A question of wastage

A similarly sewing motivated friend, on seeing a rather beautiful piece of fabric that I was very attached to me gave me a piece of advice.

Cut it. Even if you just take a corner off, cut it. Otherwise you will never be able to do anything with it.

How right she was. There is nothing more singularly handsome than a metre or two of cloth lain out as a single piece. I sometimes spend ages looking for an alternative because I don’t want to slice into a particular favourite, only to have to take the plunge eventually.

One of the attractions of patchwork is that more often than not there is very little in the way of leftovers. You buy a straight bit, cut it into more straight bits and end up with a straight bit. It’s one of the reasons why I love jelly rolls. Lots of fabric, not much left over, and that is generally in useable little squares.

Dressmaking and soft toys I find much more unsettling. You end up with lots of pieces, none of which are quite big enough to do anything with and moreover are in some fairly random shapes. They get put in the scrap bag along with all of the other “might be big enough for something’ bits until this gets to be unmanageable and you end up giving it all to the local primary school for ‘projects’.

This fabric waste hating trait is often the cause of creation procrastination and brings me to discussion of my five fat quarters project. Since I was unable to find online inspiration I decided to use a ‘random’ cutting technique I had seen in a magazine some time ago. The theory is that you layer a number of fabric squares equal to the number of shapes you are going to cut and then you can reassemble them afterwards in a random manner to create new squares.


This works fine, but the problem is that you end up with some very odd shaped squares which you have to trim down. So my original 6″ squares finished up as 4.5″ squares. It also meant that I was left with a pile of unusable trimmings.

I am very happy with my finished assemblage (picture to follow) but I won’t be using this method again simply because I can’t bear the idea of throwing this much fabric away at the end of the process.

Cat x

One thought on “A question of wastage

  1. mosaicthinking says:

    I avoid patterns and techniques that lead to wastage – to me it goes against the frugal heritage of quilting. For larger bits of left over fabric I recommend scrappy log cabin blocks. They’re very relaxing to make as you can just sew and sew, with very little messing about with cutting.


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