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Decorating with scraps


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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Scraps. We all have them, but some of us have an easier time getting rid of them than others.

As you can probably imagine, we generate a lot of fabric scraps here at Colette Patterns. Now that we’ve moved into a large studio with lots of space, we are thinking of cost-effective ways to decorate. Small scraps can be challenging to turn into garments, but they’re perfect for home decor projects.

A few ideas we’re tossing around are stuffing a pouf full of scraps, making a crochet or braided rug, and making some type of bunting. Napkins would also be great for our new break area (yay!).

Many of the fabrics we use are pretty silks and cottons in pastel colors. Wouldn’t they make a pretty tassel bunting along the wall? Or making a gradient of colors in a crochet rug? If you don’t have pieces large enough, you could make bias binding from the scraps to decorate the edges of napkins or for a bunting string.

Do you have any favorite tutorials for using scraps? We have plenty of space and white walls to fill!

Images: Pouf, Quilted Pillow, Napkins, Rag Rug, Tassel Bunting

Some related posts you may be interested in:

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 24


I use my scraps for appliqué projects which can easily be made into cushion covers or framed and put on the walls! If you have coordinating coloured scraps one favourite is to appliqué a tree on a background – using all different scraps for the leaves – you could even do four different ones – spring, summer, autumn (fall), winter…. to fill a wall. I also like patchwork cushions – I tend to do one side in just one fabric for the days I need a more ‘zen’ atmosphere and the other side in patchwork for the more energetic feeling.


I keep my smaller scraps organized by color in large zip plastic baggies. I piece them together in strips, then panels, iron like crazy, and then cut out small projects from them as I would a regular length of fabric. Wallets, tablerunners, pockets, quilts and sash belts are fun out of the multicolored scraps. I lined a handbag with it, but it makes it impossible to find anything down in there!


Love these ideas! I’m always looking for good things to do with scraps. My next project is to make a quilt with the scraps of everything I’ve made this past year!


I like scraps for facings, bias bindings or small accent pieces. I try to throw away the smallest unusable things, but I keep thinking oh that Could be good for doll clothes. And I keep even the teeniest scraps of special things like Liberty. They could be covered buttons!


I make catnip stuffed toys…a ton of them. You don’t need a lot of catnip in them, just about a teaspoon, stuff the rest with the tiniest of scraps. Sew some selvedge strips out of the end as a “tail” for them to bat around. When Xmas comes around, all my cat owning friends get a little variety bag of them, a few for each cat they have, all shapes and colors. Some with selvedge tails, feathers, a bell, whatever I have laying around. Sprinkle an extra teaspoon of loose nip in each bag with the treats, shake. The cats go NUTS for them. Don’t spend a lot of time on each one because they only last a few days, and make them small, about 3″.

This is not really a great solution, just a “pit stop” to the landfill, but it gives the kitties a lot of enjoyment, at least for a short time!


Great idea! I bet if you wanted to make them last longer, you could pretty easily make them refillable. On the other hand, they do tend to drool all over them (at least mine do).

Katherine @ WeSewRetro

I had enough scraps to make The World’s Most Visually Offensive king size quilt, which you can see here:

A word of caution though: that was in 2007 and I still haven’t finished hand quilting it ;)


I like to make fabric birds. I made a tutorial on my blog, here:

, and the template is available here:

I also like to make coasters, quilted ones, with scraps. And I cover notebooks with fabric. I also make cat toys, there are tons of tutorials and free templates out there one can use. I haven’t really gotten into quilting, but god knows I should, I have so many scraps of fabric…


Those birds are adorable.

The coaster idea is a good one too!


My first adult sewing project was a crazy quilt, a perfect way to use scraps. Obviously, you don’t need to make an entire quilt, but even framed crazy blocks or crazy blocks used on pillows or crazy pieced table runners would work. I use foundation piecing and hand embroider over the seams and for decorative effect, but you machine stitch as well.


PS: The Purl Bee has a treasure trove of free tutorials and pattern templates for little things, and most of them are super scrap appropriate.


I generally only hold on scraps if I can find the selvedge…otherwise, it’s history. It’s too difficult to use scraps if you can’t find the grainline easily.


I have a huge box of scraps that I keep telling myself will someday become a quilt. After I learn how to quilt. Is it even a good idea to make a quilt out of different kinds of fabrics? I guess I’ll find out someday!


I personally like these two decorating ideas: (scroll to bottom)

Also, “cathedral windows” make nice pillows (good to do up small because they’re quite labor intensive!)


I’d forgotten about the embroidery hoop idea from Purl, that’s an excellent one too!


Jessica above mentioned what I was going to say, swatch portraits using embroidery hoops! I saw them on the wall at Purl Soho and thought it would be an affordable way to decorate. Fun colors/designs in small pieces, woohoo!


The 9 year old daughter of one of my sewing students has a BUSINESS (9 years old!!) making shoe laces out of fabric scraps. They are thick and good for boots and sneakers. Just fabulous. Can’t get over that she’s doing this at 9!!!


So stoked on all these organization and inspiration ideas you have been posting in the new year. I am a new follower and am loving the great ideas!


I keep the bigger ones for gorgeous pocket linings and the smaller ones can be used to sass up embroidery projects or to tease my cat with (watseful but oh so fun!)

Catholic Bibliophagist

I love your pincushion picture. Is there a pattern?



That’s actually a pouf, though it does look like a pincushion! It’s big enough to sit on or use as an ottoman. Here’s the link to the tutorial on Better Homes and Gardens:


The possibilities for fascinators, hair clips, brooches, and other small accessory pieces keep me from throwing any scrap away ever. I don’t know of any tutorials, but fascinators are especially fun to experiment with (and can go very nicely with most vintage-y clothing, including the garments that created the scraps in the first place- perfect way to coordinate accessories).

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