Scrapbusting part II: Clothes

Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge Button 2016 (1)

So, now you have all gone through your scrap tubs (you did do your homework didn’t you?), what are you going to do with it the bits that made the cut?  Maybe you’re already feeling inspired, in which case jump right in and get busting. If not, we have a few idea’s for you, starting today with clothing.


Depending on the size and shape of your scrap, you might be able to squeeze a whole item out of it for yourself. I have 2 pieces of about ⅔ yards each left over from big flowy tank tops I made last spring. They’ve been earmarked since then for some new sleeveless tops this spring…in fact, they are both navy fabric and I will have navy thread in my serger for the jeans I’m sewing…I should just whip them together really quick. I made 3 last year and they are easy to wear and take up less than a yard of fabric.

If you are looking for a quick pattern that doesn’t use much fabric, Maria Denmark’s free Kirsten Kimono top is super simple, especially if you don’t choose a striped fabric. Why not pair it with her twisted skirt tutorial for another quick make with a smallish amount of fabric.

Maybe you have a small person (aka a child) in your household. If so you probably already know that they can be a great way to use up remnants from your own sewing due to their diminutive nature. See, err, about half of my blog  for details (including the 5 projects above all made from leftovers). Also check out So Zo’s post on all the cute shorts she’s made as presents . However, if you don’t have small people in your life to dress in your off cuts, or if they downright refuse, fear not, there are other things you can make.

If you, like me, have bit of an addiction to expensive scandinavian jersey, then I’m sure that due to its extreme loveliness and cost, you also don’t want to waste any of. I like to make my leftovers into rather glorious knickers. So Zo (there’s that name again) has a great free pattern to start you off . If you don’t have appropriate elastic to hand or can’t get hold of any (which can be tricky), try Kitschy Coo’s Barrie brief pattern, which uses fabric bands instead . Of course, you can make knickers with woven fabric too, liberty ones are said to be very luxurious…

There’s also a whole post on scraptastic underwear over at Seamwork, including bra’s (eek, scary).

 Don’t forget that men need underwear too, check out the Comox Trunks pattern from Thread Theory. I’m not joking, you need to see this pattern page even if you have no intention of making the pattern (purely for research). WHOA, NELLY! Why can’t all our  links have pictures like that? ***note to self, new blog idea…***

Surely everybody knows about the Oliver and S free sunhat pattern by now?  I have lost count how many times I’ve made this (including enlarging it for my huge head). I even did a hack to make a witches hat at halloween. (I know the truth. Rosemary wears that witches hat more frequently than at Halloween)

Sunhat not your thing?  How about a flatcap then? Such as this free pattern which I have my eye on for Long Suffering Husband.

In our house we seem to need a lot of circular scarves, the kind that can be worn under a bike helmet. The branded ones cost a lot and they’re so easy to make, rectangle, hem, done (knit don’t fray). When I was doing my scrap sorting homework my LSH chose 3 bits straight from the tub to make some for him. Or make a longer looser version in woven fabric. If you want to line them and you can’t get your head around the geometry, just search for infinity scarf tutorial – there are tons out there.

What about about socks?  Never thought of making them?  Well, to be honest, neither had I until I read this great post.

I won the Sew Stylish Slippers pattern from Filles A Maman in December. It uses my left over knits, so I’ll be sewing a pair of those up this month too. Bonus: they will match the cardi I sewed in the knit fabric a couple years ago! (You’re such a trend setter Crystal.)

 Maybe you prefer cute little ballerina style slippers. I used some leftover flannel, ribbon and satin blanket binding to make these free ones.  Naturally, I had to stray from the written instructions and opted to sew mine using the instructions on this blog instead.

Don’t restrict yourself to patterns that come designed for more than one fabric, you can change things up to introduce colour blocking into old favourite patterns too, check out this t shirt  for inspiration.  Or how about Grainline’s post on colour blocking their Archer pattern. And if you don’t fancy changing an existing pattern, how about one designed to use lots of different fabrics such as Fehr Trade’s Tessellate Tee.


Here, I’m using leftover knit as the front panel on the Give Me A Shrug top from So Sew Easy. I’m just filling in the rest of the shirt with a basic black “staple” fabric. Uses up a scrap and highlights the little bit of print I have. (Please note that the shirt is not actually sewn in said photo…just cut out for now).


I didn’t have enough striped fabric for a whole top in this second picture, (probably a good thing looking back…that’s an overwhelming stripe…)(I don’t know, I like it) so I just used it in front and filled in the rest with a basic black knit. This is Cation Designs free Doloman Sleeve Top.


woo hoo

I got given a fat quarter of cool fabric by a non-sewing friend for a birthday present and was told to make something for myself. So I used it to make feature pockets and belt loops on a skirt, it really cheered up this boring cord that was sitting in my stash leaving me feeling uninspired.

... Patchwork and Scrap Fabric Skirts - Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!Hideous

While searching the internet I also found this photo of a patchwork skirt which comes from, but I can’t find the relevant blog post to go with it, sorry. However, how cool is this? It’s very cool, actually… [haven’t you heard of rhetorical questions in America?]. Or use several scraps, like this waistcoat/vest/gillet.

Or what about Reverse Applique, also known as Alabama Chanin, there are loads of examples out there such as this one.  You could either use this technique on a new garment, or set to with your scraps and your mending pile and give something old and loved a new lease of life. I know we’ve had some Stashbusting Group members use this technique before it it was lovely! You could do some interesting jeans repairs with this technique as well.

stitched scarf inspiration. Great idea to use scraps of silk.:

Talking of mending, the Japanese Boro technique of using Sashiko stitches for visible mending is all the rage on the Make Do and Mend Group. And this can be made to make larger things, such as this gorgeous scarf. Maybe we can just take our scraps and MAKE a scarf like that with all the top stitching. I want one!

 Still stuck for ideas?  Great minds think alike, while we were planning this series So Zo published some similar ideas for organising and making.

Anyway, that should be more than enough ideas to get you started. (Bonus points to Sue who has already started.) We’ll be back next week with some more  ideas.  In the mean time, we’re looking forward to seeing lots of your scrappy makes on the Stashbusting group (or post a link in the comments below).

9 thoughts on “Scrapbusting part II: Clothes

  1. That was a good read! Thanks for the ideas, links and reminders!

  2. What a lot of ideas and inspirations. Thanks for this overview.

  3. Love all your ideas…and the skirt from hideous/stinkiy is so dang cute…..a must make…..made socks in January as I was freezing my totsie toes off here in Montana…but have some more scrap pieces for more and maybe a skirt or two out of knit leftovers…thanks for all your work…..

  4. This is a great post, and I’m bookmarking it right now. Thanks for taking the time to pull this together — I don’t have a ton of apparel scraps right now (though I’m working on that), but all of these are great ideas regardless.

  5. Pingback: Small but perfectly formed | Prolific Project Starter

  6. Hello, great blog, enjoyed a bit of a catch up just now. Please did you post about how to enlarge the pattern for the free sunhat to fit a grown-up? If not please would you consider doing a post about that? I would like to make one for myself but not v adventurous when it comes to sewing.

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