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Processing Scraps so you’ll use them!

Up until recently I had never processed my scraps. I didn’t think it was necessary for me since I don’t consider myself a “scrappy” quilter. I use a toy organizer stand to keep my scraps organized by color, and to have easy access to them. What I found though was I was always putting scraps in and never really taking them away. Processing them changed that.

Here’s how you can make your scraps work for you!


Start by sorting by color. This was already accomplished for me since I was using my toy organizer. If at all possible you’ll want a separate bin per color, but if you have a small amount of two colors, feel free to combine. I found I didn’t have much gray and black so together they went!

Prints VS Solids

Once your scraps have been sorted by color, then you’ll continue sorting but this time by solids and prints. At this stage I liked to put my color bin on my ironing board and press while sorting.


While sorting prints and solids, I am also sorting by size. Typically this meant for me long strips, short strips, larger squares and then pieces I would consider closer to yardage. Press the yardage pieces and fold nicely and put them aside. I knew I would be cutting either 4.5” squares or 2.5” squares so knowing this aided in my sorting.


I chose to cut either 4.5” squares, and if that didn’t work then 2.5” squares. Anything else I scrapped. (Get it LOL!) Consider what you like to use when cutting. If it’s 2.5” strips then do that. If it’s 5” and 3” squares, go for it. The whole point is to entice you to use these beautiful pieces of fabric so cut what size you will actually use.

Scraps of Scraps

So what do you do with the scraps of the scraps? There are a few options: You can save them and use them as stuffing for pillow projects and such. Reach out to a fellow quilter and see if they would enjoy them. And depending on where you live you might be able to compost them. Cool right!? To compost scraps, they will need to be shredded into teeny tiny slivers. Check with your city’s bylaws to see if this is a possibility. Otherwise, if none of these are options, they’ll have to be thrown out.

Use them!

With your scraps having been processed, you now have this amazing stock of precuts! What will you make? I have two or three projects in mind and I can’t wait to get started. 

Keep it Up

The trick to processing is to keep it up. Moving forward I will be throwing my unprocessed scraps into a bin and I’ll be processing them once a week to keep up. Before undergoing this whole adventure I found that the mess of my so-called organized scraps gave me anxiety. Now I can’t stop adoring what feels like my very own little storefront. 

I hope you found this helpful! Will you be processing your scraps? Tell me about it in the comments.

Until next time,

Keep it Quilty


24 Responses

  1. Love this!

    You can also recycle the unusable pieces! I use a service where I buy a postage-paid and labeled bag and just mail it back when it’s full (up to 5 lbs). They take most kinds of fabric, even things like clean household rags and old underwear, and turn it into usuable things.

    1. I use the Retold bags all the time, yes it’s expensive, but when I can’t use those little tiny pieces in my mini quilts, in to the Retold bag they go!

  2. We keep a pillow case handy for Our quilting ladies to put scraps and jibbles of fabric and batting in. Once the pillowcase is full, we sew across the cuff several times and donate the new doggie bed to our local shelter!

    1. I love this idea! I’ve been wanting to make dog beds since I heard Brenda of Conquering Mount Scrapmore YouTube channel talk about using the unusable for stuff dog beds, but I couldn’t think of an easy handy way to do it. THIS is the easiest ever, and not expensive if I find good used pillow cases at the thrift store! Thank you so much for sharing that idea.

  3. How big are the bins? I looked up and found what I think is the same toy box you have but it doesn’t give bin sizes

  4. I have bins by color, but had not thought of separating prints from solids. Good idea! I’ve decided to try cutting my scraps into usable pieces as I use each fabric and if I find I never touch certain scraps, I’ll donate them. I’ve also always wanted to make a postage stamp quilt, so maybe I’ll cut one tiny square of each fabric and save in a separate container.

  5. I’m currently working through scrap bags from a recently deceased neighbor. I already donated half of her yardages that I wouldn’t use . I kept all of her scraps to incorporate into my quilt as you go crazy quilt.

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