Organizing Fabric Scraps to Make Them More Usable

I have kind of a complicated relationship with fabric scraps. I love them. I love looking at them, because I love fabric, color, and possibility. I feel a responsibility to use them up, down to the tiniest part. It seems thrifty, and like I’m honoring the time, expense, and resources of everyone who helped to make them. It seems like the traditional thing to do. Did you know scrap bags were as much a fixture in homes of the not so distant past as recycling bins are today? However, I also feel a reluctance to use them up. A lot of those scraps are vintage or out of print. Once they’re used up, they are truly gone. The possibility is gone.
All hoarder/spender tendencies aside, I’ve made a point of using scraps in my textile work as much as possible. This means they need to be organized to be actually useful.

I used to just store them in clear plastic shoeboxes, by color. However, it took forever to find just the right scrap in there. I was inspired by something I read in ScrapTherapy- Scraps Plus One!: New Patterns to Quilt Through Your Stash with Ease
Yes, this is an affiliate link.

In this pretty darn cool book, she outlines a method for sorting, storing and using scraps that is genius. It wasn’t quite right for me, so I tweaked it just a bit.
Now, I sort within each color box: Tiny scraps (1″-3″), Small Scraps (Around 5″), Strips, and Larger Scraps. The tiny scraps, small scraps, and strips each get their own resealable bag. The big scraps are together at the bottom of the box.
And holy cow, it works! I can find the right piece for a project SO much faster now. I’m using scraps in my work more than ever before.
While I was sorting everything, I cut off weird little angles to make storing and using easier. I also forced myself to get rid of the teeniest bits that I knew I would probably never use. It makes for less bulk, and it makes it so much easier to find pieces I can actually use. I try to keep cutting off weird bits and being more mindful of what I keep now, which helps keep this:
more organized and actually useful.

About Claire

Absolutely Small is textile artist Claire Chambers. Claire Chambers is a crazy-pants artist/crafter who spends most of her time indoors, very near to Portland, Oregon. She likes making people laugh, chickens and pugs, and writing about herself in the third person. She is utterly obsessed with making things out of fabric.


  1. Wow, that is organised :)

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