Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Sort & Organize Scraps

Hello! I thought my next post was going to be a round-up of ideas for your scrap quilts this year...but I was doing a bit of organizing and thought I needed to post some of my sorting ideas first.

 I previously posted some ideas on sorting and organizing your scraps a while

 back (find that post here), but I thought I might be able to share some more specifics by devoting a full post with plenty of photos to the topic.

I generally keep all of the bits and pieces from a project together until it's completed. Then I try to sort through the left overs as soon as possible to integrate them into my scrap bins. Sometimes it's tempting to keep them together as a collection because I think, "Oh, I could make a table runner or a pillow out of these scraps." But really, I love my scraps best when they're mixed with other scraps!

I do keep certain scraps together: for instance, I store Christmas scraps together, Minick & Simpson scraps together, Bonnie & Camille scraps together, and Fig Tree Scraps together. Even though I made a king-size scrap quilt and a full size scrap quilt using my Fig Tree scraps last year, they just keep multiplying because I still do quite a bit of sewing for Joanna.

I hadn't yet gone through my scrap bins of Farmhouse and Strawberry Fields Revisited since sewing several quilts with both collections for the Minneapolis and Houston quilt markets. So my task the other day was to go through those bins!

 I decided to choose just a few categories:
  • 1 1/2" strips
  • 2" strips
  • 2 1/2" strips
  • 2 1/2" squares
  • 5" strips
  • 5" squares
  • Larger pieces

It really is amazing how many wonderful pieces you can cut from the scraps from a project or two!

 Next I divide the cut scraps into labeled bins. While it might initially seem like you are using more containers to store your scraps by the different sizes...these containers will eventually fill up and leave me with empty containers to spare.

I was able to complete my Farmhouse and Strawberry Fields Revisited scrap sorting, cutting and storing in just a couple of hours. Now I need to go back and go through some older Fig Tree collections that haven't been sorted and add them into the bins.

Something else I thought I could share today is how I also have been organizing the solids I use all the time. Moda Bella 9900-97 is my go-to off-white background fabric. I use it constantly and keep left-overs in a plastic drawer. I also have a separate drawer for Moda Bella Ivory 9900-60 which is my go-to creamy background. Normally I try to cut pieces from these scrap drawers before cutting yardage off of the bolt.

But there are some pieces I use over and over the last time I had a bigger scrap, I cut it into 2 1/2" by width of fabric strips. These are now in a separate drawer, and I hope that by having these pre-cut I'll save a lot of time in the future!

 I hope some of these scrap organization tips will help you get ready to quilt your stash this year!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Andrea R said...

I also sort my scraps by size, because when I'm looking for fabric for a new quilt, I need to hunt down the right size scraps!

I see a lot of people sorting by color but that wasn't how I found I was pulling fabric, so size works way better for me.

I do sort my solids by color though. They are in a separate bin.

DahyaJan said...

Your blog is so helpful to me. Thank you for all the tips, parades, etc.
My question: are all your scraps starched? Do you sort according to starched and unstarched scraps?

Andrea Huston said...

Yeah, sometimes sorting scraps is a huge problem, specially for beginners. So that would be great if some experienced quilters shared their tips here. Thanks a lot! My writer from says that your blog is awesome and I do agree with her!

Judy H said...

I don't have much of a stash yet. Still rebuilding from a move across country 3 years ago. What I do have is 'scrap envy'. Unfortunately, most of my non-crafty friends don't understand it's really an illness!

Grandma said...

Thanks for the tips. Are the scraps starched and pressed?

Chelle (Dana) said...

I'm really enjoying your posts on organizing and working from stash. I see that some have asked if you starch and press or if you sort by starched or not? My problem is that I have a large stash of primitive/civil war repro fabrics that have been washed. After quilting for over 15 years, my tastes have changed and I have fallen in love with Fig Tree fabrics and all of the wonderful Moda fabrics with a lighter flare. I have quite a bit of pre-cuts and since you can't wash those, I've decided to not wash fabrics anymore. I've been struggling trying to figure out how I want to organize my fabrics now. So I'm really watching your blog for getting my fabrics and stash under control.

Karee said...

Most excellent tips. Perhaps the one I need to start on first is the Moda solids by # drawers: Love it!

Janet said...

Great tips....I hope to use several of them this week when I start my sewing room reorganization :)

Mary Stanton said...

Loved the fabrics I purchased from you! Beautiful! When I make something from them, I'll share with you. Thanks for great colors!

Hildy said...

Thanks for sharing your tips! I like your idea how you store your scraps that's one I'll definitly borrow. I also cut some 2"x2" squares because I often happen to have scraps I can cut this size with minimal loss.

em's scrapbag said...

Lots of good ideas here. Thanks for sharing. I know I should be better at cutting my scraps into usable sizes but I just hate cutting so much. It never happens until I find the project I want to make. Then the necessary cutting takes place.

Little Quiltsong said...

Great Tips! I never thought to keep my favorite designer's fabric scraps all together in one place. That is a great idea, as those fabrics usually compliment each other. Well off to search for another bin :)!

Amy Kho said...

Awesome post. I just read your earlier post this morning. Ha, I guess scraps are on all of our minds!

Lara B. said...

I really like how you sort your scraps and that you keep them together by type Sherri! I tend to keep the project scraps together and that doesn't really lend to scrappiness, but your method is a great midway point.

memorymaker25 said...

I really enjoyed this post, so thank you Sherri for the tips. I have a scrap bin (metal garbage can/world Marker) and I wait until it gets halfway full and then I sort and cut. I just was not sure how I should organize these cut pieces so this was very helpful

Jill Cox said...

I find quilt patterns that are good with "leaders and enders" for scraps. So maybe a nine patch quilt. I put precut squares into a box with the pattern in that box so when I need finish off a seam for a quilt I am making, I go ahead and sew one of these seams. I may have brights that are cut into the nine patch size, or thirties prints.

Jeannie said...

I do a lot of applique work, so I keep my bins by color - purple, blue, teal, green, yellow, orange, brown/cream, black/grey/white, red, pink, prints. I bought a bunch of the 11" canvas drawers from Amazon, one in each color (stripe for the print drawer, black for the black/grey/white drawer) and keep those on a shelf that sits above my cutting table. Every small scrap (under 6" square gets put on fusible web before getting put in the bins. :)

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