Fabric-Organizing Ideas for Scraps
excerpted from S is for Scraps by Gayle Bong
Nearly every quilter I’ve ever met saves scraps from making quilts. For some, a 2″ square will do; others won’t save anything smaller than a 2½"-wide strip. No matter what size you save, as scraps accumulate, they soon become out of control unless you have a system for keeping them organized.
Below are three simple steps for organizing quilt scraps. Follow these fabric-organizing ideas and soon you’ll be working smarter so you can get more quilts finished—and more of your quilt scraps into those finished quilts!
STEP #1: Sort your quilt scraps by size—not by color. Many quilters sort their scraps by color. This is great for your main stash, but I don’t sort scraps by color. I rarely make a scrap quilt in a specific color and find I would have to sort through too many boxes for the size of scraps I needed from each box. Plus I feel like I would inadvertently omit desirable colors for the palette I was developing. (See Sally Schneider’s tips for cutting fabrics into six specific sizes for scrap quilting. –Ed.)
STEP #2: Keep scraps orderly with boxes, bins, and baskets. I sort and organize my scraps into boxes of common strip widths, squares, and triangles. Not long ago I had surgery and wasn’t comfortable cutting fabric for a while afterward. I was thrilled that I could still sew because my scraps were organized. My boxes of squares and triangles were ready and waiting, and they went into three different quilts in a matter of weeks.
STEP #3: Iron every scrap you save. Maybe the best advantage of keeping my scraps organized is the time it saves because I don’t have to rummage through tangled, wrinkled scraps every time I want to make a scrap quilt, which is often. I find it’s easier when I keep the pieces neat and flat; that way there’s no need to iron those pieces again. I can simply take the box off the shelf, sort through it for the right color or value, and start sewing. I like to think of my boxes of organized scraps as a precut kit, only I haven’t decided on the quilt pattern yet.