Monday, November 9, 2009


My sewing area has been a disaster for far too long (as in months and months and months). It's not much fun to sew wedged in a tiny corner of your sewing table by a mountain of fabric and other sewing accoutrements. With holiday sewing fast approaching and a bunch of unlistened-to This American Life podcasts, I decided to tackle the big project I'd been avoiding.

While I haven't bought much fabric in the past year, I have accumulated more and more small pieces of fabric. I think is is because I've begun quite a few quilt tops on a whim, all of which are still in progress. What used to be mostly fat quarters or half yards, is now a huge pile of pieces too big for the scrap box but too small to be folded neatly on a shelf. I decided I need to scrap (ha!) my current scrap system - one plastic bin for warm colors and one for cool colors stored on the shelf next to my sewing machine - and expand my definition of scrap. I cleared out most of the plastic filing drawers I use to store materials and current projects, which gave me three small drawers and one large drawer to work with. The large drawer is now for large scraps, and the three smaller drawers are for small warm scraps, small cool scraps, and tiny and irregular scraps. Most of the tiny scraps are just about useless, but I hate to throw them away and I know there are some nifty ideas like this one for using up tiny scraps which I'll probably attempt in the future. Even though I am usually not this way, I decided to label the drawers with the label maker we use at the office. Now that my scraps are reorganized and labeled, and the filing drawers are under my sewing table away from the little hands which like to open them up and dump them onto the floor, I feel like I have gotten somewhere with this reorganization project.

The last thing I don't really know what to do with is my paper bag filled with thread waste, and selvedges, and any kind of scrap that is just two narrow to sew into patchwork. It seems like I could stuff something with all this waste, but I'm afraid a pillow or softie or whatever I made would end up really lumpy. So tell me, do you hold on to this stuff? What do you do with it? Am I a crazy, frugal woman for holding onto it? Should I just chuck it into the nearest trash can?