Scrap and Remnant Inspiration
I don’t know about you but I can’t bare to waste fabric, for two reasons really - Firstly because often I love the design so much I want to make the most of every little morsel, but secondly because I really try to be environmentally conscious in my practices and I hate the idea of my waste going to landfill. This does however mean that I end up with a huge scrap and remnant pile that eventually needs ideas to use up before it takes up my entire house! Another reason I have been on the hunt for remnant inspiration is because I often see beautiful fabrics in the remnants section but I’m often not quite sure what I could do with the smaller bits of fabric. I figured I can’t be the only one looking for inspiration, so today’s post is all about sharing what I have found.
First off let’s chat about ideas for those very small woven fabric scraps. I think quite an obvious go-to idea is patchwork.
There are lots of patchwork projects out there, if you are looking for something simple then I think squares are always a good place to start. I have previously used square scraps to create a Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket which I then went on to quilt. I sewed the squares together first and then treated them as one piece of fabric. I layered the patchwork over a layer of quilt batting and a cotton lining fabric, next I quilted the layers together by topstitching either side of where the squares were joined. Lastly I sewed the jacket together as I normally would and bound the edges with bias binding.
To create something similar you could also use the Hovea jacket from Megan Neilson which comes with great instructions for quilting a jacket. I have also seen versions of the Friday Pattern company Ilford jacket made into a patchwork quilted jacket. I think the boxy fit and simple construction of the Ilford lends itself well to becoming a quilted jacket.
If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous you can use different shapes, there are lots of great free quilting pattern designs you could use on the internet. You just need to make the design up big enough so that you can cut out your pattern pieces, then treat the patchwork piece of fabric as though it is one piece of fabric.
If you don’t fancy a full quilted jacket then vests are a great project, you could use one quilt block as the center back of your vest and then sew fabric around it to get enough to cut out the full back piece and make a feature, this is something I have done a few times now. You could also add panels of patch work to over garments.
You could also use a patchwork panel to turn the front bodice of the Style Arc Hope Dress or the Lacey Dress into a statement feature.
There are lots of other things you can make from patchwork if you don’t fancy a garment, such as a tote bag, or a quilt, a foot pouffe, the possibilities really are quite endless!
Another great use for the smaller scraps is jazzing up another garment. You could add a feature pocket to a shirt, trousers or dungarees in either a printed fabric or a contrasting colour to the main fabric.
Let’s move on to some of the medium size scraps to remnants. There are lots of small projects which you could make. The Pisa Bow bag by Kate Eva is one that is on my list of things I would like to try. There are lots of bag patterns around that use up smaller amounts of fabric, you could make something to match your main garment, or just add some colour or pattern to your outfit with a statement accessory.
Other accessories which are great to make are scrunchies, I have made quite a few of these now and they are always handy for those with long hair, they use up just a strip of fabric and a bit of elastic - there are lots of tutorials on youtube for this. I have also made other hair accessories like headbands and bows - again, lots of inspiration and tutorials on both youtube and pinterest for these things.
Now, this is perhaps not everyone's idea of fun, but I really enjoy making bias binding from my leftovers. I absolutely love a funky bias binding to add to projects and I find the process of making it rather therapeutic. You will also be surprised by how much you can make from smaller remnants. I tend to go through a phase of making lots to build up my stash so it is ready for any upcoming projects. You can then use the binding for quilts, quilted garments, finishing off seams, and also to make your own piping for embellishing.
Here is an example of where I have used a contrast bias binding to add detail around a collar, pocket and along the seam of a Raglan sleeve.
Colour blocking is a great way of using bigger remnants and is a long lasting fashion trend. There is so much inspiration for all different sorts of garments and you can have a lot of fun playing around with the placement of different colours and patterns.
Shirts are a great example you can pick a different fabric for each element to really show off those details. Tiered skirts are another good simple way to play with prints. You could split a garment in half with a complete 50/50 design, or what about even going into quarters to make a sort of checkerboard design. I have done this before with a Homer and Howels Ingrid dress, I have the same print but in two different colour ways and then alternated it between the quarters of the dress to create a misaligned checkerboard.
If you have a little one in your life then remnants are often the perfect size for children’s clothes, I have made many garments for my children from either my own remnants and remnants that I have purchased. You could make some very cute matching outfits with the patterns below.
Let’s move on to inspiration for jersey fabrics. One of my go-to projects for the really small remnants is face wipes. I made lots of these when my kids were small and used them as an eco-friendly alternative to wet wipes. I would cut out a shape in jersey and then layer that with either a piece of muslin cloth, towel or another layer of jersey and overlock the two pieces together around the edges. If you don’t have an overlocker you could layer the two fabrics right side together, stitch around the edge leaving a small gap to turn right side out. Turn right side out and then close up the hole.
Again, similar to the woven fabrics, headbands and scrunchies are great and even softer on the hair than woven fabrics. I have made headbands for myself, my daughter and also as gifts many times, using this great quick tutorial from Your Home Based Mom.
Again, like with woven fabrics, jerseys can also be colour blocked. The Tilly and The Buttons Billie sweater gives a great example of colour blocking.
There are also some patterns that use a metre to a metre and a half in fabric (depending on your size) which are great for the larger remnants. I wrote a t-shirt blog comparing different t-shirt patterns, a lot of those I made using under 1.5 Metres and on that blog you can find a chart with the fabric amounts for different patterns.
Underwear and swimwear are another good pattern choice for using up smaller remnants of jersey and swimwear/activewear fabrics.
I hope that has brought you lots of ideas for using up all those scraps, and some inspiration for delving into the remnants section.