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January 18, 2023

Deciding to cut your fabric scraps down into usable sizes can be a daunting task. Especially if you are just getting started and have a mountain of fabric to tackle! In this post, I break down my strategy for cutting into my fabric scraps.

Scrap Cutting Strategy - Running Stitch Quilts

I cut my scraps into: 2.5” strips, 1.5” strips, 10” squares, 5” squares, 3.5” squares, and 2.5” squares. I chose these because they are common pre-cut sizes so there are many quilt patterns already written to use these sizes (with the exception of the 3.5” squares). Also, I like that you can combine these sizes in many different combinations to make a 6” block. 

These sizes work for me, but when choosing what sizes to cut your scraps into, choose what works for you! If you are planning a string quilt, 1.5” strips might be the best use of your scraps. If you are thinking a postage stamp quilt sounds fun, cut your scraps into 2” squares. If you don’t have a specific quilt in mind, cut your scraps into a variety of sizes like I do until inspiration strikes!

After I finish cutting the fabric for a new quilt project, I put all of the leftover fabric into a bin (it’s actually a flower pot)! When the flower pot gets too full, I cut my scraps down into the usable sizes and sort them by color into storage boxes. You could also sort the scraps by size depending on how you plan to use them (for example, if you are making a postage stamp quilt or string quilt).

Scrap Cutting Strategy Pot Storage - Running Stitch Quilts

I used to cut these scraps after I finished each project or quilt, but now I throw them into my flower pot and save them for the days I just want to do something mindless while I watch TV. When my flower pot gets too full, but I don’t want to stop what I’m working on, I’ll spend 5 or so minutes a day cutting up scraps until that fabric mountain is more manageable. 

Scrap Cutting Strategy: 

  • Start with the biggest cut I can get from the piece of fabric. If I can get a 10" square or a 2.5"xWOF strip, those are two I always look for first. 
  • Keep making the next largest cut possible, until the piece of fabric is used up. 
  • Cut both strips and squares. If I have a 5"x10" (for example), I will cut one 2.5"x10" strip, and cut the other half into 2.5" squares.
  • Stack several pieces of fabric that are a similar size to speed up the process
  • If I have a WOF strip, I will almost always keep it as a WOF. I will rarely cut that down into squares
  • I keep my iron hot to quickly smooth out any wrinkles
  • Separate into the color bins as I go

Scrap Cutting Strategy Fabric Storage - Running Stitch Quilts

Last thought: Anything larger than a FQ or ¼ yard, I will consider saving for a fabric destash instead of cutting up. I don’t keep a big fabric stash (read here to find out why), so honestly, if I saved it, it probably wouldn’t get used. That is the main reason why this fabric scrap management strategy works for me. I am more likely to use fabric that has been cut down into usable sizes than I am larger pieces stashed away. 

If you choose to cut your scraps into the same sizes that I do, I have a FREE quilt pattern written specifically for those cuts. Download my Scrappy Valley quilt pattern here!

Scrappy Valley Quilt Pattern - Running Stitch Quilts