Longtime sewists and quilters know all about fabric scraps. If you’re new to our beloved craft, chances are you’re growing familiar with the piles of leftover fabric that can accumulate. But there’s no reason those beautiful pieces of flair need to go to waste. Now that you’ve finished your quilt, it’s time to take those fabric scraps and sew them into something new!
So in honor of National Upcycling Day, we’ve chosen some really fun, new projects you can make with your leftover scraps. Some of these are perfect for the upcoming summer season, too, especially now that we’re setting our sights on potential summer vacation trips.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your fabric scraps. Those little bits of beauty are perfect for creating all kinds of collaged pieces. You can download the free pattern and instructions for making your own collage like the one above from Bernina here.
Pull enough fabric scraps together, and you can easily make a quilt block. The above block features diverse fabric scraps that have been unified with a simple dyeing process utilizing black tea. The finished block can go into a quilt or pillow sham. Find the free project on Bernina’s website here.
Postage Stamp Pillow
Speaking of pillows, we love this adorable postage stamp pillow that is perfect for using those fabric scraps that seem utterly unusable. This technique would be adorable in so many formats—a table runner, a baby quilt, a tote bag, a wall hanging, and more. You can find the free pattern at Polkadotchair.com.
Fabric Scrap Buster Bin
Are you looking at a pile of fabric scraps and thinking there has to be a better—perhaps more ironic—way of storing them? Enter Baby Lock’s Fabric Scrap Buster Bin. It’s made of fabric scraps, and could potentially hold your future fabric scraps. It’s the matryoshka doll of fabric scraps! We’re not saying you have to use it for storing bits of fabric, but why wouldn’t you? Find the instructions here.
This luggage tag is the perfect excuse to use up the brightest, loudest fabric scrap you have in your stash. Travel is back on the horizon, and there’s nothing worse than trying to spot your luggage out of the tumble of bags winding their way around the conveyor belt. This project is fast and quick, and there’s even a pattern for a matching passport cover. Find the instructions here.
Quilted Sunglasses Case
A lot of sunglass cases are bulky, boring, and annoying to carry around. This quilted sunglass case, on the other hand, is slim, pretty, and totally unique. It looks like it will easily fit in most purses and protect your sunglasses, and it’s a cinch to make. You can find the free instructions here.
Selvage Zip Pouch
It’s a universally understood fact that one can never have too many zip pouches. And given that quilting has left most of us with various selvages, this project feels like a marriage made in heaven. While you can use your regular fabric scraps to make this zipper pouch, we love the idea of using up those selvages that would otherwise get tossed. This design would look very chic on a pillow as well! Find the pattern here.
Scrappy Adjustable Summer Drink Wrap
Summer calls for sweaty drinks served outdoors with friends and family. We suggest making several of these scrappy adjustable drink wraps using different fabric combinations. Not only will the wrap keep drinks cold, but different designs will make it easy for your guests to identify which drink is theirs. This would also be a great pattern for covering mason jars or beautifying old house planters. Get the instructions here.
Hexie Hand Towels
This is a two-birds-with-one-stone upcycling project. You likely have some old hand towels lying around. Maybe years of wash and wear have dulled the original embroidery, maybe they’re unembellished and in dire need of a refresh. This paper-pieced hexagon design makes short work of fabric scraps and old hand towels you might otherwise toss. We love the hexagons because they can work in any configuration, depending on your towel design. Line them up in rows, nestle them together, make different shapes—it’s really open to your interpretation and imagination. Find the pattern here.
We hope this blog helps you take advantage of your fabric scraps and recycle them into something new. And should you start to run out of scraps in all your upcycling, remember: there is always more fabric at Thimbles just waiting to be made into quilts… and scraps. It’s the sewcle of life!
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