1 May 2019

Five Ways to Use Up Your Scraps

Five ways to make use of your scraps

Sustainable sewing is a hot topic at the moment and you might have found yourself questioning whether there are any ways you can make a difference in your sewing practice.

When you cut out your fabric, there will inevitably be some wastage. Many pieces can feel like they are too big to throw away and that there must be something you can do with them. Pattern designers will always try to be as efficient with the cutting layout as possible, but just as with RTW, there will be some bits that could languish in the bin.

As avid watchers of the Great British Sewing Bee, we really enjoyed the episode on sustainability and dressmaking. Patrick Grant said that 30% of all our fabric is wasted - wow! Our unused fabric scraps are likely to either linger in a drawer or end up in the bin. So what can we do with these little pieces of fabrics?

If you are looking for small ways to make your sewing practice more sustainable, we've pulled together five projects ideas to help you use them up these unloved pieces of fabric. You could prep a batch of pockets for upcoming makes (because every me-made needs pockets!), and bias binding to make your garments look as pretty on the inside as they do on the outside.

Five ways to make use of your scraps

1. Make your own bias binding

Want to add a pretty detail to your homemade clothes? Bias binding is useful for creating a neat finish on seams that aren’t attached to anything else and don’t have a facing, such as armholes. The bias cut will allow the binding to stretch slightly, which is handy for getting around curves.

You can buy ready-made bias binding relatively easily. But it’s good to know how to make it yourself so you can make it in a print, colour and width of your choice. Homemade binding is one of those details that can make your handmade clothes truly special and you can use ups scraps and strips of unloved fabric!

Five ways to make use of your scraps

2. Add in-seam pockets to a skirt, dress or trousers

Are you a DIY dressmaker who wants pockets in every garment you make? But what if the pattern you’re making doesn’t include pockets? Have no fear - it’s easy to add in-seam (hidden) pockets to dresses, trousers, skirts and more, while making great use of your fabric offcuts. It's a good idea to cut as you go to utilise your left-over fabric and have pockets ready for your next project.

Oh and we've made you a pocket pattern piece that you can download for free!

Five ways to make use of your scraps

3. Make a bow belt

This bow belt will add a gorgeous finishing touch to your homemade dresses and skirts. Make it in matching or contrast fabric - it's a great way to use up leftover material.

Five ways to make use of your scraps

4. Sew a padded coat hanger

If you want to show your me-mades some love, you could use your fabric offcuts to make a gorgeous matching hanger to store your treasured garment away safely. The tutorial calls for silky fabric, but you could do it with any non-stretch light-weight fabric you have. Your handmade garment will never have felt so spoiled!

Five ways to make use of your scraps

5. Make a head scarf

The Brigitte scarf is the very first project in the Tilly's first book, Love at First Stitch, designed to put basic sewing machine skills into practice. It's super simple and easy enough to be the very first thing someone makes on a sewing machine. In fact, it's an enjoyable speedy project for more experienced stitchers too. You can make it in light-medium weight cotton with drape, and could even wear it with your handmade garment for a totally put-together look!

We hope these project have inspired you to have a clear through your leftover bits of fabric, that are just waiting to become something!

PS. If you like this, you may also like Prolong the Life of Your Clothes.