Green up your production: scrap use & zero waste
Why buy yardage for miniature projects where there is so much waste in the world that you can harness!
I always keep my *scraps* for future use but now larger companies are taking note of the benefits of running waste-free production and are doing the same. For example, I ran across a new product from American Apparel called “Bag o’ scraps”. So not only are they encouraging use of their waste they can make a profit off them.
Believe it or not, a bunch of pieces for my Florentine gown were pulled from the scrap bin.
Anyone who adores fabric can’t throw away bits and pieces. My *green* cabbage bin sits under my cutting table snatching up my small remnants. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me “I’m so glad I’m not the only one who can’t throw away fabric”. The term *scraps* has taken on some negative connotation when really it is just describing something leftover from a larger whole. I for one adore many types of leftovers, whether food or fabric related! I just eat um up whenever I can.
I like the term cabbage and use it without realizing people have no idea what I am talking about.
While I have heard the term used in the fashion industry I initially was told it came from a much earlier time period and references the fabric left over after an garment was cut by a tailor out of whole cloth purchased by their client.
An article from Colonial Williamsburg mentions the term cabbage in this sense: ” Apprentices began by performing menial shop tasks. Gradually, they’d learn skills. Sewing often was the first. Youngsters would collect cloth scraps, known as “cabbage,” and practice needlework with them. ” I’m currently involved with the Needle’s Eye re-enactment group portraying a tailors shop & our bins of fabric scraps come out to events to demonstrate such usage and have been a bit hit with the youngsters.
Check out these website for some idea on how you use up your scraps:
Free patterns and Ideas for scrap usage
Historical fabric buttons
I’m currently using the small cuttings leftover from cutting out a jacket to create the matching fabric embroidered buttons using these button molds available for purchase from Wm. Booth Draper.
Even more fascinating though is the idea of zero waste. This surely ups the ante. I wouldn’t even know where to start to draft items like these but they are sure worth a look if you haven’t checked them out yet:
Zero Fashion waste blog
Fashion Incubator Zero waste
In an effort to get more of my leftovers used, I will send along some scraps from my workroom to the first person who comments here on my blog that they want some. I will contact you privately for your mailing address – yes I will ship international!
I would like any red or black “faire approvable” scraps you have. A friend is making a quilt and has asked me to contribute to them.
Okay we have our first taker for fabric scraps! Let’s do one more for the next commenter but it will be a random selection so it will be a surprise when your package arrives.
Michelle, I’d love to see the final quilt – it sounds like a fun project.
Do you have a minimum size requirement for scraps? I’ll get together what I think will work for you from my bin.
me! I’ll take some! :)
I use my scraps for a crazy quilt.
You got it Ari, I’ll pick out some pretty stuff fo you. Michelle or Ari, Do you guys need it shipped?
Yeah for scraps! My effigy corset was made from several scrap remnants that I bought on eBay. The fabric was too pretty, and I have more to make something else from. I even kept the scraps from the scraps to make something else.
My cabbage basket is also filling up, I have actually been quite pleased to be able to pull out a few pieces here and there to use. Yay for the cabbage basket, oh and my cat thinks it makes quite the comphy bed. :D
I’ll pick up anything you have when I come over on Sunday evening for my pictures.
I love scraps! I use them for all sorts of things–pincushions, buttons, trim, hats, and when all else fails, stuffing. Every now and then I have to go through our “eye” and throw out really ugly/tiny scraps, since we do live in an apartment, but it’s always so hard to throw out anything that could be useful.
And yes, it’s an excellent cat bed (but they don’t like it when it’s too full–it has to be flat or nested, not mounded).
I can’t let my parrot near my scrap pile! She will nest and become territorial. But she sure likes to look at all the fabric and begs for anything that looks nest-like.
But I bet the cabbage bin is similar to a laundry basket of clothing to a cat. My cats growing up always curled up in the clean laundry.
Hey Robin, do your cats like your fabric as much as your clean laundry? And if there is a preference, I wonder if varies by cat. I bet they would pick a plush velvet fabric in the color opposite their primary hair color just to make sure you noticed they liked it.
Ah my mother digs into me about keeping scraps, but they’re so useful! I use them to practise stuff on, to stuff things, even as heavy interfacing. I even keep scraps of wool and cotton etc for stuffing. I must have saved on bags of stuffing just because I don’t throw away my scraps!
Finally! A name to put to my bags of scrap materials! I’ve always kept my stash of scraps. You never know! Right? I keep them in those lovely square zippered bags that sheet sets come in. I have a sizable cabbage patch under my bed; might have to repot it soon…it keeps on growing! Thanks for the link to uses for scraps!
I love the term cabbage! I can’t believe I have never heard it before this, and am definitely going to use it from now on. I don’t need any of your scraps – I have far too much cabbage of my own thank you!
I do pride myself on reducing most of my fabric into scraps less than 2″ square when I sew something, but things like bias cut always yield bigger pieces. I use a lot of the leftovers to make binding, and I’ve decided I am saving the rest to make a yoyo quilt: http://thedreamstress.blogspot.com/2009/06/textiles-on-thursday-20th-century-make.html