This past weekend, I cut two pairs of Vogue 1051 trousers – one a pinwale corduroy, and the other a lightweight denim. I knew I had some contrast fabric/lining for the denim pair, but made a quick trip to Dressew for contrast/lining/thread for the cords. But a couple of days later, I’m going through my fabrics and damn. I didn’t need to buy it at all! I already had the necessary fabric in my stash/scraps! I just didn’t remember that I had it. Hate it when that happens!
My stash/scrap stash is getting a bit unwieldy anyways, and I decided it’s time to organize and figure out what I have. And use it! What better time to stash-bust than No/Movember, when the fellows are busily cultivating their moustaches for men’s health awareness (as in actual health, not the magazine)? If I can’t grow a ‘stache, then I can at least work my stash, right?
It’s not the stash that’s so unwieldy as those damn scraps. Would that my scraps were only the size of a fist and easily tossed away! Instead I have two really big bags overflowing. I keep them because those scraps are perfect for things like facings, bias tape, or contrasts. If I know what/where they are. Oh fine, I’ll admit it. I’m a scrap hoarder and it kills me to toss away fabric I bought, and especially fabric that I love. I also have really fond memories of playing in my Grandma’s scrap basket. I’m pretty confident that the majority of those who sew are major scrap hoarders too!
So I’m going through and organizing the damn things; I’m laying each out, measuring it’s rough dimensions – rounding down to the nearest 5 cm – which I then write down on a sticky note. I plan on uploading this information into one of the fabric apps available for my iPod, so that when a pattern calls for, or I want to do, a contrast fabric, I can just search my database to see if I have something suitable in my scrap stash. The scraps will be organized by type (woven/knit), and then by size, and stowed away in totes.
Of course there are fragments that don’t make the cut; as long as they’re bigger than my hand, I’m tossing them into a bag that I hope to give away over craigslist or freecycle.
A couple of funny things happen when I start to systematically go through these fabrics…
- I get really fond fabric/project memories, but some really bad ones too. With some pieces, I look at them and all I think is: Yeah no. Directly into the freecycle bag! I won’t even keep them around for muslining/testing techniques.
- I’m really surprised by how many pieces are over a half metre (and selvage to selvage) – or even close to a full metre! Somehow, I remember the price/metre on nearly all of the fabrics I’ve bought, and I start calculating how much the scrap cost in my head. I’m definitely curious as to how much $ I’ve got ‘invested’ in my scrap stash.
Now, what to do with these scraps?
I may sew, but I’m generally not a crafty person. I love handmade things, but I’m not into the ‘craft’ aesthetic. Barring the fabric wrapped hangers – which I might do – none of the ‘use scrap fabrics’ projects I’ve found so far appeal to me. I mean, I saw one for scrunchies. Another for DIY menstrual pads. I’ve thought of cushion covers, though it might feel a bit weird to have fabrics I wear on my couch or bed.
I’m hoping to use some of the scraps for contrasts, facings, bias tapes, and the like.
I expect to use some for muslins, and for practicing sewing techniques.
Others, for projects that are particularly well-loved and worn, I like to keep around for mending or repairing a garment.