Scrap Fabric Society: What to do with fabric scraps?

Selene Gibbous

Do you have a tote, box, or even a closet over flowing with scrap fabrics? Over the years one of the most frequent questions I'm asked is where/how to get rid of fabric scraps!I have always taken them in, despite the fact that our textile recycling programs do not accept fabric less than 24'' x 24''. This isn't an issue that only plagues crafters, quilters, or seamstress alike- this is an issue that has to also be dealt with in large scale manufacturing.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit with eco-designers, the NYC Department of Sanitation, and representatives of the NYC Garment District in efforts to create a solution to this scrap problem. There are mandates in place for production waste that frequently go ignored due to various factors- no one following up, building codes, logistics, etc etc. It's frustrating to see so many people who truly want to the right thing but don't have the resources at hand to make it happen easily. I recommended that we connect the fabric waste (mind you this sizable waste is much more then comes out of our home studios) with women's shelters in the area- provide on site training- and pass on not only a viable life skill but allow the organizations to sell/profit to help fund their programs. Not only was this solution great for the designers who can now say 100% of their materials are used and or repurposed, we're cultivating and strengthening our own communities, and keeping usable materials from our waste streams. 

This all brings me back to you- and your fabric scraps. What do you do with them? Of course there are so many fun scrapbusting projects, you can sneak scrap bits in with plush filling, create your own altered journal, or supersize them into a sweater seat! I always suggest you check with local schools (especially art teachers!), quilting guilds, and mixed media artists. Check out this list to find a Creative Reuse Center Near you. I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this- did you know that you can compost organic cotton, hemp, wool, silk, linen, bamboo viscose!? Just snip or shred those scraps into your compost bin, just remember to remove any tags, buttons, and zippers first!

Your time is valuable and so are your scraps! I hear your request and decided to take a first step at creating a wide scale solution. It's a modest effort but with your help we can develop it into something that really works. I started an account on Instagram: ScrapFabricSociety. I'll be using it to connect scrap fabrics with anyone and everyone who would like to use them and/or get rid of them. My posts will include any materials that have been collected through TrashN2Tees programs and offered to followers for FREE (just pay the shipping) I encourage everyone to use the #scrapfabricsociety and post scrap bundles you're wanting to get rid of too! I'll repost and make sure everyone gets to see it.

Like I mentioned it's a small effort but scrap lovers are out there and I want to help you find them. I would love your help creating a list of organizations or programs that might take in scrap materials- post any you know of in the comments below!


Popular Posts