Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Middling Scraps


I’ve been MIA recently due to a manoeuvring of IT throughout the house and it took a bit of time time to get me back online. The upshot of this technical wireless re-wiring is that I now have an online computer in the sewing room – benefits include keeping an eye on you lot more intently and being able to watch online workshops, Craftsy classes , YouTube etc while I’m actually doing the task; also fabric shopping, perusing patterns, adding links, bookmarks and on and on. However, re-organising my iTunes library, adding to it and good old general time wasting activities go in the disadvantages list. In fact, by the end of day one I asked for the computer to taken out of the sewing room as I had actually gone in to hem some trousers that in the end didn’t get done! Anyway, living in a rather small house, the ‘old’ computer has remained in my sewing room and it’s now up to my self-discipline to surf and sew at the same time.

Where is your computer? Does it interferre with your sewing?

I’d like to thank you all for your comments and suggestions for using up small scraps of fabric. I’d like to include Enchanted by Sewing’s list. It’s comprehensive and very, very useful. Thanks L.R. Shimer and to all of you who gave some good ideas.

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

I’d also like to direct you to Sew2Pro’s Post modern Srunchie.

Back to the task in hand – using up slightly larger scraps – mostly long lengths that remain after cutting a pattern on the fold and you’re left with the long selvedge edges. too long to throw out but too narrow to do good anything useful with….read on.

First up – the Obi belt.

Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8

Next, creating bias binding. Usually this is cut in 2″ strips at 45 degrees to the edge and uses up oodles of fabric. While this method is perfectly acceptable and I use it myself often, the following method needs less volume of fabric and can make bias from squares.

The pattern piece is from a Vogue pattern. Cut the shape and sew the ends together, offset by 2″. Cut the loop on the bias in 2″ strips.


Finally for today, the infinity scarf

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Next time, the larger scraps – what to do with those?

In the meantime…have fun… waste time… sew…sew…sew…    and of course… all suggestions welcome…..

14 thoughts on “Middling Scraps

  1. I went round the shops today and they’re full of spring-friendly soft jersey infinity scarves but what I would really like to make is an Obi to wear with a darker dress like on this pin here so thanks for the instructions

    Also, thanks for linking to Scrunchie 🙂

  2. I went round the shops this week too and it’s all pastels, with a bit of good old navy & white thrown in. My pleasure Marianna.

  3. Excellent ideas, can’t bear to throw even scraps away I have visions of me wearing patchwork clothing in the future! Love the obi belt. I haven’t got IT in my craft room – too distracting. I use the ipad if I need to watch a Craftsy tutorial or something but otherwise it’s me and the radio, singing away. This has the added advantage of keeping any interuptions at bay – I’m a terrible singer! 🙂

    • Don’t knock it Jacq – I have a patchwork coat, dress and handbag – gosh I sound like I come from the Great Depression!!! LOL And sing out loud, you can’t be as bad as me.

  4. Hi Ruth,

    Loving the posts.
    Your question about the computer in the sewing room. Yes, I do get distracted some days and end up spending more time on the computer than actually sewing and I promise myself I wont!! Mind you it is a double edged sword isn’t it. The pro side is if I have a query sewing related, I can check out a technique online……………but that then leads on to me looking into it more and more and putting off the time of actually sewing and doing it!

    Swings and roundabouts……LOL

  5. Great tutorial on the middling scraps. I cannot say enough about how totally fantastic your capsule wardrobe looks. It looks amazing. You have me looking at animal prints and whatnot on line. Now I just have to find time to get sewing!

    • Time to sew? Not internetting?

      • Hard for me to sew when my sewing machine and the other equipment is 6,000 miles away. I have been known to take fabric, scissors and pins with me and sew when I return home. But I find that frustrating because my work schedule is usually 12 hours, 6 days a week. I keep saying I need a more normal job. But so far, I haven’t found one that works for me yet. 😦

  6. So funny! My computers are downstairs from the sewing loft, but since two are laptops and one an IPad (only my Imac stays put), I can take one up for sewing classes etc. while I am at the machine. Which is really nice. A lot of computers! but my degree and career were in computer science. Just seem to collect them 🙂 Love the scraps discussion. Obi belts are great, look so good and feel great. And bindings – I keep lots of scraps just for seam bindings and fun contrast waistbands.

  7. Hi Ruth, i sew in the attic and the wifi doesn’t reach that far. It’s a bit annoying when i want to watch a video or search for help right when i’m in the middle of something, but given my propensity to daydream i think this is for the best, or i would get no sewing done at all. And thanks for the obi belt instructions. I just made a pleather skirt and have a scrap left over that is begging to become a belt. It will be perfect to turn the skirt into a high waist style. You are already extending my wardrobe 🙂

  8. Pingback: 2 Piece Leftover Skirt | corecouture

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