Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Wee Scraps…


Here are some ideas to use up those extra bits of fabric – we call it ‘material’ in Ireland. I realised that I have many uses for scraps from the smallest to larger bits so I’ve had to split the posts otherwise you would have still been reading this single one by next Tuesday.

Narrow strips

If you have Β£125 to spend on a strip of silk fabric that wraps around your wrist or holds your ponytail in place then you don’t need to make a twilly! If however, you don’t have that kind of money but do have thin scraps of fabric left over from a project, then you can make a matching piece of fabric jewellery; a handbag or hair accessory; or tie it just about anywhere you like. And you got it practically free!

hermestwilly images-2images-1



Materials needed:

Two pieces of 3″ X 33″ (8 X 100 cm) (Hermes twilly size) or as close as you can get from your scraps.

Sew the two strips right sides together with 1/2″ (0.8mm) seam allowances


This is a useful way to use the edge of fabric where you have cut the pieces on the folded edge. And of course, you don’t have to point the ends – you can leave them square.

Can also be used as watch straps too. All you need is a watch with bars. Thread your twilly through the bars; wrap around your wrist 3 or 4 times; tie off and tuck the ends in.


Twilly made from animal print jersey, so Β just a strip of fabric, no sewing as there’s no fraying – how easy is that?


Watch strap/twilly made from iguana: folded strip of fabric sewn and turned. Ends sewn closed

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Narrow twilly to match V1247 top fastened with snaps.




Even if you don’t have enough scraps for a fully fledged twilly, you can take the other option and wrap uneven, short scraps around cheap bangles.

Holding the end, start the wrapping making sure the strips don’t unravel. Continue wrapping all the way around the bangle, overlapping the start point. Secure the finish with hand stitches or even glue.
Works best with an unfraying fabric. If your fabric is prone to fraying, just press one edge under and keep this folded edge uppermost during the wrapping. Tuck the final edge under too for extra neatness.
However, a fraying tweed or boucle might just look great with the threads loose.
The Button belt
Measure your waist (over the dress or garment) and add 3-4″ (8-10cm).
Cut two strips the depth of your desired belt plus seam allowances; OR, one strip, doubled and folded. This would usually be 2″ (5cm) for a narrow belt.
One strip of robust interfacing, or two strips of lighter weight interfacing. If you are using fusible, this is also a great way to use up all the odd shaped scraps of interfacing. Just iron them on, overlapping the edges and trim the excess off.
Two buttons.
The real benefit of this type of belt is that you start off wearing it at the tightest fit and as the day wears on you can move the opening to the second, looser button and still be accessorised! It also requires no buckle or fancy haberdashery – just some spare buttons.
More than a Dress Beam Me Up, Scotty!
Of course the easiest belt is a again a folded strip of fabric (I don’t even interface this) with a thread through buckle. Can be tightened or loosened at will. And I often just tuck the loose end into the belt.
I always think that this finishes off an outfit and only takes 30 mins to do.
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Then you have the daddy of all belts – the obi – for another day me thinks……
Until then, here’s a few other ideas to use up the smallest bits of fabric…….
Covered buttons, shirt facings, waistband facings and bias binding, pocket handkerchief, cut into shapes and appliqued onto skirts, underwear and pockets.
Denim Petals Prerogative Deutsches Safari
For bound button holes and trims
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Go here for an early tutorial to make a faux fur scarf, hat and boot trims – leftovers from a Paco Peralta jacket.
I hope this has given you some ideas and maybe inspired you to use your scraps instead of throwing them out. Next time, the obi belt tutorial, bias binding and other things to do with small – medium scraps.
Thornberry makes necklaces.
Beth keeps selvedge edges as stabilisers.
Please share in the comments section what you do with scraps so we can add to the list of inspirational stuff to make from scraps. Thanks a lot.

20 thoughts on “Wee Scraps…

  1. Great use of scraps and lots of great ideas!! Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. My family calls it ‘material’ too! My parents are U.S. mid-westerners and of course, way back, lots of Irish ancestors. We said we were going out to the “Material Store”. I always remember what Petula Clark replied to Fred Astaire in “Finnian’s Rainbow” when he asked her how she thought America was different from Ireland…..”More Irishmen?” she answered.

    I don’t know if that’s why I still say ‘material’, or it’s simply been superseded by ‘fabric’ in the U.S.

    I just know I have more of it than is really practical, and somehow I keep acquiring more πŸ™‚

    I loved your belts and am also partial to the adding trims and edges to shirts. I’m a big fan of Liberty’s Tana Lawn, and recently finished a shirt that was primarily gingham, but was trimmed up in Tanna Lawn cuffs, front placket/facing, and color. I keep meaning to do that under neckline bias strip thing too.

  3. Forgot to add what I do with scraps
    1) I *also* use selvage edges for stabilizer – when I remember to do that
    2) When I have leftover long strips of things, I hang them over a hook by my machine and use them – raw edges and all – as a) impromptu hair ties b) twist them in twos or braid them in threes- for deconstructed trimmings for tee shirt necklines. c) plain or twisted together, they make nice gift ties in place of ribbon
    3) I use them for sample sewing. That’s too obvious, right?
    4) I’m starting to use them for scrapbooking – tiny dresses for paper dolls, backgrounds for pictures. I’m not sure this counts – it’s not sewing.
    5) I make patch pockets out of them when they are particularly pretty.
    6) I cover buttons with real scraps. Those kind of buttons that come in a little kit and are designed to be covered. (Also I use pieces of antique/vintage embroidered napkins that are partly spoiled but have a little embroidery left)
    7) I make small purses that are almost like hanging pockets, for my cell phone and keys. Especially nice for walking and biking. I like the free buttercup purse pattern out on the way by Made-By-Rae. (I also upsize it for bigger purses)
    8) Fabric flowers
    9) Applique
    10) Buttonhole facing squares. How do you describe that? Sew it down and pull it through to the back. Has to be the right kind of material. I also use grosgrain ribbon for that. Spanish Snap buttonholes those are called.
    11) As a diamond or square around a buttonhole. Like an embellishment


  4. This is such a fun post. Thank you for taking the time to go through how to make everything. Await the next instalment

  5. Of course it’s material. Lots of great ideas to use your bits here – you are clearly a very thrifty dressmaker πŸ™‚

  6. I love seeing the pretty details from your sewing! I keep saving my scraps but haven’t put them to much good use yet.

  7. Your inventiveness always astounds me. I, on the other hand, have the proverbial “stash full of nothing to sew”, lol πŸ™‚

  8. It took me ages to say fabric instead of material and now there’s a backlash??!

    I really really wish I could make myself throw away scraps as they take up so much space and look a mess, and I’ll never get to use them, though now there’re more reasons to keep 😯

  9. Funny how words change and how it can make you seem like an “old fashioned thing”. Material is a what I always used- not now, its fabric. I used to say I was going to the pictures – not now, its going to see a film or going to the cinema. I always laugh with a friend when she insists on calling a dress, a frock.

    • Oh Sheree! How you’ve made me laugh – I deliberately call things by their ‘old-fashioned’ names just for badness really. Mobile TELEphones, pictures (of course, for the movies) , wool for knitting yarn, no matter what’s it’s actually made from. I think we should keep these word in circulation – more use of old-fashioned words please!

  10. Pingback: Middling Scraps | corecouture

  11. One can make beads out of very small scraps, too. One such tutorial – – but there are many others.

  12. Pingback: SWAP A1 (again) & B2 | corecouture

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