Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Scrap Organization

I make a lot of scraps from making lots of quilts and from doing lots of experimentation.  Scraps can get out of control and at least in my studio can tend to overwhelm my space.  Though I don't have a lot of storage space, I have a scrap organization system that works for me.  It's simple and allows me to find the right scraps when I need them.  I used this same system back in Kansas, but I had to downsize it a bit to fit the space I'm in now.
I keep this box on a shelf next to my cutting table. As I cut I pop any usable size scrap into this box.  I keep scrunching it down with my hand...you'd be surprised how many scraps can fit in a small bucket.
Eventually though, it gets full and overflows onto the shelf, the table and ultimately the floor.  That's when I know it's sorting time.
 I have a set of small laundry baskets that fit perfectly into my shelving system.  I used to have one for each color, one for solids, and one for selvages.  I don't have that much room any longer, so I combined colors into single baskets.
I dump out my collection bucket and sort the scraps into their color groups.  Right now I have six baskets:  selvages, neutrals, purple/gray, red/pink, green/blue, and orange/yellow.  When I need scraps of a certain color, I pull down the basket and grab what I need.  Easy peasy.
I also save scraps with a particular fabric when there is enough of that fabric folded in my shelves.  I put any scraps left from using that fabric tucked inside of the folded yardage.
I can store it neatly on my shelf and find particular scraps easily without having to cut into more yardage if I only need a few small pieces.

This system helps me keep track of my scraps making them easy to use without lots of effort.

20 comments:

Audrie said...

Such a great idea! I really need to do something about my scrap situation because if you don't see it, you don't use it. All it does is multiply!!

Dawn S. said...

I love the idea of tucking scraps into the left over yardage. Makes perfect sense! Thank you for the tip.

Live a Colorful Life said...

This is probably one of the best systems I have seen that would actually work for me! I'm going to get a set of those laundry baskets!

Jeannette said...

I run a similar system, but mine is broken down by size, and then put into plastic drawers.

Suzanne said...

The idea of the initial scrap bucket with a storage capacity is helpful information. Thank you for the visuals.

Colleen said...

That's kind of my system too, but folding the pieces back into what's on the shelf is a great idea! I have used the big piece so many times, not knowing I already have a scrap I could have used.

MariQuilts said...

Sounds like a great system....If only I would be disciplined enough to actually do it.

sko_G knits said...

just out of curiosity, what would you consider a useable sized scrap? i struggle with throwing out anything that will still show through two seam allowances. so basically, anything over 3/4" i keep

Char said...

Great idea, folding the scraps with the yardage. Thanks!

SusieDW said...

I use just about the same system. My fabric is in plastic drawers (Target) ... I use Ziplocks for storage of the very small scraps and do fold the larger 3"+ into the same larger piece of same fabric. I then forced to consider using a scrap.

Claire - Matchign Pegs said...

I also fold my scraps inside my larger pieces, but my larger pieces are generally only fat quarters - as someone who is into applique, even small pieces are pretty useable to me, and I don't buy larger pieces much.

These sit quite neatly on some open shelves, sorted by colour...


I have a little clear, but heavy duty plastic envelope (that I bought some sheets in) to keep the really small scraps that don't have larger pieces to be folded with.

Thanks for sharing your system.

Valerie said...

I love seeing how everyone handles their scraps-I too keep some scraps with my yardage of the same fabric when possible!

Cynthia@aquilterbynight said...

These are great tips, and I like your tag-style labels on your baskets. Charming!

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Awesome!

Cleo said...

Jacquie, what a great organizational idea! Now I have to find the time (when I don't want to cut & sew) to do the organize part!!!

I have "Pinned" it. Thanks.

Byrd said...

I just finished a scrap sorting session in my studio (corner of my basement) and was so happy to see you write about it. I find sorting very therapeutic when I'm facing a design block (sorry about that!) or my wrists hurt from too much quilting. It's so nice to see what else goes on in everyone's workspace. Thanks!

Samantha said...

thank you for sharing your system- I am constantly battling with scraps.

Jessica said...

thanks for sharing. i also sew in a very small space. the visual very helpful. thanks.

Steffi´s Candy Quilts said...

Hello Jacquie! I am a new reader of your blog and came here today via Katie. I love the fabric on the last two pictures. Can you please tell me the name of it or of the fabric line? I would love to search for it. Thank you so much! :-)

miika said...

I'm also wondering, when do you consider a piece a scrap and when does it still qualify as "yardage". By the looks of your pictures there are some pieces in your scrap bucket that I would put back in my "large pieces" stack :-) And how small is too small to keep?