Nothing goes to waste in my sewing studio.
I tend to buy fabrics with specific projects in mind. Often, I will buy the fabrics to make a whole quilt from the same fabrics or from the same color palette. The fabrics above I purchased for Alex’s quilt. When I buy fabric to make clothing I buy an amount in line with what I need for the project at hand.
Of course, there are always leftovers. After cutting out tops or pajamas or dresses there are leftover scraps. After cutting all the pieces for a quilt top there are generally pieces left over.
When I make clothing the leftover scraps are usually small enough to go directly into my “scraps to be cut” bin. These scraps are eventually cut into pieces for scrap quilts like the quilt I’m currently working on for my bed. Scraps from cutting quilt tops are saved until the quilt is totally finished. I often piece the backs of my quilts, so often I incorporate leftovers from the front of the quilt into the back. But when there are still leftovers after piecing the back and binding the quilt I decide whether the remaining scraps are big enough for other projects – like potholders or placemats. If they are big enough for other projects I add them to one of my “uncategorized small pieces bins”. Pieces in those bins are generally between 1/4 yard and a yard. Pieces smaller than that go into my scraps to be cut bin and I cut them into pieces appropriate for whatever scrap quilts I am working on at the time.
The pieces for the scrap quilt that I’ve been working on recently are about 1 1/2 x 2 1/2″. Scraps smaller than that but bigger than 1×1 go into my “mile a minute/crumb block scrap bins” – of which there are now three.
Even after that, there are pieces that are less than 1 inch wide or less than 1 inch wide. These scraps I save too. They go into a bin in my storage closet – along with scraps of yarn, scraps of batting, and thread snips.
These colorful bits I save until I have enough to make pet beds…which my cats really love.
You would be surprised how quickly these scraps add up. I have a 4 cup storage container like you would store leftovers in which I keep by my sewing machine. As I trim threads, and trim seams and corners I add the snips to the container. When the container is full I add it to the trash can liner lined trash can in the storage room. When the trash can gets full then it is time to make cat beds. Which I did recently.
Ozzie seemed to know immediately that the bed was for him. I didn’t even have a chance to finish sewing it before he was on top of it, making himself at home.
I used about 2/3 of my trash can worth of scraps and ended up making these four pet beds – one above and three below.
I made the top one a smaller square to fit on an old portable computer desk that Ozzie likes to lay on. I made the other three longer to fit across my ironing table because the cats like to sleep there and in short order they have my ironing surface covered in hair. With their mats I simply move the mats off the table when I want to sew and move them back when I am finished. It works well and the cats love their mats.
Most of the time there are several cats sacked out on the mats. Patch, Callie Kitten and Dup-li-cat are pictured below. You can see my storage container collecting more scraps in the picture below too.
I know when I first heard about using the scraps of batting and fabric to make pet beds, I wondered how they would wash. I’m happy to report that mine wash very well.
When I made them I started by making a large pillow case and then filling the bottom 6 inches or so with scraps then sewing a straight line about 6 inches from the bottom edge. Then adding scraps to fill the next 6 inch section and running another line of stitching to keep the filling in place so that it wouldn’t all wad at one end of the mat when the mats were washed. I repeated this process, eventually closing the top by pressing the edge under and running a line of stitching across the top to close the pillowcase.
The stitching keeps the fabric scraps from bunching up or becoming lumpy.
I’m very happy with the cat mats…and so are the cats. I’m eagerly waiting to collect more scraps so that I can make some more cat mats. The new mats made in this style will eventually replace our other cat beds which are wearing out.