How to organize fabric scraps

How To Organize Fabric Scraps?

If you are a sewist or quilter, you will have a lot of fabric scraps. You can try to store them in an organized manner. Some sewers only keep the larger pieces, while others choose to save the tiniest piece. There are some problems that sewers face when they try to organize the fabric scraps, although there are ways to store them. You can organize your fabrics by color, type of fabric, or use for a project. It will all depend on what you have and what is practical for the area they are stored in. Quilters, sewing, and crafty people love scraps because scraps have a lot of potential. Anyone with cutting and using fabric scraps knows that they can do a lot with scraps. Organization for scraps is a crucial part to work with them. The main goal of scrap fabric organization is to have access. In this article, we will discuss how you can sort and organize your fabric scraps.

Key Takeaways

  • In this article, we have gone through how you can sort and organize your fabric scraps.
  • We have also discussed some tips for scrap saving.
  • We have also discussed how to store fabric scraps.

Preparing the Scraps for Organizing

1. Gather your scraps

Gather your scraps
Gather your scraps

If you want to do a thorough job of organizing, get out your baskets, bins, Ziploc bags, etc., that you have been using to keep away these scraps. You should find all your scraps and bring them together in one workspace.

2. Trim


Sometimes you keep things because you are used to doing this. You can reevaluate your scraps as you organize. You should keep only what you like. You can make a pile for donation or you can throw it away. If you cannot use any scraps, throw them away. If you are not doing patchwork with cotton which is not for quilting, keep aside other substrates of fabrics, such as voile, flannel, etc. For example, if you have a lot of fabric substrates, you can store them separately for an all-voile scrap quilt. If your scraps have curves and angles, they will confuse our brains.

You can trim your scraps as you want them so that you will be able to use them at the earliest opportunity. For example, you might trim a diamond or triangle scrap into a rectangle. You can do dicing and slicing as much as you want to make your scrap presentable and easy to categorize. With proper experience, you will get better at judging what to keep, what to throw out, and when to trim before storing.

3. Ironing the scraps

Ironing the scraps
Ironing the scraps

To finish preparing the scraps, it is important to iron the scraps. This will help keep it as flat as possible and make it quite easy to organize it however you want. Ironing also serves the purpose of keeping the scraps usable as frayed and bent scraps will not be ideal when you are starting out on a new sewing project. You will want the scraps to be in good condition so that they can be reused wherever possible.

Organizing Fabric Scraps

Organizing fabric scraps
Organizing fabric scraps

Once you have the scraps all ready up, it is time to now organize them accordingly. There are many ways that you can do this so let’s take a look at the different ways you can organize your fabric scraps.

1. Color

As you know where your scraps are located or if you have thrown them away or trimmed them, you’re ready to make smart decisions about sorting these little sources. When you have a collection of small scraps, you can start separating your fabrics by warm vs. cool colors. Warm colors are: red, orange, yellow, pink, brown, and white. Cool colors are: blue, green, teal, purple, gray, and black. This can be as simple as two scraps of fabric, side by side.

When you have a collection of large scrap, you can separate the fabrics into individual colors. The number of colors will depend on the size and it will make up your collection. These can be arranged by: Red, Pink, Orange/Peach, Yellow, Green, Blue, Aqua/Teal, Black/White/Gray, brown, and purple. You can try combining black/white/ gray with brown which will be treating all your neutrals as one scrap color category.

2. Sort by designer

If you are a big fan of a specific designer, then you can store all your fabric bits from your designer in one container. When you are finishing up a quilt, it will go so much faster when you are needing one designer’s fabric and they are all in one spot.

3. Project organization

Keep scraps from individual projects to keep them organized. It will be beneficial to keep the scraps for a project separate and if you ever revisit the same type of project then you have scraps all ready for use for the new similar project.

4. Prints

Your scraps will have so many prints, such as stripes, dots, blenders, solids, focal prints, novelty, holiday, etc. You should try to organize your fabric scraps by prints.

5. Type

When you will be organizing your scraps, you don’t need to picture a bin that is full of every random fabric. You can save, sort, and use your fabric scraps in different ways. This will all starts when you are getting to know their types.

  1. Chunks: Chunks are substantial pieces. They can range in size from about an 8” square up to a fat eighth. When you have used more than half of a fat quarter, you will have yourself a chunk of scrap.
  2. Squares: This category will include both squares and rectangles. The recipes for patchwork will begin with 3’’ to 6’’.
  3. Crumbs: Crumbs have a size range from 1’’ to 2.5’’ along the smallest side.
  4. Strings: Chunks, squares, and crumbs comprise three size categories for fabrics which are generally square or rectangular. String scraps are long, thin rectangles that deserve their category. They range from 1’’ wide to about 4’’ wide which has a long, stripy look.

6. Size

You can try to define what a scrap is for you. Every individual has a specific definition, which will depend on the types of projects that you sew and what kind of projects you enjoy. You should also consider the space that is required for your scraps. If you are always working with small pieces and if you are doing small-scale piecework, then you should not throw away even the smallest scraps. Keep the small sizes of scraps that will be needed for your interesting projects. For larger pieces, such as, (9’’ * 21’’), keep them folded, if you think that you can use them. You can keep your tiny scraps and larger pieces that are big enough in a pouch. There is no right or wrong size for scraps to keep or throw away, you just have to work on it.

Scrap Storage Ideas

Scrap storage ideas
Scrap storage ideas

Organizing the scraps according to size and color can be helpful to know which pile has which type of scraps, but it is equally important to store the scraps as well! This helps to keep the scraps stored in a safe condition so that they can be used at a future date. Here are some storage ideas that you can do for your scraps.

1. Folded fabric organizer

For this, fold your fabrics into a thin rectangle and then roll them from end to end with a rubber band around each one. Label each roll. Keep the rolls closer to the front of your storage space.

2. Plastic bottle organizer

You can cut a large plastic bottle, and store your fabric scraps in it. You can put scraps into individual plastic bottles from where they will be visible through the top. So you don’t have to dig through the bins for that piece of fabric, you can easily find it there.

3. Fabric stock cubes or roll-up bins

This method works best when it is organized by color or by the type of fabric used. These cubes are great for storing fabric. They will roll up your fabric to keep it wrinkle–free and neat, it is ready to use when it is pressed for time.

4. Drawer organizer

You can choose the drawer closest to your sewing machine or work area, then deal with that drawer first. You can consider using shoe boxes as stackable drawers. You can use multi-compartment dividers. Adjust them to fit the width and length of your drawer and then separate different types of fabrics by putting dividers in them.

5. Fabric boxes

I use fabric boxes for storing fabrics, they are expensive and they can be bought in “kits” with the fabric box, lid, and a pack of wood wool. Do not use polyester fibers because they are known to strip the dye from dark-colored fabrics. The proper stuffing allows air to circulate.

6. Drawer organizer trays

If you want easy access, it will allow you to see your fabric stack. When you want easy access to the drawer, it is possible to create piles of fabrics, rather than organizing them by color or type.

7. Fabric cutter pouches

You can store your smaller bits of fabric, such as small pieces from old projects or any leftover piece, no matter how small or unusable they may seem. They are portable, which will make them more practical when you are always carrying your sewing projects.

7 Tips for Scrap Saving

Before you start reorganizing your scraps, you should consider a few situations with tips that can help with organizing fabric scraps:

  1. The types of scraps that you use most, such as strips, 2.5’’ squares, 5’’ squares, etc.
  2. For scraps which project you will be working on, such as a completely scrappy or more curated color scheme.
  3. You should have a solution for your scrap storage, you should know if it will work for you or not.
  4. The quilting cotton scraps are in squares, rectangles, or strips with no side that is smaller than 2’’.
  5. Make sure to throw out substrates, selvages, and crumbs.
  6. Make sure to trim circles, triangles, diamonds, or any other shape to simple squares or rectangles.
  7. You can sort by color, when you have enough, you can sort by type.

5 Tips for Unwanted Scraps

You can make a long scrappy pincushion, tiny foundation pieced lined drawstring bag, HST zipper pouch, snack size pincushion, warm cool quilt, etc. There are a lot of things that you can do with unwanted scraps, aside from throwing them away. Here are a few ideas:

  1. You can use the stuffing for a pillow, pincushion, or softie.
  2. You can try giving it to a friend or trade.
  3. You can try selling them.
  4. Donate your scraps to the library/school/community group/neighbors.
  5. Bring to a retreat or your local quilt guild to share.


What is the best way to store fabric scraps?

You can use bins, boxes, and baskets for storing scraps, it can be stored on a bookshelf or other storage unit. When you don’t have room for drawers or baskets, you can keep your scraps in Ziploc bags.

What size should I cut my fabric scraps?

If you want to sort by size, you can start trimming scraps down to the sizes you will use. You can cut your fabrics into 5’’ squares, 2.5’’ squares, 2.5’’ strips, and 1.5’’ squares. Anything which is smaller than 1.5’’ square will go into the trash.

Can you put fabric scraps in recycling?

Garments that can’t be reused and repurposed as new materials, such as insulation, sports equipment filler, and carpet underlay. Fashion brands can benefit from fabric scrap recycling to minimize environmental impact and increase recycling rates.

What is the meaning of fabric scraps?

Generally, a scrap is a leftover piece of fabric that is too small, on its own, to be used in another project by itself.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have discussed the methods of organizing and storing fabric scraps, when your storage system or container starts to get full, you can find a project for those scraps. Fabric scraps can be organized by color, prints, size, project, type, etc. They can be stored in fabric boxes, drawer closets, fabric pouches, etc. Generally, fabric scraps could make beautiful quilts, pincushions, zipper pouches, etc. When you can recognize the endless possibilities that you can do with fabric scraps, you will be able to use them in the best possible way.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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