Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Projects to use up fabric remnants

Nancylee | Posted in General Sewing Info on

There was a great post here a couple of days ago about frugal sewing; I got some good tips from that.

Along the same line, I’ve been scratching my head about things to sew with my fabric remnants which vary in size from 1/4 yard to 1/2 yard approximately.

I’ve made 2 fleece hats, a blue jeans pencil case, and a cafe style curtain for my bathroom window.  Any other ideas out there?  There’s probably a thread on this but have tried both “scraps” and “remnants”.  Thanks.


  1. Jean | | #1

    Go to library and get any one of the several books on the subject written by Sandra Lounsberry Foose. Great ideas for scrap sewing.

  2. User avater
    ehBeth | | #2

    Have you got dogs, or do you have any dogs you need to make gifts for? Very small remnants can make vests and scarf sets for dogs for the fall - my female dog wears a size 2T and vests in different fabrics have been great for her.  Fleece scraps make great booties for city dogs that have problems with salt.  A neighbour of mine borrowed one of my dog's booties and made 2 full sets for her dog out of the sleeve of a fleece sweater her son was discarding.

  3. carolfresia | | #3

    I now donate my smaller scraps (ones that you just can't quite cut anything out of) to my daughter's preschool, where they use them for craft projects--collage and stuff like that, usually. Of course, scraps from my clothes are not too exciting (3-year-olds don't really love grey and black wool flannel), but my daughter gets an enormous kick out of finding bits and pieces of "her" clothes in the scrap bag.

    Now, for grown-ups who love collage, check out Kayla Kennington's article on fabric collage in Threads, issue 92. You can turn your scraps into incredible, textured fabric that's ideal for garments, pillows, accessories, etc. etc.


    1. Nancylee | | #4

      Thanks for the suggestions everyone.  In fact my neighbour's dog might like a fleece scarf - the neighbour might be embarrassed but doggie would be warm!  Will check out the article and the author mentioned too.

      BTW add to my scrap list a sewing machine cover made yesterday.  I'm ridiculously proud of it.  My Janome didn't have a cover so I measured it all up (big deal) and made a newspaper pattern, and using a vinyl tablecloth with a slight napped lining doubled the vinyl, added elastic at the bottom edges and a slot for the handle on the top portion.  Also added a flap which closes under the raised handle to keep dust out even better, and appliqued a contrasting colour sewing machine design and piece of fabric being "worked on".  I left the light on over it all evening to show it off - the family was underwhelmed.  ha ha.

      1. carolfresia | | #5

        Hey, no one should poo-poo your efforts to provide the proper care for you beloved Janome. I think a sewing machine cover is a very worthy project. Maybe for the holidays you can make a computer cover or something similar for each of them, just for fun.


        1. User avater
          ehBeth | | #6

          Oooh - i like those ideas - sewing machine and 'puter covers. My mother would be very taken with that. I think I even have scraps of some of her living room upholstery around my house - if I could co-ordinate the 'puter cover with her upholstery she'd be thrilled.

          1. bellefille | | #7

            Don't forget doll clothes!  I'm gonna be a nana soon, and I'm already starting the doll clothes! 

  4. sanderson | | #8

    Our local hospital's auxiliary makes teddy bears for kids who need some comfort.  I pass my scraps to them and they decide if they're usable or not.

    1. sarahkayla | | #9

      You can make pieced silk or wool scarves. i give them as teacher gifts using the most luxurious scraps.

      1. CTI | | #10

        I also first thought of doll clothes and a "true" patchwork quilt, but one thing I don't think has been mentioned is to use to wrap presents or embellish the present with a bow, etc. I've also made quite a few table napkins using scraps. If they get too messed up, they are rags, and it's no big loss compared to fancy cloth napkins.

        1. ShannonG4d | | #11

          You can use the scraps for wrapping gifts, yes, but how about making boxes with them?  Have a look at http://www.fabricorigami.com  to see what I mean.....these are gorgeous.

          Other ideas: use the scraps as the interior of pockets.  Make finger puppets.  Tear them into strips and weave them together for a "new" fabric.  Use them to make rugs.  Make bias strips for interesting bindings.  Make Chinese ball buttons, or cover buttons you no longer like.  Make button guards for when you send a special garment to the cleaners and don't want to remove the buttons.  Hair accessories (scrunchies, headbands).  Sort them by color to use for appliques.  Make crazy-patch purses and embellish them with leftover buttons and beads.  Quilt layers of the scraps together and use it as waistband interfacing (really works!).  Cut the scraps in wide bias strips and use for padding hems.  Scraps of polar fleece make good sleeve heads and shoulder pads. Take small scraps and apply them to a wall with diluted wallpaper paste for a unique wall treatment.  Make book covers. 

          I NEVER throw away scraps:)


          1. FitnessNut | | #14

            Great ideas for using up bits and pieces of leftover fabrics. I have to say that the Fabric Origami site just blew my mind! I can see this becoming an obsession.....once I figure out how to follow the instructions ; ) Thank heaven I'm such a packrat....I have lots to practice with! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

          2. Jean | | #15

            Wow! The fabric origami is dynamite!! Looks like something I'm going to have to try.

          3. CTI | | #16

            Wonderful site, thank you. It looks like they will last forever. 

  5. Barbaran8 | | #12

    Get Rosemary Eichorn's book - Fabric Collage - you will never consider tossing another scrap again!

    1. Nancylee | | #13

      Thank you everyone for the flood of ideas and suggestions; there is really no end to the inventiveness of sewers it seems.  I'm off to reassess my scraps assortment!!

  6. becksnyc | | #17

    For gifts, I like making cosmetic bags with decorator scraps (line with clear vinyl).  Simple top zip.  Boxed corners. My gal friends make jewellery bags (the roll up kind or the circular kind with a pull tie).  Tote bags can be pieced, as can book covers.  Others make book marks with fringed edges, stamped, etc.  I've made artist's brush and pencil holders that roll closed and tie.

    Also, always have a homemade wrist pincushion or two around my shop.  I stuff a little pillow, about 1 1/2" wide by 3" long and put a piece of cardboard along one side.  Stuff it with dacron or polyfill.  Then cover a piece of 3/4" elastic and make a circle the size of my wrist.  Sew the pillow to the wrist band with cardboard closest to the band (keeps pins from sticking your wrist) and fill with pins.  It goes with me wherever I go!  And with alot less risk of scratches from pins sticking out of one of the magnetic wrist cushions, and none of the pain of plastic ones with the pillow glued on top.

    I use different color linings for the sleeves of some of my jackets--menswear jackets are made that way, so why not mine?

    I also loved the frugal ideas.  We are so wasteful with the earth's resources in this rich land, every effort to make the best of what we already have is better news for the generations to come.

    Becks, NYC

    1. Nancylee | | #18

      Thanks Becks; I particularly liked the idea of the wrist pincushion and I'm going to make one post haste.  I used to have one and when it eventually wore out I've missed it a lot.  Oddly enough I didn't even think to make one up and its a terrific idea.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More