Monday, November 05, 2007

Unwanted Fabric: How do you get rid of it? by Serena Smith of Embroidery Treasures

I have some and I am sure you do too: fabric you no longer want, need or will use. What do you do with it? Let it sit on the shelf or in the drawer for months while it is aging? Give it away? Perhaps keep it until you reach the day that you might just possibly use it?

I have fabric that I purchased several years ago that I know I will never use. The pattern or print is not what I am interested in right now. Some of it, I simply have lost interest in. The creativity I saw in it when I bought it is no longer there. I have pieces of fabric leftover from past projects and will probably not be using it in the future.

What can you do with it? Good question; I tend to save and store all my fabric until I have a huge pile. Always in the back of my mind, I hear this little voice saying, "Just keep it; you may need it sometime." But as the months fly by, I pick it up to use and end up putting it back on the shelf. It is just not the right color shade to blend with so many of my other fabrics. Or the print is a pattern that is hard to work with like strips or plaids.

I have a blue/navy floral print cotton sitting on my shelves of fabric right now. At the time I bought it, it was one of those, "It's on sale for a fantastic price & can be used in a hundred different ways, whatever is left on the bolt". (See Fabric Buying: How many yards should I buy?) Needless to say I DID buy what was left on the bolt - all 13 yards! I have had it for several years and have tried many times to incorporate it into some of my projects. I have used bits and pieces off of it here and there, but there are still many yards remaining. I had planned to incorporate this print into an embroidered quilt I was planning at the time, but the fabric ended up being just a little too lightweight for stitching embroidery. It may only sit on my shelf for a couple more months before I decide that it has to go.

Do I need to just toss this fabric in the trash? Of course not!! I may not have any interest in it, but it is still a very good piece of fabric and another person may find it to be just what they are needing! So what do you do with your unwanted fabric? Here are some suggestions for cleaning out your shelves!

Look at the wrong side of your fabric. The backside may yield some creative ideas that the front doesn't have. Perhaps it will give you ideas for a washed-out or softened look for a nature background scene.

Consider incorporating small pieces into your current projects. Use small pieces for applique designs, sashing between blocks on a quilt or piping to complete a pillow. The fabric may not be your favorite in a large piece, but using small bits may be a way to use up excess yardage.

Keep a small stash of fabric that is not your favorite for practice blocks, trying new techniques and new ideas where you do not want to waste expensive fabric for a project. If you are trying a new block or technique, try it using a piece from your unwanted fabric before using your project fabric.

Try crocheting your own rag rug using fabric strips. Tear your fabric into strips that are 1/4"- 1" wide and weave it into a circular or oval rug pattern. You can find more information on crocheting rag rugs here.

Braid fabric strips to create a rug, placemats, table runner or many other projects! For young sewers, five them fabric strips to make a dog or cat leash. This is a simple way to use up unwanted fabric and gain some useful projects. The fabric is braided with many different prints and solids, so you can't find your ugly fabric hidden within.

Have a local fabric exchange with several quilters in your area or your local quilt guild. You aren't the only one with excess fabric that needs a new home. You may be able to get rid of some of your stash and find some treasures for yourself.

Donate your fabric to nursing homes, schools or other organizations who will use the fabric to make projects. There are many charity quilt projects that are always looking for donated fabric.

How will I get rid of my over 10 yard stash of navy floral? A couple of months ago, I was playing with chenille, layering different fabrics, trying different widths of stitched rows and I was able to use 1/2 yard with which to practice. I had a travel pillow that just needed a cover that could be removed and washed...yes, the blue floral fabric was used! Sooner or later I will use it piece by piece. And if I find I am running out of room and find someone who will use it, I may just give it away.

See how you can join in on our current Fabric Swap. You are sure to get rid of some of your fabric and perhaps find some new treasures!

Serena Smith is an avid embroidery and quilting enthusiast living in Kansas. Creating new projects and sharing them with others through local classes and online lessons is one of her greatest joys. Visit her website, Embroidery Treasures, for fun projects, helpful tips, inspiration, notions, fabrics and embroidery supplies!

You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided the entire article, author's name, bio information and URL remain intact. Thank you! ©2007 Serena Smith Embroidery Treasures

Copyright ©2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Serena Smith. Serena is the owner of Embroidery Treasures

1 comment:

  1. Do you still have unwanted 100% cotton fabric? I'm in need of some for a scrap quilt I'd like to participate in located on the "claudia's quilt shoppe" site.

    I be happy to give it a loving home.

    Thanx in advance,