I know this has been discussed over and over in the quilt world but I thought I’d share a little about how I sort/store my scraps.

Leftover strips and strings go into bins for HeartStrings or other string quilts like my Strips and Strings Log Cabin or my Log Cabin Heart quilts. I do sort out brights from “duller” fabrics in separate bins but other than that there’s no other sorting of those.

Traditionally, I’ve sorted the rest of my scraps by color and kept them in separate bins and when I was ready to start a scrap quilt I’d go ahead and pull some from each bin. However, when we moved from Minneapolis, we went to FL and my stash went to our Big Canoe condo so I pulled an assortment of blue, green, and purple fabrics and put them in a bin to take with me to Florida. I’ve made 4 quilts from that bin and I continue to add scraps in those colors to it so there will be more of them.

Earlier this year before the move, I gathered another bin of scraps that I felt would all work together in a quilt and I brought it to Big Canoe. These two quilts were made from that bin.

And that’s the bin I pulled when I started the Friendship Star quilt. I’d added some additional fabrics when I was packing up the stash during the move too. So while I’ve still got scraps sorted by colors, having these bins with preselected scraps makes it easy to grab one and start cutting. I finished all the blocks tonight but I won’t sew this together until I get back from Mom’s, I need to study it and move blocks around a bit before assembling it.

Of course, having the bins separated by color makes it easy to pull fabric for monochromatic scrap quilts like I did for this tumbler quilt earlier this year. So I will keep some sorted into color combinations I like to work with, and the rest sorted by color.

One thing I never do with my scraps is precut them into standard sizes because I never know what I’m going to want to make with them.


  1. I sort much like you, but I cut my smallest leftovers from whatever I’m making into squares and/or rectangles for a future project I may have in mind. Unlike you, I haven’t moved from this location in 40 YEARS!!! I have MAJOR de-stashing issues right now, but I still love EVERYTHING I have so it’s become very difficult to part with things. Even some of the “uglies” have been cut into strings (or I inherited some of those things because I would NEVER purchase those ugly fabrics) to use for string blocks of all shapes and sizes. Everything seems to somehow work together. Or I don’t recognize “ugly” any longer! HA!

  2. I never cut my scraps. I put them into a bin until it’s overflowing and then I decide what to make from them.

  3. What a great bounty of quilts you shared here. The friendship star one is speaking to me… I’ve been making those blocks for the annual Rainbow Scrap challenge. I think I’ll make some 9 patches to go with some like you’ve done. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Mary, your scrap system sounds like how I do mine. When a particular color bin (plastic shoebox) gets too full, then it’s time to make something with that color, ha.

  5. I, too, separate by color. I also have a multi-color flower/novelty print bin, a flannel bin (not separated by color), and a holiday bin. I also a binding scrap bin for left over pieces of binding. I never have cut scraps into specific sizes. That would be heartbreaking to need a larger piece and have scraped-sized it too small =D.

  6. I’m with you on not cutting everything into pieces because then when I want a larger chunk of color I still have plenty of options. Everything is mostly sorted by color – or by theme. My Christmas fabrics, patriotic fabrics, and Halloween are separate. So are my batiks – sorted by color. And my 30s are all separate too. My “small” scraps and strings are sorted by color in smaller bins. Sometimes I cut 2.5″, 3.5″, and 1.5″ pieces from leftovers and I find that I do use all of those often. My problem is just quantity. Maybe I just need to sew faster. LOL

  7. No matter how many times the subject of scrap storage is discussed, I always find it interesting. We never know what will inspire one of our readers. Your color combo bin is something I haven’t considered before now.

  8. You have made some beautiful quilts with those scraps. I am not a scrap saver, I usually donate them, but I just might start saving more for myself. I do save some of the bigger pieces and have used some, so they do come in handy.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I love the same type of quilts you make so reading your thoughts on what works for you is really appreciated by those of us hoping to emulate it ourselves. I need to keep my scraps contained in a small area so the idea of sorting color by groups that work well together is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Hi Mary (Mollie😊)
    I’m curious to know what size you consider a scrap? I often struggle with that and I’m desperately trying to sort my very large stash!

  11. I seem to have overflowing bins of strings but when I go to use them they all seem so neutral that I’m not inspired to use them anywhere… I should just toss the string bin and hope that they refill themselves with more color.

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