So this month I’m sharing the first of my ‘Scrap-Buster’ patterns. I don’t know any sewist who can bear to throw away scraps of fabric… after all, you never know when it might come in handy! You might notice that I used the word ‘sewist’ instead of ‘sewer’ – I prefer the term for two reasons – firstly, the first definition in the dictionary for ‘sewer’ is:

noun: sewer; plural noun: sewers

1. an underground conduit for carrying off drainage water and waste matter.

… and secondly we are crafts-people. Artists who sew. Therefore we are sewists.

Even if you are new to quilting and sewing, you will find that you very quickly build up a stash of scraps that aren’t really big enough to do anything with, but are too good for the recycling bin. I’m talking about all the little bits that are left over when you cut out your blocks, the leftover length of binding from the last quilt you made and that strip of fabric you trim off of your backing before you bind. Scraps.

I love going through my scraps. Each little piece of fabric brings back a memory of a quilt made or the person it was made for. Some sad, but mostly happy. I do try desperately hard to keep my scraps tidy, but if I’m working on an appliqué I end up with bits everywhere and because I’m usually in a rush to tidy up afterwards, they all tend to end up in one big box together. Starting a project like this has encouraged me to be more organised with my off-cuts so I have colour sorted them into clear plastic bags to make life easier.

Although the theme for this month had to be hearts for Valentine’s Day, I did ponder over what we could make that would be a little bit different. I wanted something that the beginner could learn something from but also that the more experienced sewist would also enjoy making. And most importantly, something we would all enjoy looking at!

I settled on this little patchwork pincushion that has a little twist – apart from the little pocket to carry your embroidery scissors, there is a magnet on the underside so that it can be stuck onto your machine (if you have a metal casing) but more importantly if you drop your pins on the floor, you can very easily and quickly gather them up again.

Having an abundance of fabrics to choose from, I went with red, white and pink but this cute little pincushion would look great in any colourway. It would also make a lovely gift with the scissors and some pearl headed pins (my best friend has one coming her way for her birthday but shhh… don’t tell her!)

All in all, it took me about an hour to make this – but I am very quick – I would give yourself and afternoon to sort (and stroke) your fabric, decide on trimming, cut, piece and sew.

You can download the free step-by-step pattern here. Have fun!


  1. Carol Lightburn

    What a lovely little project. I’m with you on scrap storing – I think it stems from my early playgroup leader days when we had to gather resources from everywhere and make the most of what we had (no money to buy things). I still ‘hoard’ to recycle now. Another thing to try – exciting.