ask yourself, “what do I feel”?
Not sure if you are doing it right? Just put your thoughts in the little chat box on the right, and I’ll write back.
After we know exactly what we are thinking, and see the actions this causes, it’s actually really obvious how this creates the result of our scrap pile.
But what do we do now? You’re looking at a giant scrap pile, and even though now you know “why” you are aren’t working on it, you still don’t feel motivated to do it.
So, sit with it. It’s okay to keep feeling unmotivated for a little bit more. Send me your thoughts.
And then we’ll go to part 2, together.
I actually don’t know how I want to sort them color size or store them precut sizes or folded scraps right now it’s a large basket I just throw anything larger than 2 inches wide real mess
Hi Billie, thanks for sharing. Mind if I coach you on this a little bit?
Right now you’re telling yourself “I don’t know how I want to sort them”.
Here’s how this plays out for you…
Your circumstance: Your scrap basket
Your thought: “I don’t know how I want to sort them”
Your feeling: Confusion
Your action: No action, leave them unsorted, probably feel guilty
Your result: They are not sorted
Now I’m going to offer you a different thought. Something to get you started…
Your circumstance: Your scrap basket
Your thought: “Any way that I sort them will work.”
Your feeling: Motivated
Your action: Start sorting – maybe by color, figure out along the way that you want to keep certain groups together and likely come up with some project ideas too!
Your result: You get them sorted.
This is just a starting point for you. You might swap out the thought I suggested for one that resonates with you Billie. Then ask yourself – when I think that thought, how do I feel? Figure out which actions you would take with this feeling. Those actions will get you that result.
PS. It really helps to write this down as you go.
Great article. I have saved bits of 1 1/4 inch strips and squares for years. Forced myself to use them, finding a pattern that uses a double nine patch block and two other blocks. Burgoyne Surrounded type of quilt…
I started making the small nine patch blocks as leader enders for other sewing and when I had a quantity of those put them into the bigger double nine patch blocks.
Found that having enough background fabric in the alternate squares of the double nine patch block allowed all those little pieces to blend in and look spectacular.
In doing this project I discovered with small pieces like that anything goes, but with larger ones it’s better to use a little more caution, like putting red, white and blue together, or another color scheme–and being on the lookout for patterns that work well for scrappy quilts.
This has led to the way I look at storage of scraps, for example, I used a limited amount of red and blue in this scrap quilt–sticking to a lot of browns, and odd prints… Deciding that Christmas quilts or patriotic quilts would be where I wanted to put the red, blue and greens. I put in a few brights, but also saved out a lot of pinks and blues that I will later put into a children’s quilt pattern that would be fun to make using scrappy nine-patches.
thanks J, that’s great insight into mixing the colors of small scraps versus the colors of larger scraps.
Choosing and cutting to a specific size of scrap sems to have really helped you! thanks for sharing