Should you just scrap your fabric scraps?

What do you do with your fabric scraps? It’s quite common for makers to fall into one of two categories when it comes to dealing with leftover fabric… either you save every single, tiny little piece of fabric (but never actually do anything with them) or you finish a project and immediately throw out whatever fabric is left over. But perhaps there’s a middle ground that doesn’t mean you have a box full of never-ending scraps and also means you make use of left-over fabric, or at least some of it.

Before we get into the specifics we need to talk about some of this terminology… what exactly is a fabric scrap?

What is a fabric scrap?

Technically speaking, a scrap is left-over fabric that is too small to be used on it’s own for another project. If you have fabric left over from project one, for example, but it is enough to make project two (even if project two is something small) then your fabric is a remnant rather than a scrap. The best thing to do with a fabric remnant is to either go ahead and make that second project, or press and neatly fold it and put it back with your regular fabric stash ready for future use.

But let’s get back to scraps. The most important thing is actually if your scrap is a useful scrap. There’s no set definition for what is classed as a “useful” size or “too small to use” size. Deciding this very much depends on you; more specifically the amount of fabric scraps you are able to store and the potential uses for the scraps. You need to be realistic about what you sew to establish if scraps are genuinely useful, otherwise you’ll end up drowning in scraps or getting frustrated and end up throwing them all in the bin! Think about who you sew for (it’s quite likely that your fabric scraps will have more uses in children’s patterns as the garment pieces are smaller) and if you’re not sure then take the time to compare your fabric scraps to pattern pieces to see if they will fit.

Ways to use fabric scraps

After you’ve sorted out your useful fabric scraps comes the really fun part…deciding how to use them. Even though scraps are usually fairly small, there is still quite a few different ways to use them in Waves & Wild patterns. 


Some pockets might use a bit too much fabric to be able to cut from scraps but there are a few W&W patterns that feature small patch pockets. Using fabric scraps can be a great way to add an extra pop of colour or a contrasting print.

Look at the Dreamer Shirt and Twist & Shout Trousers for woven scraps, and the Beep Beep Raglan Sweatshirt and Jacky V T-shirt for jersey scraps.


The Speedy Pants briefs and boxers are a great way to use up jersey scraps because a few different parts are small…especially the gusset inside the briefs and the front section of the boxers. Plus you have the added bonus of it not really mattering if the fabrics match each other because it’s on your undies!


Any children’s patterns with cuffs, especially small cuffs like on toddler size sleeves, can be great for scraps. If you think there’s chance you might use some leftover fabric for cuffs then keep this in mind when you’re cutting the main project from the fabric yardage. Try to leave long , thin pieces of fabric uncut rather than lots of square/rectangle/odd-shaped pieces dotted over the fabric yardage; this will make it easier to cut out pieces for cuffs later on.


In a similar way to cuffs, appliqué details can often be cut from small or oddly-shaped fabric scraps. Waves & Wild patterns like the Animal Appliques and Dragon Dress Up could make excellent use of some of your scraps.

Patchwork It

A slightly different way to use fabric scraps is to make your own fabric from the scraps! Cut them all into the same size squares and sew them together to make one piece of fabric, then cut out your garment as usual. This works better with woven patterns like the Hygge Vest/Gilet/Bodywarmer but you could use jersey too, as long as you’re carefully not to stretch the fabric whilst you are “patchworking” it.

How will you use your fabric scraps from your next project?