I have found the best way to organize your scrap fabrics is to sew them together.
When you find yourself naming a quilt something, something, “Infinity” you might take that as a clue. I am so nearly finished with a seriously CRAZY scrap quilt that I used to refer to as “micro scrap piecing”, but find that I can’t seem to use the term, “micro” to describe this so much larger than imagined or planned quilt. When you work with scraps, and are using narrow pieces, the seam allowances might be wider than what is visible. I started with a narrow seam allowance because I wanted to make the most of what I had to use. I eventually changed to standard seam allowances for the integrity of the piece – ie I need the seams to be strong and safe from fraying. So my piecework loses a 1/4 inch on both sides as I add new pieces. If I add a 1 inch strip every time that would only be loss of 1/2 inch. But I tend to add narrower pieces.
People know that I use scrap fabric. I am quite giggle-ly when someone tells me, “I am bringing a bag of scrap fabric to guild for you.” Even better when it is a surprise and someone brings a bag, “Not sure if you can use these, but I wanted to let you look at them first”.
I know, not everyone would be so keen to receive a mystery bag of fabric “leftovers”. Quilters aren’t known for a lack of fabric. But if you are a scrapaholic a tote of fabric that comes from the “cutting floor” is treasure. To me it is Christmas. It is a gift and I know I will find a precious gem of fabric that totally fits with a project I am working on. And, I am honored that someone thought of me as a worthy steward of their remaining fabric commodity.
Yes, I know, I am a scrapaholic. It isn’t a negative thing. We are a thrifty, creative group.
If you are new to this realm of bequeathed fabric you can step in with your eyes open an avoid the pitfalls by remembering you are not obligated to keep fabric you are gifted. If you don’t appreciate the fabric, give it a pass and let someone else take a look at it.
If you are ever overwhelmed by your own scrap fabric stash at any time remember the rule “Sort and Distribute”.
I try to sort the fabric as soon as I bring it into the house. Yes, I have left bags of fabric in the car for short term storage until I had time to sort.
If the fabric trims are too thin or the fabric is not of good quality for quilting I discard it.
Fabrics that I can use in current projects get sorted by size and if needed are trimmed into manageable pieces removing frayed threads.
I sort remaining fabrics that I intend to keep by color and size. I add these fabrics to like color scrap fabric I already have in my scrap stash.
If the fabric isn’t right for me I put it in my donate stash so I can pass it on. This does not mean the fabric is ugly or bad quality, it just isn’t right for me.
BTW, this can happen with large pieces of fabric and often the fabric is perfect for a project that someone else is working on.