Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Dilemma of Home-Dec Scraps

When I started sewing 12-plus years ago, one of the designers I was particularly taken with was Amy Butler. At the time, she had just a fabric collection or two under her belt, and her lines were exclusively home-dec weight. That was fine by me; back then, I sewed exclusively bags and items for my new house.

Now, years later, I can add quilter to my sewing resume, and I’m pleased to work with a lot of AB’s quilting-weight cottons. But home-dec yardage and scraps from projects past still lurk in my stash, and I rarely know what to do with them.

While plotting a bag for Audrey, a fellow quilter who blogs at Hot Pink Quilts, it occurred to me to consider those long-neglected home-dec fabrics.

Here’s the final product. It looks suspiciously like a Sew Together Bag, doesn’t it?

Admittedly, the easier plan would be to hit my LQS for some new Tula fabrics. Audrey has a soft spot for Tula. She also likes bold colors and large-scale prints. I found three different coordinating prints from AB’s Nigella line in my scrap bin, though. They weren’t a slam dunk for Audrey, but I was willing to take a chance and see where these fabrics took me.

(Please note that, yes, I made her a Sew Together Bag. It is my seventh. Let’s not dwell on that fact. I can’t bear to write more about sewing STBs, and you’re likely sick of reading about them! For my thoughts and insights on constructing STBs, you’ll have to read my previous posts: Michelle: 1, Zippers: 0; Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday; Auction for Eleni; and Second Verse Same as the First.)

My first task was assembling the bag exterior, and I was thinking patchwork. By getting creative with my cutting, I made it seem as if I was working with a greater variety of fabric. I think it works!


Deciding on the interior fabrics was harder. I would have to supplement the fabric on hand with a coordinating print or two. The challenge is that AB has a distinctive design aesthetic, and her home-dec fabric has a sheen and substance that quilting cotton doesn’t. I didn’t want to wimp out and use solids, but I wasn’t sure what my other options might be. I ended up adding a pink from Basic Grey’s Fresh Cut line, a quilting cotton, to the mix. I considered toning down the palette with a denim (too blue) or a linen (too blah) until I realized I had some of the denim-linen blend left over from my Cargo Duffle Bag. Yes, please!


The result is girlie and summery. It reminds me of cut-off jeans and halter tops and handkerchief-wrapped ponytails. It’s not how I envisioned this bag in the beginning—it’s funny how each decision in the process of creating can take you closer or further from your original plan—but I like it. And as the lone female in her household (oh, how I can relate!), Audrey may need an infusion of girliness right about now.


Even after this project, I have sateen—both yardage and scraps—hanging around my sewing room. I’m plotting a big ol’ beach bag with some of that fabric (the pink Scrumptious I recently scored on sale will line that project), but I’d love to hear your suggestions on what I might do with the rest of it. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and Finish It Up Friday ...

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16 comments:

  1. Great bag! I keep seeing this pattern, but not sure I'm brave enough to give it a try. I hope she likes it.

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  2. I have zero home dec scraps, so I'm not going to be of much help. Picnic blankets and pillows are the only things that come to mind. But the bag is super cute! And very Audrey. :D

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  3. I have the STB pattern and hope to make some soon. I love your fabric choices!!

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  4. Having made a couple of stb (but love them and will cheerfully make more) I used a canvas/ heavy weight cotton I had mistakenly bought on line. Rather like home dec I loved the more structured shape it gave this bag over quilting cotton and fusible webbing.

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  5. Absolutely gorgeous! Audrey is a lucky duck. :)

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  6. Great idea for scraps! I have a ton of voile and lawn scraps from clothing. I'm just hoarding them until the right project comes around. I don't know what that will be, though!

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  7. Great bag and a great use for heavy weight fabrics.

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  8. The result is perfect! I love this bag, the colors are so pretty and girly! Well done and keep making them...

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  9. Every time I see a STB, I think that I need to make one too! Love what you did with this one, Michelle. I'm sure Audrey will love it too!

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  10. Lovely bag. I still have a few of Amy Butler's Nigella fabrics left too. Not sure what to do with them as well....

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  11. Great way to use up those special scraps and I'm sure the girlies will be appreciated. - at least no one else will be borrowing it! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

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  12. Not sure if your big on doing charity things but touchy feely lap quilts using such fabrics might be an option :)

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  13. I just bought this pattern last week for this zippered pouch and will be starting my first one soon. Hopefully, it will look as gorgeous as yours. Karen

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  14. Love the peek of denim on the sides! Another great job on this pattern!

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  15. Well, if you are "into" doing a few charitable projects, home dec fabric scraps make GREAT quilts for shelter pets! Just use them up like regular quilting cottons and make small (14-20" square for cats' up to 40" square for dogs) quilts. Don't want to use your good batting for shelter pets? Simple...just use an old towel or blanket in the middle. I've also been known to use mattress pad covers (found for a dollar at thrift store) in place of batting. Or, you can just lay out your old batting scraps. Or, if you don't mind using a zipper for a shelter pet, make a zippered pillow case so to speak and stuff it with your littlest batting scraps. I make these all the time and the shelter loves receiving them. These items (I call mine Table Scraps) provide both emotional and physical comfort for animals during their transition

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  16. I am dying for a Noodlehead Super Tote but scared to actually make it myself! I love the bag you made for Audrey super cute and so her!

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