Sewing Room Salvage
Save and Sew!
By Sarah Doyle
A collection of sewing room salvage items should be an organized
part of your sewing room. Fabric scraps, buttons, zippers,
ribbons, yarn and trimmings should be systematically saved so
you don't waste time searching for them, nor spend extra money
replacing something you have but cannot find.
Over the past 30 years we've talked about the importance of
removing all the buttons, zippers, trims and the like from old
clothes that are being discarded, and many people are doing that.
The problem comes with not having an organized "system" for
saving the items. The "box" is too small, or the "drawer" is
so full of assorted items that someone would spend the entire
day trying to "sort through" the things that were all simply
dumped into the drawer.
In addition, the fabric scraps themselves can become a real
problem - the scraps are too big to throw away (such as having
perhaps 1/4 yard or 1/2 yard extra, or nice big sections of
pieces left after cutting out the pattern), and if you do a lot
of sewing, those "scraps" can add up to a lot of fabric.
The solution to "sewing room salvage" is simple. Make a list
of the items that you know you normally save, then go to a
local store and purchase an assortment of sizes of the clear
plastic containers - be sure to get a large one for the fabric
then various other sizes for the other salvage items. Take a
day and sort through all the boxes and drawers of "stuff", and
separate all the items - zippers, buttons, appliques,lace, etc.
and put each into its own container.
The fabric scraps should be rolled neatly, then tied, and if
possible a small piece of paper attached to each stating the
approximate amount of fabric left. NOTE: if saving the fabric
from the discarded clothing, be sure that only CLEAN fabric is
saved, and I would recommend separating the used fabric into
categories, such as "denim", "cotton" or "flannel", in order to
make it easier later on, if a project requires denim fabric,
for example, all the pieces of that type fabric would be together.
When cutting buttons from a shirt or dress, be sure to string
them together, and not just dump them into the box, so it
will be easier to know exactly how many buttons you have of that
particular type when needed, and not have to dump the box and
sort through them to find buttons of the same size and color.
An empty mint container, such as an "Altoid" container works
very well for snaps, hooks and eyes, beads, and could be a
"starter" for buttons, until it gets full, and you'd need
to substitute a larger container for the buttons.
If you don't have enough shelf space to keep all the smaller
boxes together in an organized fashion, it might be a good
idea to purchase a larger box that would hold all of the small
containers. By keeping all the "salvage" containers together,
it's easy to look through them for necessary items before you
head out to the fabric store and spend money on items that
you already have.
About the author:
Sarah J. Doyle is author of over 25 sewing, craft and how-to
books, as well as author of online pattern making, sewing and
craft classes. Visit http://SewWithSarah.com
for information on books, classes, newsletters and the latest hints and tips.