Create Fabric Yardage Out Of Scraps
I’ve almost never met a fabric scrap I didn’t like, which means I rarely throw them out. You can imagine how many of them I have amassed after 30 years of quilting. I have this terrific system for organizing my scraps, but to be honest, I don’t always have the time for that. So a few years ago I decided to put some of them to good use, and make large pieces of fabric. That’s how I came up with this tutorial on how to create fabric yardage out of scraps.
Once you try this, I think you are going to be hooked. Essentially you are designing and making your own fabric. I like to make my pieces in one color, but you can make them any way you want to. All you need are your scraps and your imagination. Whenever I do this, I feel like I’m a kid with a box of crayons.
You can make the fabric as large as you like. I try to make pieces no smaller than a fat quarter, but I have also made pieces as big as a yard. That way I have plenty of fabric for various projects.
So get ready to have some fun and turn your scraps into yardage.
Supplies You Will Need
- Scrap Fabric – I like to use smaller pieces, and rarely use anything larger than 6” X 6”. Any shape is usable.
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
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Assemble and Prepare Scraps
- First, choose the color(s) you will use, and gather all of the scraps in that color. I include fabrics that have a variety of patterns.
- Then press all of the scraps.
Begin by matching up pieces of fabrics that are approximately the same size along one edge. They do not need to be the exactly the same size. The units get trimmed down during the process.
With right sides of fabric facing together, sew down the one edge, using a 1/4” seam allowance.
Repeat and make as many pairs as desired.
Next, take the units that have been sewn and pair them up with others that are approximately the same size. Before sewing these pairs together, the edge that you will be sewing along will need to be evened out. Using your rotary cutter and ruler, trim one edge of each pair so you have a straight sewing edge.
With right sides facing together, line up the edges you trimmed and sew, using a 1/4” seam allowance.
Press open. You now have units made up of 4 scrap pieces.
Repeat this process and continue joining these larger units, until you are satisfied with the size.
You now have a unique piece of fabric you can use in quilts or other projects, like a stuffed toy. I think it looks a lot like a crazy quilt, and you could definitely use it to make one.
A few things to remember
- I would not recommend using this fabric in intricate quilt patterns. There are a lot of seams to work around. Additionally, there will be some bias edges to work with.
- You can use this method with any type of fabric, just realize that thicker pieces will be harder to sew, and you will have really dense seams.
I have made a few things with this fabric including these quilts and a stuffed animal.
I really enjoy this process. A big part of the fun is looking at all of the fabrics and remembering what projects they were used in. It is also a good use for scraps that would otherwise be taking up space in your sewing room.
Why not put some of your scraps to good use and give this project a try. It only takes a little time to create fabric yardage out of scraps, and it’s so much fun!
ChristinaApril 24, 2019 at 12:58 PM
I love this idea! And the yellow quilt!
createwithclaudia_7j76hsApril 26, 2019 at 12:59 PM
Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
Janis mohnSeptember 2, 2020 at 9:02 AM
I’ve done this for years. I’m glad to see other do the same. My grandmother taught me, “Waste not want not!”
ClaireSeptember 14, 2019 at 11:55 AM
Awesome idea!! Great way to use scraps for another project…….
Thank you for sharing!
createwithclaudia_7j76hsSeptember 16, 2019 at 6:29 AM
Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!
Bridgett DavisApril 25, 2019 at 2:30 PM
Very cute. Thank you for sharing. I hope to one day have a stash <3
createwithclaudia_7j76hsApril 26, 2019 at 12:49 PM
Thanks so much. It’s amazing how quickly fabrics scraps accumulate.
RuthApril 28, 2019 at 5:47 PM
Thanks so much for sharing this idea. I’m working on organizing my scraps now. They are taking up a good portion of my storage area.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsApril 30, 2019 at 6:17 AM
Thanks Ruth. I don’t know about you, but with all of the scraps I generate I need to keep organized.
BernadineApril 29, 2019 at 6:40 PM
1st time on your blog
This is a very cool idea.
If you had designed all those intricate pieces on graph paper to be sewn together it would have been so much math, measuring, and cutting. This is much more spontaneous.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsApril 30, 2019 at 6:16 AM
Thanks so much Bernadine. I appreciate. Sometimes it’s lots of fun being spontaneous!
Alison StubbsMay 5, 2019 at 10:12 AM
Thank you! Very clear instructions! Xx Alison in UK x
createwithclaudia_7j76hsMay 5, 2019 at 10:32 AM
Thanks Alison. I appreciate it.
DianneJune 8, 2019 at 3:51 AM
HiClaudia. Thanku so much. Its very kind of you to share your lovely ideas. Its very inspiring and I cannot wait to get started. X
Mary BethDecember 23, 2019 at 11:45 AM
DelaneyJanuary 14, 2020 at 1:55 AM
I love this idea.
To make use of my really small fabric and yarn scraps I collect them to stuff other projects with. I also like to share my pretties with the birds and leave little bundles of natural fibre fabric and yarn out in the garden for nesting material.
PS: I also did this with my hair when I had chemotherapy LOL The birds had a lovely time!
TamaraDecember 2, 2022 at 12:40 PM
LeoneJanuary 23, 2020 at 1:57 PM
Love using scraps and will try it your way. Thanks
Lynden NyquistApril 8, 2020 at 7:57 PM
I make mine 12 1/2 inches wide. Very long. Yards. I wind it around an empty fabric bolt. I fit 2 rows on there. It has been used for many projects – one time I had enough to use it as a backing for a twin size quilt. I absolutely absolutely love that yellow beauty of yours! I never once thought of making mine in color families! I guess I may need more empty bolts!
createwithclaudia_7j76hsApril 17, 2020 at 5:38 AM
I love the idea of wrapping it around empty fabric bolts. Thanks for reading.
April PlousJuly 12, 2020 at 4:00 PM
I am so glad I stumbled across your website today. I have been cleaning out and organizing my sewing room and have found LOTS of scraps. I will definitely get back to you with a photo when I have put some of them together. Thank you!
createwithclaudia_7j76hsJuly 13, 2020 at 6:14 AM
Great! Have fun.
BettyJuly 18, 2020 at 8:34 AM
Love the idea. Just finished making masks from extra pieces I had or was given and hated to through away the scraps.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsJuly 20, 2020 at 6:27 AM
Thank you. That sounds like a good use for some of your extra fabric scraps.
Christine HeadyAugust 21, 2020 at 8:09 AM
Love this idea, making 12 in squares to create quilts for Lutheran World Relief Quilt project. They lost 22,000 quilts that were bound for charity in the Beruit explosion tragedy. Great way to create and pay it forward to others in our community.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsAugust 21, 2020 at 10:06 AM
That’s a lovely idea. The nice thing about this method is that it is quick and let’s face it, we all have scraps we need to use. Thanks.
Julie ThaxtonNovember 4, 2020 at 1:49 PM
I see recycled shirts that have “patchwork” backs on them but wondered how one could cut a pattern out with out cutting the seams. ( Think cutting a shirt back out of quilt top)… I appreciate your answer.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsNovember 16, 2020 at 10:30 AM
I’m not quite sure how one could do that. Sorry I can’t help with that.
LaraJuly 25, 2021 at 6:49 AM
Hi Julie, I just discovered this lovely website and read your question. The thing you could do is first make a pattern for what ever you want to use the patchwork piece for, say a jacket or a shirt. Then you can use that as a template for your patchwork. This way you don’t have to cut through the seams of your patchwork but you can simply sew your jacket together the way you want.
Hope this helps! Best wishes, Lara from the Netherlands
kayeFebruary 18, 2021 at 8:17 PM
I just discovered how to make fabric out of your scraps……so excited. I finally understand what the plastic like cover is for …. Can’t wait to try.
AmandaOctober 27, 2022 at 8:54 PM
Great tutorial, I’m always trying to maximize use with little to no waste. I generally make garments so most of the scraps I have are various knit fabrics. Do you have any pointers on how to make knits work that may be all sorts of various scrap shapes, not always with straight edges? Any help or suggestions are appreciated.
You make beautiful art!
createwithclaudia_7j76hsOctober 30, 2022 at 7:31 AM
Thank you. Knits are tough for me. I have not used them very often at all but when I have a stabilize them first. Thanks for stopping by.
Dell KaserDecember 21, 2022 at 6:34 PM
I just stumbled upon your site. I have been doing this since I was a young girl in the 60’s I bought fabric with my babysitting money & would sew leftover fabric together to make crop tops, I’ll have to start doing this again!
createwithclaudia_7j76hsDecember 26, 2022 at 7:21 AM
Welcome and Happy Quilting!
Nancy SteepeJanuary 20, 2023 at 7:16 PM
excellent article….am 90 yrs. old and love quilting so this has given me many ideas for my, scraps…thx. so much…
createwithclaudia_7j76hsJanuary 27, 2023 at 6:43 AM
Thanks so much and happy quilting!
Karon EarlsMarch 16, 2023 at 10:15 AM
I just recently watched a video of this scrap piecing. I LOVE IT! You’re site is really good for more ideas. I signed up for your newsletter. Thank you for inspirition.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsMarch 22, 2023 at 8:12 AM
Norma EpleyMarch 18, 2023 at 2:12 PM
First time reader and I have to say you have really inspired me. Your instructions are easy to follow, even for a novice like me. Showing how you used your scraps in a quilt really brought it all together.
createwithclaudia_7j76hsMarch 22, 2023 at 8:12 AM
Thank you. I appreciate that!