Scrap Management

A question that I am frequently asked, is how do I deal with scraps? I wrote the following post several years ago, but given the questions, I thought it might be fun to revisit. So this is my method of scrap management.

First, find a container for scraps you want to keep together. Add to this until it is ready to over flow. Really. I don’t want to get all this out to cut a handful of pieces. Most quilters are already at this point.

This pan is filled with mostly scraps from my collection of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I love her designs and have found that all her lines work so well together. I have a lot more scraps than this, but these are scraps I know I want to use together. I have a large basket for Civil War Repro fabrics and another bin for solids.

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After my pan, basket, or bin is sufficiently full, I  start sorting into like sizes and shapes. If you have a die cutter, you will likely have lots of similar shapes left over. This is very handy!


Toss bits that are tinier than you will actually use. Someone might uses bits this size, but I won’t. So out they go.


Next, decide what dies you have that you would like to use and will fit with the scraps that you have. For example, I had a pile of these hexies in this scrap bin. I could have cut them into something else, but I really want to make another hexie quilt at some point.

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So I got out my hexie die. I also decided that I would like to cut tumblers, 2 inch finished squares, and 2 inch finished HSTs.  So I pulled all of these out. I have an Accuquilt Studio Cutter and that makes this process much easier and faster, but you could use rulers and templates as well.

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I started with the biggest scraps cutting as many hexies as I could. Then I started in on the tumblers because that was the next largest shape I planned to use. I layered my fabric scraps cutting up to 10 tumblers at a time (check with your die cutter manufacturer to know how many layers you can safely cut with your machine). When I could cut no more, I moved onto to squares and then the HSTs. I ended up with scraps that were still too big for me to throw away so I cut  1 1/2 inch finished HSTs as well.

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When I was all done, these were the scraps that I ended up tossing out.

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And here are my neat little piles of scraps all ready to go. Isn’t that ever so much better?

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I also had some small strips leftover that didn’t fit any of the dies I had pulled out. I could have placed them on one of my strip dies to cut uniform strips. But  I had another idea in mind.

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I started randomly sewing these strips together like this. 

Then I pulled out another die, 3 x 6 inch finished this time.  I cut my random bits into uniform rectangles like this. 


These pieces have so many design possibilities.

As I create more scraps, I will add to these piles. Or I could make a mini or bag with what I have cut so far.

The big thing to keep in mind, is to to choose shapes and sizes that you know you will use. I can think of MANY patterns using these squares and HSTs that I would make.

Start with the biggest die you have chosen and work down to the smaller dies.

Don’t save something you won’t use anyway. There  is nothing virtuous about saving scraps that you won’t use!

I hope you all found this helpful. I know I have a few buckets of scraps I need to tackle again soon. By the way, if you are interested in the Accuquilt studio cutter, they are on sale from now until February 24th. Studio dies are also on sale, buy one get one free with the code STUDIOBOGO. This deal also ends the 24th. If you click on my links and then make a purchase, it won’t cost you any more, but I receive a small commission which helps cover the costs of the blog. I appreciate your support!

Have a great day!

About katyquilts

I am a wife, mom of four amazing adult kids, and a former librarian. I love making everything from traditional quilts to art quilts. I am thankful to God my Father and Creator for the gift of creativity!
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3 Responses to Scrap Management

  1. Marguerite Auger says:

    Thanks for sharing this scrap using method. Plus another incentive for Acuquilt.

  2. anudge says:

    Glad you reposted this. While I don’t have a Go now, it will come in handy using up scraps more effieciently.

  3. All quilters can use ideas on scraps and fabric management generally. Thank you for sharing.

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