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40+ Ideas for Using Up Knit Fabric Scraps

17 ideas for sewists' stockings! Small gifts to tuck in; a roundup of sewing stocking stuffers.

Ideas for using up knit fabric scraps are hard to come by – most of the projects using up scraps call for woven fabric. I love sewing with knits, which leaves me with lots of scraps, and I try to keep my trash can as empty as possible. So often when I’m reading blog posts or in Facebook groups, people urge one another to “just pitch it!” if scraps are smaller than 1/4 of a yard. DO NOT THROW SCRAPS AWAY! At the very least, give them away on Freecycle or Craigslist (or your country’s equivalent). If you’re ready to make things with them yourself instead, read on for lots of ideas!

I’d love to hear any others I might have missed, I’ll happily add them to the list and keep this as a continuously updated post. Inspiration is everywhere – Alabama Chanin actually has a sofa made from knit scraps, you have to see it!

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1 Use them as “fabric” and sew a pattern that is specifically made for upcycling and/or using up knit scraps, I have a huge list in this post.

PDF Patterns for Upcycling & Using Up Scraps

2. Give them away! Freecycle, Craigslist, or local Facebook groups are all great options for getting rid of free stuff. Beginning sewists, kids, or other creatives will be happy to pick up your garbage bag of scraps and keep them out of the landfill.

3. Make shoelaces! There’s a fun tutorial on Tidy Mom.

4. Use them for applique! Don’t forget there are lots of options, traditional, reverse, & free motion (here is a great intro to Free Motion Applique on Free Notion). I share a bunch of free applique patterns in this post.

Free applique patterns

5. Make a softie – like this stuffed balloon animal from Little Inspiration.

6. Add a peplum – see some fun examples on Pattern Revolution.

7. Chop them up and use it all as stuffing! This can work for softies, bean bags, and pillows.

using knit fabric scraps as stuffing

8. If the scraps are 100% cotton knit, you can compost them.

9. Sew headbands! There are a ton of free tutorials for both adult & kid sizes, I tested 4 adult ones that I loved.Β  Radiant Home Studio has a free downloadable pattern, too! Sara came up with 5 different ways, for kids, too!Free Headband Patterns - Tested

10. Make a necklace, A Beautiful Mess has a tutorial.

11. Sew some mittens or a cowl! Filles a Maman has fun patterns for them.

12. Make socks – Me Sew Crazy has a free pattern & tutorial.

13. Baby beanie hats are perfect for knit scraps, I tested four free patterns in this post, on my son.

Free slouchy beanie hat sewing pattern

14. Sew long strips together to make “yarn” and then crochet or knit with it! Here’s a tutorial, on Creative Jewish Mom.

15. Use scraps & fusible transfer to make a pattern, like argyle – Melly Sews shares a pattern & tutorial.

16. Play games with the scraps! I shared two ideas in this post.fabric scrap games

17. Take the tiniest of scraps, add wash-away interfacing, sew, and make a whole new fabric! Call Ajaire shows how, in this clever post.

18. Sew undies! Kids or adults – Greenstyle* is one of my favorite designers and their pattern(s) are on my “to sew list”.

19. Replace your cotton balls with reusable fabric squares! I use the white for my face, with toner, and the grey with coconut oil, for eye makeup remover.

20. Make a patchwork maxi skirt, like this one from A Vision to Remember.

21. Make infinity scarves! There are lots of different versions out there, Serger Pepper has a scrappy tutorial.

22. Slice up scraps, sew them on to a spare sock, and make yourself a DIY duster – I have two that I use all the time.

knit fabric scrap and sock duster

23. Make a scrappy teepee! See one fun version on Instagram.

24. Make dog toys, like Alicia from Felt with Love Designs

knit dog toys

25. Donate them to Goodwill! Most Goodwills shred low quality clothing and fabric and resell it to textile recyclers (it gets turned into insulation) to raise funds. Call ahead and make sure they accept rags for shredding, if you want to be sure!

26. Use them for pockets! Pants pockets, shirt pockets, hoodie pockets. Behind the Hedgerow has 10 fun tutorials all listed for different pocket styles – some are shown in woven but could be used with knits in such a small spot.

27. Sew some legwarmers /babylegs – I heart naptime has an easy tutorial!

28. Do a collaborative art project with your kid(s)! I saw this in a Facebook group – basically the kid picked which scrap went where and sewed it on. How fun! (photo courtesy of Brittany Ivie)

knit fabric scrap art

29. Get crafty! Wrap scraps around a votive, like this from DIY Crush.

candy corn knit tutorial

30. Add Mod Podge and create fabric scrap wall art! I shared a fun version in this post.

fabric scrap art

31. No pattern needed, sew a stripwork skirt with this tutorial from Jonie/Knot Sew Normal on Sew McCool.

32. Colorblock! Nienke wrote a great tutorial for Upcraft Club on adding colorblocked shoulders to a pattern.

color blocked shoulders

33. Twist it all together and make fabric twine! My Poppet shows you how.

34. Make knit fabric flowers! Make it and Love it has an easy tutorial.

knit scrap fabric flowers

35. Make a rag rug, Artistic Endeavor 101 has a tutorial.

36. Make doll clothes! Knits are great for doll clothes because you don’t have to finish the seams. There are all kind of dolls and doll clothes patterns; I’ve only made some for Only Hearts Club dolls, shared here.

37. Make bean bags – the ultimate kids toy. If your knit is thin, do a double layer. Squishy and fun to play with. I like to fill all my “bean bags” and softies with poly pellets* so they can be machine washed still.

38. Use them as an extra stability layer for inserts snaps, reinforcing them.

39. Make t-shirt yarn and roll it up into decorative yarn balls, adding texture to your shelves. See an example at Alabama Chanin.

40. Make heart handwarmers – I shared a tutorial & pattern for a pair using sweaters and old tshirts, but any knit fabric would work well.

DIY Upcycled Heart Handwarmer Tutorial - use up wool scraps and upcycle yourself the perfect Valentine's Day gift or Christmas stocking stuffer!

41. There aren’t many knit fabric softie patterns, Funky Friends Factory has some tips on using interfacing so stretchy fabrics can be used on any softie.

42. Knit those scraps together, for a sparkly scarf, as seen on Craftster.

43. Make a drawstring bag with knit fabric, In Color Order shares a tutorial for a shoe bag in knits.

44. Sell them! People sell bundle envelopes of knit scraps often – sell them on Etsy, Ebay, Instagram (#thegreatfabricdestash) or in a Facebook group like Knit Destash.

Beginner friendly quilt alert! This is a fun and easy Craftsy class that I'm reviewing, to make your own quilt-as-you-go applique monster quilt.

45. Make a quilt! All those monster faces are made with knit fabric scraps- see what I thought of the class, in this review post!

Looking for a five minute, fast and easy fabric craft? No sewing needed - these DIY bookmarks are a great way to use up knit fabric scraps. Look no further for a Mother's Day craft that kids can make, let them pick out the fabric and help glue and then you drill the hole and add the tassel!

46. Make quick and easy bookmarks! Tutorial here at Swoodson Says.

47. If doll clothes aren’t your thing, what about plastic animal clothes? This is a cute idea for making winter gear, at This Heart of Mine.

48. Make a cute earwarmer with this pattern from AppleGreen Cottage!

49. Take your fabric scraps in to H&M’s recycling program and get a discount!

Not sure what to do with knit fabric scraps? Don't throw them away! I have a huge list of ideas for using up knit fabric scraps of all sizes with scrapbuster tutorials and recycling tips.

This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. So many great ideas. I need to show this one to my daughter. She’s always looking for inspiration and projects to use up my scraps. Thanks for including my headband pattern! I just made two this week (undocumented KCW sewing) after I shortened two polo shirt dresses into tops. The skirt part I cut off was perfect for headbands, and I made 3 in about 15 min.

    1. Of course! I need to make some more for myself, my last batch has been through the wringer thanks to postpartum wispies. I have fond memories of digging in my Mom’s scrap bin, so fun that your kids enjoy doing the same πŸ™‚

  2. What a great round-up! So many wonderful ideas. I have a full load of knit scraps… Now I know what to do with them. πŸ™‚ I mean, something else either then headbands. πŸ™‚ Thanks for including my headbands tutorial!

  3. I just found your blog from Pinterest and this post caught my eye, it is true that most these kind of lists are for woven fabrics and I too sew a lot with knit fabrics. I have couple boxes full of knit fabric scraps in all kind of interesting colours, the woven scraps are a bit more boring as the knit fabric scraps are left overs from kids clothing. Great tips! I also share your passion for these scraps, I think they make much more interesting clothes than just taking a full virgin fabric and sew a basic shirt. I can’t throw anything away,the smallest ones go to a basket that will be used one day as filling for some plush toy or pillow, the slightly bigger ones to a box where I look if I need something for application and the biggest scraps are the ones that can make for example full front part for kids’ shirt. Bigger than that I consider as just fabric but I have bought few scrap bags and they have included “scraps” like 60cm x 50cm, that’s not a scrap, you can do almost anything with it! Now of to read your blog, it looks there is plenty interesting things to read. πŸ™‚

  4. I use long strands cut into two 38″ pieces, find large buttons with two holes, halve the pieces and thread through holes, wrap all jersey strands around wrist, bring looped ends up and around button to secure. Loose ends become ‘fringe’ which hangs down.

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