Save All Your Scraps – and the Environment, Too!!

Blogger: Carol Makielski

As quilters, we generate a LOT of fabric scraps, thread bits, and batting trimmings – and often hate to throw them out. We save them for a scrappy quilt, practice sandwiches, string quilting, etc., etc. How many bins and bags do you have under beds, in closets, or sitting around your sewing room? I have a solution to help reduce your clutter, ease your guilt, and put your quilting waste to better use, too.

Local thrift shops will often take ALL your quilting and sewing scraps to sell to a rag maker. They sell these textile scraps by the pound, keeping the stuff out of the landfill, and getting much-needed funds to support worthy causes. The rag maker then uses all the fiber to make rags to sell. It’s a win all around!

What kinds of fiber will they take? Fabric scraps (large or tiny, cotton or synthetic), selvedges, thread bits (amazing how these add up), batting trimmings, remnant parts of blocks, and your practice “quilt sandwiches.”


It’s amazing how quickly these scraps add up! I keep a plastic grocery bag near my sewing machine and cutting board, and everything goes into it. I also collect scraps from quilters at quilt classes and retreats, and from my friends.

Do you make T-shirt quilts? All the unused T-shirt trimmings can go in the bag. Elastic worn out on the corners of your old fitted bed sheets? Put those in the bag. Broken zipper on your jeans? Worn or torn sleeves on a shirt? It’s amazing how quickly these scraps add up! Bag ‘em!

Now that you’ve collected all this stuff, where can you take it? Here are a few examples; there may be others in your community. When you drop it off, be sure to tell staff that it’s for the rag maker, so they know where to put your bag(s).

Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, 3500 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor 48104 (across from Arborland Mall). Open 10-4, Mon. – Sat. There is a drive-up donation door behind the store, making it very convenient to drop off donations. Just follow the signs and ring the doorbell. Proceeds benefit many local organizations.

Salvation Army, 1621 S. State St., Ann Arbor 48104. Enter from Stimson Street, on the north side, and drive around the building, following their donation drop off signs.

Goodwill Ypsilanti, 3782 Carpenter Road, Ypsilanti 48197. Store is located across from Meijer, and behind Discount Tire, on the west side of the road. There’s a drive-up, donation drop off door on the left (south) side of the building.

One final note:

The reason I mention the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop (AATS) first, is that it’s very convenient to bring your scraps and drop them off after our GAAQG Saturday morning meetings. Since the AATS is open until 4 PM, there’s plenty of time to attend a SafeHouse sewing event or other guild activity and swing by AATS before they close. Or, ask a friend to drop them off for you. If there’s room in my car, I’m happy to do it for you!


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This post was written by Kathy Schmidt

1 Comment

  • Ann C. Ward says:

    At our guild in PA we had a member make kitty beds with all our scraps and then donate them to animal shelters.

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