Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's all about the SCRAP!

There are a couple of things to contemplate about quilting. I have heard people lament that it is an expensive hobby. Yes it can be (especially if you buy and buy and never make anything). I have heard people say that THEY do not need any more bed quilts, they love to sew, but don't want to make a new quilt  because who will they give it to.

And my personal beef - REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!

This whole business started with Maria!  She wanted the sewing groups to save her scraps because she was making a dog bed for her daughter's BIG dog - DODGE. A bull mastiff. So we all dutifully saved her scraps until she said NO MORE.

But we were on a roll so I decided that I would collect the scraps and we would make pet mats out of them. Here is a quick and dirty tutorial on making the pet mats and then I will get into my beef!


I start with purchased pillow cases. They cost $1 at Value Village and on half off day - you can obviously get them cheaper. Make sure you check the quality of them. I try to get the heavier cotton solid-coloured ones. I ended up with a solid one that was very thin fabric. It is being redonated back to the store. 

Pillow case
 I started by pressing a crease down the center of the pillow case and folded it in thirds the other way and pressed those creases as well. These are sewing marks for those that don't want to just wing it.

Creases separate the pillow case into SIX sections

Fabric scraps (more on that in a minute)

Sew a seam right down the center of the pillow case creating two sections

Stuff scraps into the bottom of EACH of the two sections to just short of that first crease line

I shoved all the scraps tight down past the crease line. Then stitched it. Then repeated that process until all SIX sections were filled and then just sewed the edge of the pillow case closed.

Puffy pet mat. Takes no time to make!!!!

What is a SCRAP?

Well after collecting scraps for a couple of weeks, it was time to make the pet mats and when I started to go through the bags - well that was a bit of an eye opener!!!!

This is what I call a scrap

I have a little basket on my cutting table and I filled it several times yesterday. When it is full, I used to put it in the garbage. When we started to collect scraps, I put them in a plastic bag to deal with later. NOW - I will have a pillow case prepped so I can empty my basket into the pillow case!!!  Now that is saving time!!!!

As I was filling the pillow case yesterday, I went through a couple of bags of scraps that I had brought home from the sewing groups.

I emptied the bag on the table - YIKES!!!!
 There is a lot in here that I would NOT call scraps. But I don't have loads of time.
I quickly separated the big pieces from the little ones.

Big scraps (mostly batting) and little scraps

Found a pin! - OUCH!!!!

I took the bigger pieces of batting which normally I would have saved, but there was so much fabric scraps attached, I  didn't want to take the time to clean them up.  I felt these scraps were too big to be comfy in the pet mat. 
 So - I got out the scissors and rotary cutter and chopped them into bits. It was easy, fast and therapeutic

In the next bag - the batting scraps were even bigger!!!!    
I pulled the fabric off the batting, chopped up the batting and kept the fabric strips
Next bag was all little scraps - OH yes - that is MY bag

Fabric "scraps" that were going to be thrown out

Most "throw away" scraps

So far - this is what I have collected for fabric

Now - I know this is not for everyone, but I LOVE scrap quilts. They are fun - they take lots of time, they cost practically nothing especially if you get scraps from those that don't want them. So if you think quilting is an expensive hobby and no need for another bed quilt, but love to sew - why not make scrap quilts for community projects.  You could sew for the rest of your life and NEVER run out of stuff to sew. Costs nothing but thread!!!!

Here is a scrap quilt that I had on the go a while back - while I was waiting for my computer to be fixed - more on that another day - I got all these blocks trimmed

Found TWO blocks that needed the corner sewn on
See what tiny scraps I used to finish off the block
Now there are 80 blocks ready to be sewn into a lap sized quilt
And that is why my scrap basket got filled several times last night

I still have these bags of scraps to go through!!!!!

 My family needs some education in the garbage department. We have to choose the cart size that we are going to use next year. I am getting a BIG recycling cart and a SMALL cart for garbage. Even though pickup is going to every other week - so one week is recycling, one week is garbage. I want my family to take control of their garbage - they MUST learn to recycle and we need to learn to reduce, reuse or recycle. It is as simple as that. I hope that other families will take the same tact. If we don't - we are going to run into trouble.

New (to us) garbage carts

I won't go into details now, but let's just say that my scanner/printer is fixed at last and so I can finally share that Bonnie Hunter article with you. Actually fits right in with today's theme since the article mentions her methods for being a green quilter.   Oh shoot - I saved it as a .PDF and now I see that I can't download a .PDF to this blog format!   Let me try one more time with that.

As you have seen above - I need to educate the sewing group as well. What is considered a scrap and what is still usable. I will get them all converted (hopefully)

On that note - I am late and need to get to the long arm.

Have a great day!!!!



  1. love your article/tutorial - never thought of using pillow cases - great idea!

    1. klh - I know - I wish I could say it was my idea about the pillow cases. Have fun making the pet mats! I now have an order for 100 of them!

  2. A very good article - I have done the same thing except I didn't make dog bags, but miniature quilts, paper pieced greeting cards, table runners, coffee cozies and pot holders. Whatever takes my fancy,

    1. What a great way to use up scraps. Yes - it is amazing what you can make for free! I am just amazed at what people throw out! The pioneer in me just won't let those scraps go unless there is a good use for them. I got that from my Mom! Send me some pictures - I'd love to see what you've made

  3. Enjoyed visiting your blog. There's a lot of like minded quilters out there. My favorite read to the kids years back was 'Something From Nothing' & making from that gives me shear pleasure. Thanks for sharing your positive, forward moving thoughts!

    1. Kyrotime - yes making something from nothing is just the best. Anyone can make stuff from yardage - creativity kicks in when you make stuff from nothing. Enjoy!!!

    2. Kyrotime - yes making something from nothing is just the best. Anyone can make stuff from yardage - creativity kicks in when you make stuff from nothing. Enjoy!!!