At Hello Art Hatchery, we believe that EVERY piece of fabric (even the scraps) can be put to good use. When our fabric donations come in, we repackage yardage, quarters, and eighths and recycle whatever we can't use.
We also know how hard it can be to clear out a beloved fabric stash. In this blog post, we will share some valuable tips on how to reuse the fabric you already have on hand for more sustainable sewing — from transforming scraps into toys to creating twisted twine to sending your fabric scraps for recycling; we cover all of your options!
Small Scale Sewing
Fabric scraps from earlier sewing projects can be a great source of materials for other crafting projects. With just a bit of creativity, you can repurpose fabrics into new projects, helping both your wallet and the environment. Pinterest is full of free patterns. Here are some of our favorite fun and quick ideas:
Make a Key Fob
Key fobs are a fast and easy way to use fabric, making great gifts for friends, family, and teachers. These two-tone fobs are super cute! They can be made with multiple designs and at any length.
Make a Belt
Scrappy belts can be super cute for kiddos and adults!
Make a Toy
Alphabet letters are great when you have a rainbow of colors or coordinating fabrics.
Make a Decorative Pillow
This flower pillow is unique and creative. It's an excellent idea for quilters who want a quick project.
Make a Travel Pillow
These small neck pillows are great for long car trips and can be made from multiple patterns or just one.
Make a Baby Gift
These patchwork bibs are adorable and are great for leftover scraps from quilting.
Finding New Life
You can also turn your fabric into something new and not cut from a pattern as a way to repurpose it. These ideas will get you started, but the possibilities are endless:
Braided baskets and rugs use a lot of fabric and are super useful. They also make great handmade gifts!
Turn your fabric into twine! You can use this super festive twine for wrapping gifts, decorating planters, or any craft project that traditionally uses jute twine.
Crazy Paving Ribbon
The Linen Garden makes these wonderful fabric ribbon strips with their leftover fabrics. Use it like you would any other ribbon!
Fabric Wrapped Hangers
Dress up your kiddo's nursery with these sweet fabric-wrapped hangers! They also make great gifts for baby showers.
Depending on the fabric, you can also give your leftover fabric new life with these environmentally friendly ideas:
Any fabric that's 100% natural with natural dyes can be composted just like a banana peel!
Use it as Filler
Fabric scraps can make great filler for footstools and tuffets. The added weight creates a more durable piece that won't flatten or tip over as easily as fiber fill.
For the Pets
Dog bed covers can be sewn or purchased and filled with soft fabric remnants instead of fiber fill.
The UnPaper Towel
A pretty stack of finished absorbent fabric squares is a great alternative to paper towels!
If none of these ideas work for you, or the fabric you have simply isn’t a good candidate for second-hand or reuse, find a way to get it to a textile recycling facility.
Only 100% natural fabrics will break down into organic matter. Synthetic fibers like fleece and polyester will turn back into microplastics – after about 200 years. The EPA estimates that 10 million tons of textile waste ends up in US landfills each year. Much of this tonnage is from industry, not households, but there’s no need to add to the problem.
Donate to Goodwill
The most accessible way to recycle your fabric scraps (and clothing!) is to donate them to your local Goodwill. Bag your scraps separately from other items, mark them "For Recycling," and drop them off. They will be recycled as carpet pads, rugs, stuffing for toys, dog beds, and much more.
Don't let your leftover fabric scraps go to waste – there are many ways you can repurpose them into something functional or beautiful, or make sure they get recycled and reused! In the comments below, we'd love to hear some of your favorite ways to use scrap fabric.