Fabric Salad

Green goodness for quilters and sewists

Archive of ‘Scrap happiness’ category

Totally tatty

So, what’s in a name? When it comes to fabric that’s new to me, I usually refer to it as “upcycled” or “thrifted.” So, does that sound better than “used” or “second-hand”? Words do have power–dealerships no longer refer to not-new cars as “used”: Now they’re “pre-owned.” We don’t covet “old” clothes, but vintage? That’s another story.

Funny, when we bought our Victorian home, no-one referred to it as “pre-owned.”

Now that I’ve read about HappyTat, a British collective whose aim is to refurbish furniture and sell it to benefit local charities, I’m adding “tatty” to my list of adjectives. Seems the Brits like to throw this term around when we ‘Mericans might use “trashy” or “worn out.” Like “dodgy” and “telly,” the word “tatty” just seems so much more charming.

I’m looking at the “tatty” linens in my stash and considering a project like this originally from BLHDN.com. Wouldn’t this be oh-so-refreshing to hang once the holiday trimmings come down?

bunting from BHLDN.com

A whole shirt-load

My stash of dress shirts and blouses is dangerously close to critical mass. I thrifted them for a make-and-take project that upcycled the cuffs into luggage tags…Thrifted shirts

So, now what to do with the leftover shirt-age? Considering a quilt, I’ve started poking around for inspiration…

Love this trick of turning the stripes to form pieced squares, adding the solid center is brilliant. Go to Flekka Journal to see the finished stripey quilt.

This shirting quilt, from the blog Carpe Lanam, uses varying sizes of squares, making it a stand-out.


Pairing stripes with polka dots? Yes, ma’am. Not having to cut and piece triangles would be a bonus, too. And this quilt is just adorable.

quilt from inspiration.au.com

Spots and Stripes quilt

Whatever my shirts become in their next life, it’s clear I need to add a few solid colors to this collection. Meet me at the thrift shop?


It’s a Wrap

According to Earth 911, wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S. Ummmm, what does this have to do with quilting and sewing, you ask? Well, green gal, just think how you could help the earth by using fabric (new or upcycled) for some of your gift wrapping this year.

Stash-busting, unexpected and stylish even, wrapping with fabric can be easy, too. Look for tips at Sustainable Baby Steps or, if you’re up for a bit of sewing, follow this easy fabric gift bag tutorial at The Happy Housewife. Can’t quite break the gift wrap or bag habit? You can at least substitute fabric scraps for the predictable curly ribbon. Charissa at The Gifted Blog shows you how. If you need longer ribbon, Charissa suggests, just tie two pieces together. Brilliant!

So ditch the snowman paper and reach for fabric instead. Wouldn’t you be stoked if someone handed you this gift bag? Fabric Scrap Ribbon

Wipe out scraps

So do you make gifts for the holidays or no? Sometimes it’s a tough call–you know how much work a project calls for and you wonder if the recipient will even like the finished product.  And with so many other obligations clamoring for your time right now, it often feels more efficient to just run to the store or order something online. This year, like most, I’ll make a few gifts and shop for others. As I shop, though, I’m giving priority to items that are handmade.

If you have a little one on your list this year, this brilliant use of fabric scraps would be a perfect gift. Quiet, green and fun for baby, this wipe container re-make by Kim Bond of A Spotted Pony is simply brilliant.

Wipe Container Toy

A sort story

Craft Buds photo

Once upon a time, I had two large plastic bins filled to overflowing with scraps of fabric. I just couldn’t get rid of any of the little pretties. Clearly, I heart scraps.

Back to those overflowing bins: One day, I realized that the bins would fit under my guest bed, so now I can have all my scraps, but I don’t have to look at them every day. And I lived happily ever after. The end.

Bet you thought I was going to tell you how I carefully sorted through my scraps, organizing them by color. I did do that once, a long, long time ago…at least I think I did.

Take heart! Unruly scraps can be herded into sweet little piles. Take some tips from Lindsay Conner at Craft Buds. She’ll walk you through the process and get you fired up to turn those leftovers into a feast.



Use ’em up!

For our first family pet, naming rights went to my daughter. After trying out several options (Butterscotch and Nemo), she settled on “Squiggles.” It is pretty perfect for our sweet orange boy.

But, if another cat falls into our lap (being very careful of what I wish for), I’d name him or her “Scraps.” That’s how much I love my scraps. I save every bit of fabric. I save long bits of thread. I almost started saving empty plastic thread spools the other day.

So is my inability to toss any fabric scrap larger than a postage stamp thrift or the first sign of a deep disorder? Debatable, but in the “Yea for thriftiness!”  column, I’d place this runner I made from bits and pieces I had in my scrap bin.

scrappy runner


Add to the scrap happiness this project from Sandi Henderson’s book, Sewing Bits and Pieces. The instructions for this adorable pinwheel project are on her web site. Sandi blogs about sewing, crafts and the stuff of life.

Sandi Henderson pinwheel project