Quilt Scrap Organization

Quilt Scrap Organization

24th Feb 2022

I joined the team at Cotton Cuts as a Fabric Enthusiast almost three years ago but my love for fabrics started many years ago in high school. Like many quilters, I love everything about fabric! I like to use every bit of the fabric which leads to bins of smaller pieces just waiting for the right opportunity. As my collection grows so does my desire to keep it under control and available to use for a variety of projects. I will share some ideas I found as I researched fabric organization.

I think most quilters have some kind of bin to keep the fabric scraps in as you are working on a project. Depending on your sewing activity it may be helpful to set aside 15 to 30 minutes each week to keep the scraps under control by sorting, cutting and storing the fabric. This will help keep the task manageable so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Once the bin is full it is a good idea to decide on a sorting system. This article from American Patchwork & Quilting details some great ideas on storing your fabric. You could sort by color, fabric collection, prints, solids, batiks or low volume as just a few ideas. The most common is to sort by color, but take into consideration what works best for your storage space and how you plan to use the fabric in the future. I think a clear or mesh bin system would work the best so you can easily see and identify the fabric scraps.

It is a good idea to sort by size, large pieces could be cut into fat eighths at 10” x 22”. Then work your way down in size, sorting the fabric pieces into piles that you can cut squares or strips that are 10”, 5”, 3”, and 2.5”.  If you want to keep scrap organization at the most basic level you could cut only 2.5” strips and follow this tutorial from Jordan Fabrics to make an easy quilt. Many people keep the pieces less than 2.5” to use for art/collage quilting or for string quilting. 

HollyAnne Knight from String & Story has a great description of how she manages her collection with links to more resources. I have been following HollyAnne on Instagram@stringandstory for a while and she has so many wonderful tutorials on all different aspects of quilting.

Bonnie Hunter is one of the most well known scrap quilters with an amazing plan of organizing and using fabric scraps. I first learned about Bonnie from our Chief Fabric Enthusiast, Kim Moos when she started working on her own Bonnie Hunter quilt. I was amazed to see so many small pieces in a great variety of fabrics come together.

Bonnie has written many informative blogs like this Scrap Users System and another describing how she uses her scraps as Leaders and Enders to sew a quilt. Bonnie's work is focused on quilts made from scrap fabric and she shares some free patterns on her website

Bonnie is an accomplished pattern designer and has written several books like this one  Adventures with Leaders & Enders. Her system will help you set up a plan from organizing to sewing a complete quilt all made from your beautiful scrap collection. She also writes a regular column in Quiltmaker Magazine and she was recently interviewed on the magazine’s Quilt and Tell Podcast. For some free block patterns check out Quilting Daily website where you will also find inspiration and quilting tutorials.

I hope this information will help guide you to find new uses for all the wonderful scraps in your collection. I took on the challenge of using 1.5” WOF strips for this Sweet Treat bag. It was a fun and easy project to use up some scraps.

To go even a little smaller at 1.25” strips I made this colorful Splashed Mini Quilt

Here is a link to the Cotton Cuts Pinterest board with more ideas for storing your scrap fabric. Time to dig into the scrap bin and see what you can sew from your collection!