How to repurpose small bits & scraps of fabric & thread

What can you do with teeny tiny bits of fabric & thread & yarn? 

Have you wondered what to do with those really small scraps that seem worthless?

 

You’re in luck, because this project is going to put them to good use & give those scraps a second life.  You’re welcome :).  

If you use a serger, you definitely have tiny thin scraps of fabric.

 

If you sew ANYTHING, you definitely have little bits of thread that have been cut off your project.

 

And if you knit or crochet, you probably have little bitty pieces of yarn that seem pointless.

 

If you’re not already, save those little bits!  I keep a cute fabric bin on my table near my machine and I put all my little bits of thread & tiny pieces of fabric in it as I work.  Otherwise they end up on the floor and I have to vacuum & sweep more often than I’d like.  Not fun.

 

Can you compost tiny fabric & thread scraps?

If you’re working with all natural fibers, YES!  

 

Cotton, linen, silk, hemp, denim, wool – these are all natural fibers.

 

Avoid blends like bamboo rayon.  Just because bamboo is one of the fibers does NOT mean that fabric is compostable.  So don’t add it to your compost pile. 

 

Can you show me the scrap-busting project already?

Yes, of course! Here’s the project. 

AND I’m going to link to a playlist on YouTube here that shows you a few ways to use your little bits as stuffing in fun projects, so check that out too! 

Cute & easy zipper pouch made with tiny scraps of fabric & thread.

Here’s what you need to make your cute scrappy zipper pouch:

  • Lightweight, semi-transparent fabric like lawn or voile.  You could use gauze or double gauze or tulle.  You want to be able to see through it a bit.  I cut my fabric to 7” x 8” rectangles to pair with a 5” zipper.  
    • You can customize your measurements by adding 2” to the length of the zipper (not the full zipper tape, just the zipper) to get the cut width of the fabric squares (5” zipper means 7” cut width of fabric).  
  • Small scraps – bits of thread, tiny pieces of fabric, long thin strips, bits of ribbon & yarn all work great!
  • 5” zipper (or customize as described)
  • Optional: Binding – I made mine from a long 3” strip of fabric.  It measured at least long enough to wrap around 3 sides of my bag with a couple extra inches.  

Step 1: Sew fabric rectangles/squares together

  • Place 2 rectangles right sides together (if your fabric has a right side).
  • Sew around all 4 sides but leave an opening of about 3-4” on one side.
  • Repeat with the other 2 pieces of fabric.
  • Trim the excess fabric off the corners & turn the pieces right sides out.

Step 2: Add stuffing & sew closed. 

  • Stuff each of the pouches you made in step 1 with colorful bits of thread & fabric, yarn, and/or ribbon.
  • You want the pouches to be about ½” thick when they’re full – do NOT overstuff them.  They should still be pliable in your hands, not too hard & stiff.
  • Sew the openings closed with about ⅛” seam allowance, making sure that the raw edges are folded in & aligned.
  • Put your stitch length on its highest length & sew quilting lines across each of the panels.  I chose to sew diagonal lines from one corner down to the other.  You can sew any pattern you like.

Step 3: Attach panels to the zipper

  • Pick a side on each piece to be the outside.
  • Place the short side of the outer layer right side down on the top side of the zipper (right side of zipper on right side of fabric). Pin in place.
  • Place the short side of the other outer layer right side down onto the other side of the zipper tape & pin it in place
  • With a zipper foot, sew the panels onto the zipper.
  • Flip the bag upside down, so you’re looking at the back side of the zipper, and sew the outer edges of the zipper tape onto the panels.  This will keep your zipper tape from flopping around and gives a topstitched look to the bag too.

Step 4: Sew panels together.

  • Open your zipper about half way.  
  • Bring the outer layers of your bag together so that you’re looking at the inside of your bag.
  • Pin along 3 sides, starting with each end of the zipper.  Make sure that the zipper tape is pointing up, not down through your outer layers.
  • Add an optional tag or loop if you like between the outer layers.
  • Sew the 3 sides with about ½” seam allowance  

Step 5: (optional) Trim edges & add binding

  • If you’d like to straighten up the edges of the inside of the bag, trim the unevenness down to ¼” or less.
  • Iron your binding (3” strip) in half lengthwise so it’s now 1.5” wide x about 30” long.
  • Clip the binding onto 1 side of the bag.
  • Sew the binding onto the bag, starting about ½” away from the top edge (away from the zipper), with a ¼” seam allowance (trying to sew on your original bag seam if you can).
    • When you get near a corner, stop ¼” away from the corner & pivot the bag & sew diagonally towards the corner & right off the fabric.
    • Then fold the binding up so that the folded edge is touching & level with the side you just completed. 
    • Start sewing about ¼” away from the corner.
    • Continue around the next corner & sew in the same way.
    • Stop about ½” away from the other end of the zipper.
  • Fold the binding over the ends of the zipper.  You can trim any extra binding down so you only have about ½” of binding to work with to fold over.
    • Clip it in place on both sides of the zipper.
  • Fold the binding around the raw edge & clip in place.  Make sure to fold the corners neatly.  
  • Sew the binding in place by sewing right next to the folded edge of the binding on the top side.  Make sure it’s catching the binding on the back side as well.

Step 5: Finish up!

  • Trim loose threads & turn the bag right side out.
  • Trim loose threads on the outside of the bag & you’re all done! 

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