Essentially Loved scrap bags (before pic) turned to usable fabric strips (after)

Turning Quilting Scraps into Stash

First, I’d like to eliminate any confusion when talking about scraps. “Scraps” are different than our “stash”; stash is fabric that is (neatly) stored and ready for use. Our scraps are the leftovers from a previous quilt, remnants if you will; they are perfectly useable, but often times they need to be trimmed to square (straight edges) or random edge pieces need to be cut off. They are also often stored in a bin (or bags in my case) for future cutting/trimming.

Essentially Loved Quilts fabric scraps


What do scraps look like for you—are you scrap-less or do you have a pile that needs going through??? Personally, I have three grocery bags full of fabric needing to be identified and dealt with (see first picture above 😆).


Essentially Loved Quilts fabric scraps


I love dealing with my scraps using a method like Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet’s scrap method. Lori’s method is to cut all her scraps into regular sizes 7”, 5”, 3½”, 2½”, 1½” strips & squares and then she cuts & uses them as needed for her patterns. Here’s Lori's blog post on it.

In my world, I love precuts and there is a plethora of patterns out there based on the basic sizes: FQ (Fat Quarter, 18x22” cut), FE (fat eighth, 9x22” cut), 10”, 5”, & 2½” squares, and 2½” & 1½” strips.
My personal deviation from Lori’s method is cuts of 10”, 5”, 2½” and 1½” strips instead of squares… why limit myself to squares
😉. Plus, I’ve recently started adding in the 7” and 3½” strips as well to waste less fabric, so I now cut 10, 7, 5, 3½, 2½, and 1 ½” strips from fabric that is smaller than a Fat Quarter. If it's larger than a FQ I will fold it up and use it as is.

Essentially Loved Quilts fabric cup into strips and stacked neatly


Anything ¾-1½” wide, but longer than 18” gets trimmed and then put into a ziplock bag for a friend who makes coil baskets and strip quilts. If it’s at least a ¼” wide and 18” long I’ll keep it for decorative bows for my bags when someone makes a purchase from me in-person (strips hanging next to baggie). Whatever doesn’t fit those criteria ends up as a scrap-monster 😁 and as stuffing for pet beds (purple bin under baggie), so very little goes to waste 🥳.



Of course, you can fold the fabric in half and half again, but I don’t like to do that way as I used to have the hardest time getting those creases out of the fabric. So I started using the Marie Konda method of folding my fabrics, which lets the fabric relax a bit more and I don’t struggle with getting the creases out At. All. 🥳 Check out the video that got me started (start at 6:00 😅) using this method of folding. The one thing I try to do every time is fold selvedge to selvedge, the exception being when I by 1¼ yards of 108” backing fabric, I’ll fold that raw edge to raw edge—treating it like a length of regular 42” yardage.

Essentially Loved Quilts pile of folded fabric



We now have our scraps cut and folded, so let’s organize them… you have a couple options here 1) organize them by size or 2) organize them by color a third, option is organizing them by “theme” such as Christmas, Red White & Blue, Fall, etc..

I don’t typically organize using option three, unless the fabric is obviously in said theme—candy canes or turkeys are obvious reasons to keep them in their own separate space, and I do have a bin that combines both Christmas, Fall, and Halloween.
Typically, I choose to organize by size first (eventually I’ll get to organizing by color inside my bins) and each bin is labeled with the size in it, for ease of finding the right bin as I only see the ends of the bins
😅. My FQ and yardage storage is all organized by color though. Whew 😄!

Essentially Loved Quilts stacks of fabric strips Essentially Loved Quilts rainbow fabric stash


When I’m cutting scraps I usually fold them (if needed) and put them into a pile to be sorted later. When the pile is too high I will take a break from cutting, clear off my cutting table, and sort the now usable-scraps into like piles (like the pic above). This way I can open the proper storage bin and put them away.

Essentially Loved Quilts stack of fabric scraps



Now that we’ve got all our scraps cut up into useable stash fabric, we need to store them (nicely) for future use! I store all my scraps in plastic “shoe boxes” I got off Amazon, they came in a set of 10—this was a wonderful idea from Sheri McConnell of A Quilting Life, check out her video here. I do love storing my scraps with this method as it’s easy to find my scraps (I don’t yet have them color sorted… *sigh* another day 😅), but at least I know which bin to look in for a certain size.

Essentially Loved Quilts fabric storage boxes
Essentially Loved Quilts fabric stash storage boxes


For larger scraps, my 10 & 7” strips, I use a scrapbooking bin for 12” square paper like this one from Missouri Star Quilt Company, but if you don’t want a “branded” box Art Bin has these that are very similar and others variations, albeit a bit more expensive than MSQCs.

I will say I do prefer the type with latches versus the lid that catches on the container—I have a tendency to overstuff things 😆 and the latches make this helpful, because I can still get the lid secured 😁.


To Recap

* Decide what sizes you’ll be cutting your scraps into (make a note of that somewhere, so you don’t forget).
* Fold them in such a way as they’ll fit in your container and be easily useable later.
* Decide how you’ll organize your scraps… by size and/or color, or theme.
* Find bins that fit your space and needs (and look nice
😊), get them labeled, and store your now usable-stash.


One Last Tip

I highly recommend cutting up your scraps as soon as you get finished with a quilt. Save the cutting until the quilt is complete—you never know when you might need some of that extra fabric 😅, but once the quilt is done cut the leftovers up into useable bits. This way you’ll keep on top of your scraps better. Don’t be like me 😆.

Essentially Loved Quilts scrap fabric bags

Now, off I go to work on scraps, patterns (life got away from me ️), and more quilting, of course. Thanks for being here!

Warmth & Love,
💜 Tracy

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