Scrap Organization Tips & Tricks

As creative types, we’re generally resourceful and have a knack of pulling odd bits of materials together to create something ostensibly out of nothing. Quilters especially are known for their stashes of fabric, and some, like me, save literally every inch of fabric with the intension of using them in one project, or another. A Postage Stamp quilt, for example, is comprised of 1″ finished squares. Below is a photo of a quilt I made for my eldest sister’s 50th birthday using 1.5″ squares which finish at 1″ to mimic cross-stitching done by hand, which she does so beautifully. It’s a King size quilt, so that’s a lot of scraps!

Using up my scraps is my bid for immortality as I need to live several lifetimes in order to clean out my stash, lol! Saving things isn’t a problem so long as you have a place to put them. Organizing those scraps can be a challenge and you need a system which works best for you. Here’s a few tips how I store my scraps.

Shallow drawers are the key to finding anything quickly. How many of us have that mysterious, seemingly bottomless pit of a drawer in the kitchen, or home office where all the odd bits of stuff gets dumped, yet you can never find an item when you need it? Shallow drawers let you organize everything so it doesn’t get lost under a mountain of other clutter.

Ikea “Helmer” drawer units labeled with various sizes of strips and squares for easy access

I LOVE these metal drawer units from Ikea, especially since they’re red, which is my favourite colour, and, as you know, is Janome’s colour, too. They are ideal for storing scraps as each drawer is labeled with it’s contents, so I can find what I need in a flash. The less time you spend looking for something means the more time you have to create!

After I finish cutting out a quilt, tote bag, or garment, I take a little extra time and cut the remaining fabric into commonly used strips and squares. One drawer is 6″ squares, another is 5″ squares, another is 1.5″ squares which is the smallest measurement I save. They’re perfect for that Postage Stamp quilt! Anything smaller gets tossed into a bin which I later use to stuff dog beds for our local animal shelter.

I sort mostly by size, but in some cases also by valve. On the left in the photo below are the drawers of 2.5″ dark/medium strips. In the drawers above them are 2.5″ light strips. Whenever I want to make a scrappy Jelly Roll Rug, or Log Cabin quilt, all my strips are cut and neatly folded so I don’t have to take a ton of extra time pressing and prepping my fabric to cut out what I need; it’s all my fingertips ready to go.

Scraps are cut into more usable strips and squares, then organized by size, or value

The Dingo 11 Storage Cabinet & Cutting Table is what I use at the Janome Sewing and Learning Centre and have featured in my Janome HQ Instagram LIVE presentations. It’s a FABULOUS scrap organizer as most of the drawers are shallow, so they’re great for storing scraps and cutting tools, but the larger drawers are perfect for storing larger pieces of fabric, batting, pressing tools, or maybe even your serger!

You will find lots of organization and storage solutions on ArrowSewing.CA, and be sure to check with our Janome Canada dealers to see what deals on Arrow Sewing furniture they may have on, as well.

Large chunks of batting are ideal to store in those larger, deeper drawers so they don’t get crushed and stay lint/ dust-free. I picked up the wooden crate below at a second-hand store for this purpose, but you can see that Kitty (her real name is Raja, but we just call her Kitty) had other intensions for it. To think that black batting was once lint/ pet hair free. I should have known it would be magnet for her, lol! Now, that crate full of batting scraps is Kitty’s bed in my sewing room, so I don’t dare disturb anything and came up with another solution to store larger pieces of batting instead.

Baskets of all sizes and shapes are another go-to to store a variety of items. I bought the baskets below over 20 years ago and they’ve held a variety of treasures over the years. For now, it’s large batting scraps.

Smaller pieces of batting get cut up into squares and strips and are stored on this wheeled 4-tier cart, so I never have to hunt for a piece of batting when I’m practicing my free-motion quilting, or when I’m making a Jelly Roll Rug. The pieces are cut and ready to go whenever I am.

For more tips on scrap-busting, click HERE and watch this video on the Janome HQ You Tube channel.

We’d love to hear YOUR tips and tricks for organizing your scraps, so please share in the comments below.

Happy Sewing!

About janomeman

As Janome Canada's National Consumer Education Manager, I'm SEW excited to share my love of sewing, quilting and all things creative with everyone at our fabulous new Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Have an idea for a class, or to be put onto our mailing list, E-mail me at
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