Sewing Trash: Tales from the Scrap Bin

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:43:14 Sewing Trash: Tales from the Scrap Bin


Episode Summary

Do you keep a waste bin nearby while you sew? What do you put in it ? How long do you keep it before finally disposing of it? Believe it or not, there are deep possibilities that lurk in your sewing room scrap bin. Lisa talks about the projects that have been started and saved by her Scrap Bin. Listen to see why a designated “sewing trash” bin is important when sewing. This episode has a BONUS VIDEO for PATREON supporters!

Episode Notes

Here are a reusable container that you might use for as  a small scrap bins with lid: Super Bubble! 

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Read Full Transcript

Sewing Trash - Tales from the Scrap Bin 

[00:00:00]Lisa: [00:00:00] Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hello everybody. And welcome to today's episode of the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork. And I am glad as always to be here with you today, we have a kind of a strange episode, I imagine. It's about sewing trash. I guess we could say this is going to be a trash talk episode. Now this isn't trash talk in the sense of talking shit about other people, because I don't like to do that, but I am talking about your sewing trash.

How do you maintain and keep and why you should a designated [00:01:00] sewing trash receptacle in your sewing space? Believe it or not, this could be a really great opportunity and a space for you to build some sustainability into your sewing practice. So for today's episode, we're going to talk about. How to build a good sewing trash or a scrap bin.

If you don't like  to think about it as trash, we're going to talk about how to build a good sewing, scratch, then why we need one. And then in the second half of the episode, I'm going to talk about all the things you can make. From the things in your scrap, in why it is so important to have one.

So let's get started with how to build a scrap bin, now you normally, we know that sewing makes a lot of waste and this comes from the very beginnings of a sewing project. So for example, if you are sewing a pattern and you take the pattern out of the envelope, you unfold the tissue paper. [00:02:00] Then, and then you cut out that, that pattern piece that you need, you cut out all your pattern pieces.

And of course, if you listen to previous episodes of the podcast, you know that you didn't have to press those so that they're nice and straight and get a bit of static cling and that then you can cut out your fabrics. But what you've left behind is the paper pattern envelope. You've left behind a lot of little off cut pieces of the tissue paper.

Similarly, if you're doing PDF patterns, whether you buy a large, AO format  PDF pattern and trace it off or cut it, or you tape it together using your own paper, then you cut that pattern. Now you're going to end up with a lot of leftover paper. That's just an example of paper that you won't have any more paper you won't use.

And so what I do is I put that in my same scrap bin. if you listen to this episode and if you are a Patreon subscriber, there's a companion video to this episode where I talk specifically about some [00:03:00] of the things and how I built my scrap bin and what it yields. But before we can even get that possibility of having the scrap bin yield, these really fun things for us. We have to build it in such a way that it's a place we're going to want to return to. So when I'm cutting out my patterns, whether it's paper, that I've taped together, which as we all know, it can listen to the podcast.

I do not do a lot of it. I cannot take patterns together. Taping patterns together reduces my will to live. So I'm unable to take patterns, but for a small little tiny thing, for a pair of panties or abroad doesn't require much taping, I will take them, but then you have to trace it and then you cut it out or you might cut it or trim it to make it smaller.

That's a bunch of paper that you'll have left over. So those are the things that I put in my scrap bin. So what, when I'm thinking about how to build my scrap bin, I want to make sure that this will actually be  a resource, right? It sounds very strange. Who is using trash as resource? [00:04:00] people who believe in sustainability.

People who believe that things should have used beyond a single instance. And so this is something I've been able to build over time. And I learned this at the very beginning of my sewing that when you, so it's very important to have a scrap container. Where all you put in it is sewing trash and by sewing trash, yeah.

Excess tissue, paper pieces, excess, regular paper. If you're taping together PDF patterns, once you lay down your pattern on top. Of your fabric. And we know this because folded a piece of fabric and happy you put the selvages together and then you lay your pattern piece down and then you use your rotary cutter or your scissors to cut it out.

Now you will have what call off cuts, which are the scrap pieces that are left over. After you've cut out your main garment pieces. So you're making a blouse, you've got the collar and cuffs. You've got the sleeves, you've got the front and back bodice. You've [00:05:00] got any other pieces you need in terms of like maybe, a draw string or a band or something like that.

And then you have all these pieces that don't feel like they're useful for much. So do you just throw them in their regular kitchen trash and get rid of them? No, I do not. I put them in my scrap bin. And this is something that I just want to remind everyone. Yeah. It becomes really useful to be able to go back into that scrap bin and see the stuff you've made before.

So what you're building is not just a resource where you can, okay. I'm and I'll talk about the ways that a scrap bin can be a resource after the break, but for now, I just want to think about. The bin itself, that this is going to be a resource and an archive of what you have made depending on how long you keep it.

I'm really excited to talk about this with you. And I know it's, this is one of the great things about having a podcast is that I get to nerd out about things that I love and [00:06:00] talking to people who similarly love them and enjoy them, makes it extra fun. So my scrap bin is a big xox that one of my printers came in.Actually I  won, a printer I actually won something.

I won a printer a few years ago and it came in this really lovely, very sturdy box that was purple and white. And I when I saw the purple, I was like, I must keep this box forever. So what I've done is the box is about. 12 inches across maybe two feet long. And, it has a pretty good depth to it. So it's a really good, big sizeable box, very sturdy sides.

I pushed the flaps down inside the box to make it easier to access. And I've had the box for. Maybe two years. And so now the scraps that are in there are not two year old scraps, but, we'll talk about disposability, but the reason that I have it is that it's big, it's [00:07:00] wide.

I can throw a bunch of stuff in there and I don't have to ball it up. I used to keep one and I still do. I have about two or three little scrapbooks sounds like, if he needed to, drop but thread in, or if you're, especially, if you're just sewing with a serger and all the off-cuts from the serger.

sure. As you are, shredding, not straightening, but you're cutting along the seam, allowance. Those things that go into that bin, those things, also go into a, a scrap band, but I try to keep the cuts of paper. And fabric in one big box, same is true for interfacing and tracing materials. So these are the things that go in my scrap bin.

And I just want to be clear that the scrap bin works because the only thing you ever put in it is sewing things. Sewing waste, sewing trash, sewing scraps, do not throw  the wrapper of your muffin into your scrap bin, [00:08:00] because even if you don't have pests, even if you don't live in an environment like I do in Virginia, where there could there's aunts and there's, all types of insects that can get inside things, even if you don't have that, which I think most people do.

You don't want the oils and the grease and the chocolates or whatever to stain, whatever is in the scrap bin. You want to keep it  as clean as you possibly can.  cause you want to be able to dig through it. If you need to, in order to retrieve the things you want. And as you're going through your archive for your resource, you don't want to come upon.

An Ant Festival that isenjoying its best life inside your chocolate chip cookie wrappers. So that's the what's one important tip. I think having a very sturdy container one that makes it easy to see things. One that doesn't crush up, all the things you have and no food waste or drink waste, or leftover tea [00:09:00] bags or coffee grounds or whatever goes in that it's only for. Paper tracing paper, tissue, paper, and fabric interfacing to that kind of thing. And again, I'm pretty strict about it because I know that I'm going to want to revisit it. And so for me, maintaining a good clean. Scrap bin is a way to set my sewing up for success. And I say this because there's so many things that you can do from the scrap bin that are really helpful.

So for example, I'm going to talk a bit more about this, but I wanted to talk about first that this is also an exercise in a type of sustainability and by this, rather than just cutting the things out and only having your paper pieces left or only having the exact fabrics that you need, and then throwing the rest away.

Instead, you're able to extend the [00:10:00] life of that yardage. For example, that you've purchased, you can extend the life of the yardage by saving the little off cut pieces. And depending on what it is, whether it's a woven fabric or a knit fabric, you're able to, there's certain things you can make from it that I think are really useful now.

Also decide if you want it to keep your paper separate from your scrap bin. if you don't want paper in it, you can have a separate bin for that. There's other ways you can take the paper leftovers and cut them into certain shapes. To have them be scrap paper for things to make notes. if you have the leftover tissue paper, I know folks who used that as gift wrap, who use that's stuffing for packaging.

if you're shipping something and you want to put something in there, that's going to help the package not bounce around too much that the tissue paper can help with that. So there's ways to separate this out. But what I wanted to let you know that's sewing from a scrap bin [00:11:00] gives you a lot of flexibility and can extend the life of the fabrics that you've purchased. And it is again, as I was saying before, a resource and an archive. So I want to take a very quick break to talk about, talk, I'm talking about the setup of the scrap bin again, just to reiterate.

The scrap band should be clean. You should not put food trash in it, and you should use it and re and think about it as a resource and an archive. Something like it's basically your scrap bin is a gift that you are giving yourself. Sewing in the future. And when we get back, we'll talk more specifically.

Yeah. About the things that I've been able to make from my scrap bin that I don't think I would have even tried to make, or my sewing process would have been very much. Very much confounded or frustrated if I did not have the scrap pieces available to me that I did. So just wanted to let you know about that.

And so we're going to take a very quick [00:12:00] break. And when we come back, we will talk more about specific projects that I've made from. The scrap bit. So stay tuned.

The Stitch Please podcast is really growing. I want to thank you for listening to the podcast and ask a favor. If you are listening to this podcast on a medium that allows you to rate it or review it. For example, Apple podcasts or iTunes, please do. So if you're enjoying the podcast, if you could drop me a five star rating, if you have something to say about the podcast and you wanted to include that a couple sentences in the review box of Apple makes a really big difference in how the podcast is evaluated by Apple, how it becomes more visible.

It really is a way to lean into the algorithm that helps to rank podcasts. so if you had time to do that, to drop a little line in the review feature of the podcast, that would be really appreciated and would help us to grow [00:13:00] even further and faster.

Welcome back. Thank you so much. You're listening to this ditch please podcast. And we're talking today about sewing trash tales from the scrap bin. In the previous segment, I talked about how you can build a scrap bin kind of things you need. And I wanted to share with them, you a couple more ideas about that before we transitioned fully into how a scrap bin can help your current and future projects.

One of the things I forgot to mention last time. Was that you can repurpose food containers, dry food containers as part of your scrap bin. one example I have is, they have snack. The little tiny snack pack, sizes of fruit, snacks, and pretzels. They come in these very large containers that you can buy either at a warehouse or at a grocery store. And after you're done with that container. When the kids were little, I would put Legos in them and stuff like that because they had a lid on top and they were very neat. and it was just as a way to [00:14:00] keep it out of recycling or the landfills as long, as far as possible.

So that's one illustration. So if you wanted to have a scrap bin that was smaller, that you just put, particular things in of certain sizes, or if you were concerned about it getting dust on it or something like that. you could use that. Similarly. Something that I use is, I like candy and so I buy, this is so bad.

I buy very large quantities of super bubble gum from Amazon comes in 300 pieces. This is something that you would give back in the day when you could give candy to children in school. This is a kind of thing that a teacher would keep. At her desk. And, back in the eighties, we would get a treat.

And if you did something well, you could get a piece of gum. I took that, as a person, as a personal goal, apparently, and I buy them these tubs of gum. It's so bad. I admit it. But I enjoy it. And I also, [00:15:00] am able to tell myself that look, I'm really also helping the environment because like I use these as scrap bins.

I don't use them as scrap bins because as I described it, I already have a giant, lovely box that I use as a scrap bin. But these are things, these are just examples of, if you want it something smaller. My scrap band is pretty big. it is pretty sizable. And if you are a Patreon subscriber, I give you all a bit of a tour of that.

of that bin and more details about how I use it, but I'm going to go through those right now, but I'm just offering the super bubble giant tub of gum on Amazon. Actually, I will include a link to it in the show notes, in case you want to gift it to your girl or give it to yourself.  I just wanted to mention those, food containers as possibilities for, for starting a scrap bin.

and now we will talk about why you want to do that. Having a scrap bin can be very useful for current and future sewing projects. So I'm going to divide the last part of our episode today into two categories first. How does a scrap bin help you in your [00:16:00] present day project? you've pressed your pattern.

You've got it. Nice and flat. You've. You've put your fabric pattern weights down and you've cut it out. And now you have the excess of these things and you throw them in your scrap book. There's throwing your scrap bin and you are ready to start sowing first. Here's some reasons you don't want to just dump everything and get rid of it.

Here's why you want to keep it. The first thing I find that the scrap bin is used for is as a thing. Test fabric. You want to test at times you want to test some things before you start sewing and you'll need excess fabric for that. So one of the first things I do when I am trying to diagnose a stitch or just get myself set up for success, when I'm sewing is that I will take us a long narrow strip of that fabric.

And I will test the way that my needles work in the searcher. I'm really interested. Did in how the serger works on both two layers of fabric when I'm trying to use it as a seam for a garment, [00:17:00] as well as on one layer of fabric. If I want to use it as either an edge finishing for a facing where I'll just do a three thread narrow or three thread wide.

On the facing of a garment and then I'll do it again as a rolled him for something. These are good examples of why you want to keep some scrap fabric around. You can just reach into the band and for surging you'll want it to be pretty long because as you're making adjustments, you will see the stitch start to change and you'll want to end in a way that.

It's really like exactly what you want. So you'll test your seam. You'll test the flat I'm using the, using some of the scrap fit, some of the scrap stuff that you fished out of your bin. In addition to testing. the seams in the seams and the tension yeah. For your serger. It's also very good to test the stitch characteristics of it, your regular sewing machine, making sure you have the right needles, [00:18:00] making sure you are using the proper foot.

And so sometimes I will just do some sample stitching on again, a single layer of fabric and a double or triple layer of fabric. Just to make sure I had the right needles and my stitches look correct in that same vein, the thread color, sometimes a thread color. You think it's going to look good when you lay one strand on top of your fabric, but then when you do the stitching itself, you don't like how it looks.

Or it hits different points of the fabric at different times. If it's a print, these are ways that you can pull fabric from your scrap bin and bring them forward right into your present day, sewing right. For the project. And it's, this is going to be right, because it's the exact same fabric you're using for your sewing also for buttonholes.

I know that some folks struggle with buttonholes. And my machine is wonderful with buttonholes. I don't have problems, knock wood, but I do want to practice before I get to my real fabric. Do I need to have two layers of interfacing [00:19:00] in there? Just one layer of interfacing. Do I still like this thread?

Am I getting some bunching up when I go to cut the buttonholes? Should I do, should I use the fray check? Which is what I always do. I use free check before I cut them. these are just some small things that might seem like, extra or unnecessary details. But for me, they really helped me to understand what I'm dealing with.

The final thing that I'll say about how test fabrics can be really helpful is when you are pressing again, you're, if hopefully you are keeping a pretty good pressing practice for you sewing and that you're pressing your seams flattened and you're pressing them open depending on, where the scene might appear.

And you'll want to see before you put that iron down to press that dart, if it's too hot, because I have had this experience where I get like a shine on a fabric and it's because I didn't use a prep cloth or whatever. And here it is, it's the front [00:20:00] bodice of my garment. And now it has a very odd and obvious triangle shape stain on it that I'm not going to be able to get out.

Now, perhaps there is a way to remedy that type of burn, I've not spent a lot of time doing it because I've been able to go into my scrap bin and either fish out a giant new piece. And if I'm not, then I get really sad and have to come up with a whole new solution, but if you take it your fabric out of the scrap bed, just a small piece, and then, put a hot iron on it.

Don't use a press cloth, just put iron on and see what happens. And if something bad happens, then, at least it happened to your scrap and not to you real fabric. Of course, again, we should be working well. I recommend. Working with a press cloth, always having a press cloth nearby, not being afraid to use that.

That's a great preventative measure, but if you aren't going to do that yourself a favor and press that fabric first, just put it under an iron and [00:21:00] that's what the scrap is for, because if it burns, if it messes up or if it's just perfect, you had gained valuable information and you haven't lost anything.

So I've talked about the diagnostic benefits of having a scrap bin and to review is to it's good to test the thread colors, test your stitch characteristics for your regular sewing, making sure you have the right foot and the right needle size. it's great. It's great for testing the serger tension to make sure that your stitches are surging the way that you want them to.

It's good to practice your button holes and it's good for pressing, to make sure that you can test the strength, Your iron, but, okay. So what have you done? All those things? What if you make a mistake? This is another thing scrap Ben is good for, if you've made a mistake, if for some reason you went ahead and you burned something or you put a hole in something.

If you have a scrap bin and depending on how much of the fabric you buy that you have [00:22:00] left over, you could just cut a whole new bodies front. And you won't have lost anything. I think that's very helpful. Similarly, sometimes, like I might snip something at the seam allowance by accident and I will cover that little snip and freight check and then I will sometimes just so I'm like a patch over it, it sounds a little weird and a little awkward.

But because it's so close to the same allowance, it's really not very detectable and it's better than having an actual hole in my garment. The, when it comes to your current sewing projects, using the, using your scrap bin can help you prevent mistakes by making sure you have the correct tension on your search seams, et cetera.

And it can help you correct mistakes that you've made. So having a scrap bin is A bit of insurance while you, so you could say, Oh, I'm going to work on this project and do my [00:23:00] best. But if something goes awry, if something gets jammed in the machine, if something unexpected happens, you have recourse because you have the exact same material that you need to fix it.

But having a scrap bin isn't good just for preventative and corrective measures. It's also really good for making things just by itself. So yeah. Now we're going to talk a bit about some of the future projects you can make with if you save or if you save your fabric and if you keep. A really good scrap bit.

One feature project that you can do is to save your selvages this year. This is best for, there's two selvages of course there's selvages for your woven fabrics and selvages. For your knit fabrics, what saving salvage is for your knit fabrics are really good for stabilizing your shoulders for your garments.

So you can take your salvage and use it almost like a stay tape, because even if you have a stretchy fabric, [00:24:00] the salvage of that fabric. Okay. Is often unusable for some people, for some fabrics, you'll find it in a different color. Even it looks a little bit different than the main fabric. So if you're working with knits, you can use the salvage to stabilize the shoulder or any other straight place.

You don't want it to wave. So that's one example. But I was thinking in particular saving the selvages for your woven fabrics. These, I have really started to fall in love with I've been collecting selvages from, especially from quilt fabrics for years. I have. Actually a separate scrap bin, just a four.

The salvage is from quilted fabrics, or quilting fabrics or cotton apparel fabrics. Some of in the quilting world, especially some of the selvages are really. Beautiful. The salvage is have essential information. If you notice like dots of color along the salvage, [00:25:00] that's meant to help you match thread to the fabric, because it has the same dots of color.

Just like an index for the colors and the fabric. So that's one of the reasons that people, sometimes the companies will sometimes put the salvage dots along the edge of that white edge of the fabric. But there's also other information like where it was printed, who it was designed by. I believe Rashida Coleman Hale has some really beautiful, salvage edges that have like Black women with Afros on them.

Like selvages are very cool. They are just cool little mementos and documentation of your sewing. So for me, since I do a lot of, for the back to school outfits or our matching family, Easter outfits, I tend to always make those out of woven fabrics. I saved those selvages. And that is like a nice record of that garment.

My plan is you can, some people then take the selvages and they sew them altogether because when you cut [00:26:00] them, one of the edges of the selvages will not Ravel. So you can sew them very easily on top of the other and make a fabric. Salvage is this is so popular. That one fabric company, Moda, I believe, even created a fabric.

They even created a fabric that looks like selvages because quilters were so into keeping a record of the stuff that they'd made. So my plan is to one day, make, I don't know, a bag, a pillow, a chair cover one day. By sewing up all these really beautiful salads. Some of them are from quilts that I've made others are from all of our outfits that I've sewn.

So that's one thing. Yeah. I use the scrap bin for, like a memory project. Similarly, something I've started doing is making paper. Pieced versions of the garments that I make. Now, these aren't like identical versions because I don't have EQ, which is what the thing is called [00:27:00] electric quilter or electric quilt.

This is a special software that quilters and the pattern makers use to design their patterns and blocks. I don't have that, but what I like to do is if I make, for example, a four outfits. I make a dress and I make three shirts from my family. I will then take the scraps of that fabric and make a quilt block using the paper, piecing technique, use a quilt block to make a shirt.

And a, and I'm sorry, I will take the scraps of the fabric to make a quilt block that looks like a dress. And then a quilt block that looks like a shirt. And this is my kind of built in documentation of the actual dress and shirt that I've made. And my hope is that one day, if I can continue to do this, I haven't really been keeping up on pace with it because it's just a lot.

But what would be nice is to have a whole quilt made out of years, worth of [00:28:00] garments that I've sewn what I wanted to do with. First was to make it like every year, and to say, okay, this is something that I made for March. And so then I'll make this almost like a block of the month club for myself, but I don't know.

That's just something I might think about for later. But what I can say now is that currently in my sewing room, I have several really pretty quilt blocks that look like the clothes that I've made using the exact same fabrics. Of the sea from the garment that those were made. So that's been really a nice bit of documentation.

Another thing that you might find in your scrap bin are going to be long, skinny pieces. It's not quite selvages, but these are long narrow pieces that you might wonder. What on earth am I going to do with these? I mentioned before how you can use them to practice and to diagnose stitches, but something I've also had great success with is taking those long pieces and turning them either [00:29:00] into.

Straps for a garment. you could also use them if you take that long skinny piece and turn it into a tube and stitch it down on both sides, then you have this really strong ribbon that you can use for decorative elements. In other projects, you can also use them as waistbands for other projects. You could use them as facings.

So I'm particularly, I'd like to use this for facings because. sometimes the pet protect you. If you do a good job of under stitching, you're facing, isn't going to be seen from the outside of your garment. That's it should never be seen. But if you under stitch, which really does help the facing to lay down, you can use a fabric.

That's not the same. And so if, for example, you've run out or you've made a mistake, as I said before, or you just want to give it a pop of color, you can use the scraps as facings. And if you want it to be a pop of color, you can use it as a color. You could use it as a cuff. You could use it as a [00:30:00] belt.

These are all little things that you will need in to make an actual garment, but this might be another way. And that's something I've had a good time. I've had good success with is saying, Oh no, I need to get a waistband for this thing. I don't know if I have enough or a waistband facing and and then you can pull it out from there.

My all time, favorite scrap project has to be the time I made my very first pair of panties from. What I fished out of the scrap bin. So one of the great things about the scrap bin is that there is a lot of different sizes and shapes. I've mentioned about the long skinny ones that are good to be either waistbands or collars or cuffs or belts.

There's also like the big, weird square chunks. Now, if this fabric is a woven fabric, you can fold it up and it can be effect Porter, and you can use it to make masks. You can use it to make. Craft [00:31:00] projects. It can be a pocket on a purse. It can be anything, But if it's a wa a knit fabric, a stretchy fabric, that's okay.

A bit harder. It's a bit harder to make fat quarter size projects with, in my opinion, it's a bit harder to make fat quarter size projects with. Knit apparel fabrics. So I had made a simplicity pattern. I think this might've been Mimi. G's like wiggle dress with an off the shoulders. And I had purchased of a lovely peacock fabric, an apparel knit fabric.

I love peacock and it was this, four way stretch. Peacock fabric that I got from Joanne's. This was a long time ago and I still have this dress. And the way that the dress was cut, the way that a dress asks you to cut it is that because the front and back pieces are long pieces cut on the fold. It leaves you with a lot of [00:32:00] excess, there was a lot of leftover fabric, like big, huge sheets of it.

So I had just put it in the scrap bin and didn't think about it. I ran my test, say check the, what matters colors were going to be. I did all that. And then I decided to, and then I happened to do get a panty pattern. I was like, I want to make underpants. I want to just. See what this is and, but I don't want to buy it the fabric for it, because what if it doesn't work out and what, again, this is a Muslim, it is a draft.

So I went in the scrap bin and I pulled out these two pieces of this fabric. I cut the front and this is a very simple pattern. Pan is usually are it's a front and a back and a crotch in the middle or crotch line. And even if it's just the two piece panty, then there's bands that go around the waist.

Or you can use elastic the waist and the legs have either elasticized, waist, or bands, self-made bands. And I made those panties. And they were so [00:33:00] comfortable. And then that's when I got on my underwear sewing jag, which lasted until right this minute, I still love making underwear. It's just so fast.

It's so easy. It's so satisfying and rewarding. And it's like a way to keep. you're sewing close to your bones, but that was a project that really, it had its beginning in my scrap bin. And so again, having this fabric that I knew that I liked the way it felt on my body, that was, it was already pre-washed.

It was already to go that. Was, that was the way that was the time when my, that was the time when my sewing bin became a treasure chest. It really did. I fish to that. I was like out not only was I telling people, look, everybody, I made my draws. I was like, I got this out of my scrap bin. And it's who is this person?

And why is she telling me that she may her underwear? And that she fished it out of the, out of her sewing trash. that is the weirdest thing to tell another person, but. It was true. And I was just so [00:34:00] happy. I think one of the words I think they use in England is the word chuffed C H U F F E D when you're really satisfied and happy having done something.

That's what I was so chuffed that I had made these and they fit and they were comfortable. And again, that was the beginning of the lingerie sewing for me. And it all started because I took a dive into my scrap bin. So the panties were the most satisfying project that I was able to fish out of the scrap bin.

But again, there's other ways that these odd size remnants, these odd sized pieces can be useful. for me, it was the underpants. I still love that. It's also good for bras, for the same reason, because they're larger chunks, but not really useful for. Any type of other forms of apparel projects.

Similarly, if you save your tracing paper, if you're trace a piece and you put the piece in the scrap bin, or even your Brown tissue paper, you can use those when you are altering your [00:35:00] patterns, you take them and you iron them out. And those awkward shapes can be used to broaden a dart that can be used, especially for a full bust adjustment.

When you are doing a slash the slash and spread method for pattern modification, all of these things are going to require a type of tracing medium or pattern paper. And if you've thrown your scraps in the scrap men, then you can have them finally, one thing that you can use once you're ready to get rid of it.

And you're like, okay, that's enough. All right, Lisa, I've had my box for, I dunno, since 1973 and it's time to get rid of it. Yeah. What do you do then? you can check with your city and see if they, we offer textile recycling. I know that there's places like in New York city, you could drop off fabric.

there's places that take and collect fabric and you can also use it as stuffing, as filler for pillows, for dog beds, as well as for those. Cushion footstools. Now I've never made one of those footstools. I'm [00:36:00] very interested in it. People have been making them like sometimes they call like a tufted cushion yeah.

Or something like that. But if you have a lot, not, I wouldn't of course put my paper in there, like crispy paper. That's not comfortable to sit on, but your, your soft fabric pieces and you can use that to supplement any foam you might use. and that can be something that you're As a way to get rid of it as well as to reuse it at the same time.

So if you've ever noticed that. When you buy Teddy bears, from manufactured one, not like a homemade one, they'll be a tag on it that says this was made with new materials or 100% new materials. And I always wondered, like, why does somebody, why does it have to say that? apparently a long time ago, once upon a time, in a galaxy right here in the United States of America, that companies, when they made Teddy bears, they would not use Fluff like, fluff material, they would stuff them with anything. And so apparently there was a court case and this girl, opened up her [00:37:00] bear by accident and it was like floor sweepings in there and a nail and staples and all kinds of just junk. And so I'm saying this to say, That was a really terrible thing that happened to that child, but, and I'm glad the lawsuit.

And why did the lawsuit have to happen for companies to stop putting actual garbage in products that gave to children? But it does give us an opportunity to think about for us in our own personal sewing rooms. If we are keeping, as I said before, a clean scrap barrel or a scrap bin, that's not going to be filled with floor shavings and, again, ham sandwich crumbs that this can be something that could last a really long time until you're ready to dump it all out and to reset it.

But when the, when you have that big dump, but that big removal of the scrap bin, you're going to be putting it somewhere else, okay, this will be, I know for example, some animal shelters except, soft pillows, for the animals that they have there. [00:38:00] And so you can take you can make a pillow cushion.

And stuff it with your soft fabric scraps, and it'd be something that could be appreciated again, check with your community to see what the rules are about this, but it doesn't have to go to waste. And this is a great way for us to build sustainability into our practice and to think really carefully about how we take care of the materials that bring us the joy of sewing.

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group, where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at If you'd like to support us financially.

You can do that by supporting us on Patreon P AT R E O N. And you can find Black woman stitch there in the Patrion directory. And for as little as $2 a month, you could help support the project with things like editing transcripts and other things to [00:39:00] strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really help the podcast.

By rating it and reviewing it anywhere. You listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do for those that have like star rating, or just ask her a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and this stitch please podcast that is incredibly helpful.

Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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