Thursday, February 6, 2014

Storing Your Scraps

One of the challenges I think all quilters face is how to store their scraps. I wish I could provide the perfect way to store these pesky bits but the truth is, you will want to store your scraps the way that works best for you. But to give you some ideas, I thought I would take some time and share with you how I store mine. 

Keeping scraps organized I think starts at your cutting table. I have my cutting area set up so that organizing scraps is at my fingertips.

Right above my cutting table, I have these fabric buckets that allow me to instantly sort my scraps by color.

If you are not into buckets, Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts has made these colorful bins to store her scraps.  You can read more about them here.


And I saw these colorful vinyl pouches that I thought would be great to adapt for scrap storage.  Vera at Negligent Style even has a tutorial on how to make them.

I mean how cute are these?

Many fabrics are not easily defined into a single color, so under my cutting table I have a big laundry bin for the multicolored scraps.  I wish I had a better way to store these but to date, it eludes me.

I also have a second bin where I place all 2 1/2 inch strips. This prevents having to sort through all your scraps when you need a pre-cut size.

There is a third basket where I keep the scraps from previous projects or selected lines of fabrics.  Once I finish a project and I have a lot of leftover scraps, I will just put them all together in a storage bag to be worked into a scrap quilt at a later date.

I find I work through these scraps pretty quickly because all the color work is already finished.  I usually just need to add a few other fabrics to have enough for a project.

There are many scrappy quilters out there that like to store their scraps according to size.  I tried this for many years but I never seemed to have the right size scraps for the project I wanted to make.  Storing my scraps by color and keeping them as large as possible until I am ready to use them seems to work best for me.

Once my color coordinated fabric baskets overflow, the scraps go into larger plastic drawers once again sorted by color.

I love that I can pull out the drawers/colors I want and take them to my cutting table for sorting/cutting.

As I consider a quarter yard cut and smaller a scrap, I have four large drawers were I keep fabric that I can get folded and stand on end.

I try and keep these fabrics sorted by genre (prints, batiks, solids, novelty, holiday).

I also try and keep each genre of fabric sorted by color.  This makes pulling scraps so easy when you want to start a project.

And having the visibility of each fabric really helps when you are working on a project.

There is one precut size of scrap I do save, and that is 2 1/2" squares.  As I am cutting scraps for a project, I will sometimes go ahead and finish cutting up a fabric into these squares. 

I find these plastic kitchen drawer organizers work great to store these in.  

You can label the scraps with trimmed index cards or even colorful paint chips.  Each square fits perfectly standing on end.

While a  2 1/2 in square is the smallest scrap I usually keep, I do keep some "crumbs" (or tiny bits). However I only keep these crumbs in solids as I occasionally use them in improv pieces.

No fancy storage here - ziploc bags work just fine.

If you do want to consider storing your scraps by size, Bonnie Hunter (the queen of scrap quilting) has lots of information about doing so here.

Getting your scraps organized makes using them so much easier!  And speaking of using them, I hope you find some inspiration in my Scrap-A-Palooza  scrap series, where almost every month, a new scrap pattern is used to make a quilt.

Isn't it time to get those scraps sewn into a beautiful quilt!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and Really Random Thursday at Live A Colorful Life.


Kacey said...

This is quit a system! I just have 2.5" strips and 2.5" squares. I'd like to do a scrappy trips quilt with the strips but don't have a plan for the squares yet. Thanks for sharing!

Tami C said...

Love how you are storing your 2 1/2" squares. I might have to get some of those drawer organizers!

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

You have a wonderful system for controlling and organizing your scraps. Love your fabric buckets.

SewPsyched! said...

Thanks so much!!! Up to my ankles in scraps and really need a way to store and sort them:)

Jayne said...

What great ideas and a whole lot of inspiration! I have started cutting my solid scraps into charm square sizes. We call all use those! And for prints, mostly 2 1/2" squares. One day they will all make it into a project! Thanks again for the tips!

Barbara Bradford said...

Absolutely some wonderful ideas. Love how you sort at the cutting table. Thanks !!

Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation said...

wow, you have so many great organization tips. but then again you are the scrap queen!

Thanks so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

Unknown said...

Can't believe how organized you are. I am happy to have all the small pieces together. I will have to try some of your tricks.

jeifner said...

I think I any need to start organizing by color, not size, as I don't seem to be able to find what I need otherwise.

Susan at said...

Holy moly! Those are all so organized. Almost makes my bran a little uncomfortable in the neatness! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips. I have a rolling cart with drawers that I store strips in. But I love your idea of using a kitchen drawer storage unit for 2.5 inch squares.

Marcia - Cozy Capatiller said...

Fabric buckets - GREAT idea! And what an ideal place to put them above the cutting table. This will definitely be something to add to my new sewing room... And the paint chips as sorters for the scrap squares - perfect!

Nann said...

Thank you for the great ideas. It is always interesting to learn about another approach.

Teri said...

Could you share the size the where you purchased your great square organizers? Mine are sorted by color in a drawer, and it isn't working well for me.

Debra said...

Love the way you store your fabric - like me! LOL. Some great tips here. Like the sorting baskets above your cutting table. Smart idea.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

I may steal that paint chip ideas for my hexi's!! LOVE IT! Also appreciated getting insight to how you store scraps. I too like to cut leftovers into strips...that way when my buckets get full I know it's time to make another scrappy quilt!!

MegsAnn said...

What a great system. I love that it starts at the cutting table... so you don't start the messy piles! The drawers for the 2.5" squares are lovely and it's so fun that they're the perfect size. I might need to keep a tape measure in my purse in case I see fun containers on sale. Who knows, one of them might be the perfect size for my cut scraps!

Dogwood Lane Rambles said...

Lots of great ideas here. I'm in the process of deciding what to do with my buckets of leftovers so I'm checking out your scrap a paloza ideas.

Kathy@KayakQuilting said...

Thanks for the ideas! Love the way you organize the 2.5" squares in particular.

01 09 10