Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Big Scraps


The final instalment of what to do with scraps continues here.

By big scraps I mean lengths that are about 0.5m or 1/2 yd – that sort of length that is too big to throw away but apparently too small to make anything of substance from. Read on…..

About a year ago, I cleaned out my fabric box, and while I don’t have a stash, the lid wouldn’t close as the box was full of these big scraps. So first things first, get yourself a sleeveless blouse pattern. Let me recommend the following, though by no means is this an exhaustive list and would welcome your own contributions.

1. Paco Peralta – Draped top  – some of my versions here


2. McCalls 6078 – draped T-shirt


3. Kwik Sew 3782 – sleeveless version, shorten the ties and don’t cut them on the bias – sorry OOP


5. Sorbretto – free download here


6. Vogue 8504 – camisole top


Now I know the pattern envelope says you need 1m of fabric but in reality each of these patterns can be made with 1/2-3/4 m or yard. Any camisole, plain sleeveless top or simple capped sleeve top usually works but you may have to mix the fabric grains and experiment with pattern placement. If the pattern calls for a bias cut – ignore that and place the pattern on the straight of grain. Obviously knits are best for close fitting tops but I have had success with wovens using the patterns listed above. Fold your fabric in quarters like this to maximise the fold edges for the front and back pieces. Even if you don’t have enough fabric for folding, add a centre seam to the back – just remember to add some seam allowances!Slide1

Alternatively, use the big scraps as part of another garment. I cannot claim ownership of the following ideas but here are some lovely and inspirational examples from skilled and creative sewists:

Contrasting sleeves on a dress like Angela’s or a T-shirt


Contrasting bodice on a dress like Pauline’s – super look and Coco Chanel did this so that the dress looked like a skirt and blouse using different fabrics.

Some patterns are just made to use up of scraps:

Vogue 8817 used in the T-shirts above and the tunic below.


And failing all this –  you can sew for others! Children’s clothes are just the perfect size for all our big people’s leftovers!


17 thoughts on “Big Scraps

  1. A timely post for me as I have all my pieces like this stuffed in a cloth bin stored under my extra sewing machine. That bin is getting full and I need some tops for spring/summer, so I need to see what fabrics I can pull together. And thanks for the shout out;)

  2. What a cute black and white tunic…love the patterns and stripes and the drapey back. Another use for 1/2 yard scraps is throw pillows if you don’t want to wear them. Those remnants can also be made into shoe covers for traveling. Thanks for sharing ideas and photos…we need them!

  3. Oooh! I do like your draped neck tops – especially the Paco Peralta one – I am getting a bit ‘Sorbetto’d’ out, so I think O may have to try this look! And I lurve the black and white tunic – the mix of fabrics is lovely!

  4. I love the parallel lines top! It certainly doesn’t look like it’s made from leftovers.

    It’s very exciting to be able to create something out of almost nothing. I’ve made basic skirts out of 0.5m it’s not something I’d recommend if you have long legs unless you really want a micro mini.

  5. I love your Vogue 8817 tunic – just flat out fabulous!
    Some great ideas here.

  6. Wow, you are truly the queen of resourceful sewing!!!

  7. I’m loving the kwik sew 3782 bow tie blouse! Read all your posts/versions the other night. I had picked this up some time ago (thank goodness!) and just this week became obsessed with making bow tie blouses!!

  8. Pingback: SWAP Set 1 | corecouture

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