How to Use Fabric Scraps for ANY Sewing Project

heather handmade sewing

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Learn how to combine and use fabric scraps for any sewing project. Create your own colorful patchwork fabric for any easy sewing project.

Do you have favorite fabrics that you love so much that you never want to use it? Or you do use your favorite fabric but you save all the tiny scraps because you want to still use them? You’ll come up with the perfect project that will use those scraps?

I do this. I totally save the scraps of my favorite fabrics. They aren’t big enough for a full project, but they aren’t small enough to throw away. But then they just sit there in a box.

I came up with a technique to creatively combine all those small pieces of fabric into a brand new piece of fabric or a patchwork piece of fabric. Then it’s big enough to make any sewing project you want!

How to Use Fabric Scraps for ANY Sewing Project
How to Use Fabric Scraps for ANY Sewing Project

What are fabric scraps?


Fabric scraps are pieces of leftover fabric that are too small to be used for big sewing projects. They are accumulated during sewing and quilting. They come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, depending on the project you were working on.

If you quilt a lot, then you are going to have a lot of quilting fabric leftover. If you sew apparel a lot, then you are going to have a lot of different apparel fabrics leftover.

Get some great ideas for scrap fabric sewing projects!

What size of fabric scraps should I save?

I save anything that is about palm or hand size. I don’t keep anything thinner than about 2 inches. As long as one or both sides measure 2 inches, I will keep it. It’s nice when it’s a long strip so it can make something longer.

How to Use Fabric Scraps for ANY Sewing Project

How to use fabric scraps for any sewing project


Using fabric scraps is a fantastic way to be creative, reduce waste, and add a personal touch to your projects. Before you get started, ask these questions about your fabric so you have a starting place.

1. What type of fabric scraps do you have?

Organize your fabric scraps by type. Keep quilting cotton together, denim/canvas together, knit fabrics together, drapey fabrics together, etc. Keeping the fabrics organized by the size, weight, and type of fabric, will help you see how much fabric you have and what type of projects will work.

Also, organize your fabric scraps further by separating prewashed and nonwashed fabric. You want to try to keep prewashed fabrics together and nonwashed fabric separate so it doesn’t create problems with finished sewing projects.

scrap fabric quilt coat

2. What do you like to sew?

If you make a lot of bags and home sewing projects, those will work great with all the quilting cotton fabrics. If you like to sew apparel, then you can combine your apparel fabrics to be able to make more clothing.

Don’t force yourself to sew something you don’t enjoy sewing!

3. How much time and effort are you willing to invest?

If you stick to projects that use less than 1/2 a yard of fabric, you will have a lot less sewing to do to create the fabric. If you want a large scale project and you love putting in a lot of time and effort, you can create some really amazing projects.

scrap fabric quilt coat

Creating the Fabric

This is one of my favorite parts of the project! I like the boundaries created by scraps of fabric that makes me be extra creative. Gather all your scraps of similar type and color.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

I was going to make a zipper pouch, sunglasses case, and key fob so I gathered all my quilting cotton fabric scraps in pink, blue, green, yellow including both prints and solids.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

Then I started grouping colors and prints together that were pleasing and fun. There is no rhyme or reason to this, just do what makes you happy.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

Trim fabrics so that they have straight edges. Start sewing the fabric pieces together in strips or groups with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim groups to have straight edges and keep sewing groups together until you have blocks of fabric.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

You can make the blocks as large as you want. I made 9 blocks that were 12 inches by 12 inches each. I originally was thinking about making a quilt, but I realized I didn’t have the time or energy to make something. The three smaller projects I made were perfect for my time and patience.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

Sometimes I would put some fabrics together and then realize it wasn’t large enough. I would cut through the block in different directions and add a fabric strip in the middle.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

I really gave myself permission to play with the fabric pieces and groups in any way I wanted. I loved sewing pieces together, trimming them, sewing it to a group, cutting through a group and adding fabric in the middle. It was really satisfying to use all these small scraps of fabric to make some fun blocks.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

Make sure you press each seam open before you sew it to another seam. You need each seam and seam allowance to be pressed nice and crisp to make the sewing project easier in the end. It also strengthens the patchwork block each time you press the seam.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

Some of the fabrics I found were already sewn together into quilt blosk or strips from another project, and I was able to work them into the quilt blocks. This part of the project took the longest because I was creating a new fabric, but it was a really fun creative process.

scrap fabric patchwork fabric quilt block

Cutting the Fabric

Once you have the fabric created and you’ve pressed all the seams, you can cut out your sewing project. You can get creative and cut the sewing project at an angle to use more of the patchwork. Imagine how the final project will look with the different pattern piece placements.

cut out patchwork fabric

When I made the sunglasses case, I had to sew three quilt blocks together to make the fabric large enough to cut two pattern pieces. Then I chose how to fold the fabric to cut two pieces and what fabrics I wanted to highlight.

cut out patchwork fabric

Sewing the Project

Once you have the project cut out, you can sew the sewing project together the way that the instructions tell you. There isn’t anything different about this part of sewing except that you have to pay attention to the extra seam allowances to make sure they stay open and flat.

I made a sunglasses case with patchwork fabric on the inside and the outside.

scrap fabric sunglasses case
scrap fabric sunglasses case

I made a key fob with the fabric cut at an angle to make a cool diagonal look.

scrap fabric key fob
scrap fabric key fob

I made a zipper pouch with patchwork fabric on the outside and on the inside. I chose blocks that paired well for the outside, and blocks that paired well for the inside.

scrap fabric zipper pouch
scrap fabric zipper pouch

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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What about mixing the grain. I can’t tell where I am once the selvedge is removed.

I just tried to send a picture of a basket I made with scrap fabric, but I am new to Instagram so I don’t think it worked! Anyway, it turned out really cute, and I plan on making more, because you can always use baskets!