Zero Waste Part 1: Scrunchies, bias tape, cushions and a pouffe!

Man, it’s been a while, eh? September was the month of vacations (we took them all last month) and then I hurt my back at the end of September and have literally been unable to sew for the last couple of weeks. Ah well – it seems to be okay now, so I’m glad to have finished off a few little projects that have been clogging up my to-do list. I can tell you I have quite a few big plans over the next few months and suffice it to say, this is going to be a winter of COATS. I have quite a few lined up, but I’ll save that for another post.


In the meantime, let me tell you that I (like many of us) have a LOT of scraps and small pieces left over from projects. I’d been meaning to sort them out forever and the combination of reading The Uninhabitable Earth at my neighbourhood book group early summer, joining Beth from Sew DIY’s fabric party (where I finally started sorting those pieces), and the undeniable fact that my sewing room was starting to resemble a stand-alone landfill pushed me into finalllyyyy doing something about it.


Scrappity scrappity scraps

There are some great lists around of many projects for which you can use small pieces and scraps. I’m particularly keen on home and environmental ones as they have a double whammy usefulness effect. Check out Jess from Broad in the Seams great lists for some ideas. I’ve found a couple of projects I’m definitely going to try, but had already compiled a short wishlist myself, so have been working through those first. I also have a couple of fantastic books in my sewing library and will be making some of their projects in coming weeks, when I’ll talk about them in more detail.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the latest four projects:

Closet Case Patterns pouffe


Working out a good arrangement

A popular one this, the pouffe. I’ve already made two of them using the free tutorial from Made by Rae (you can see them over on my Instagram feed @belle_citadel). The Closet Case pouffe is a more complicated beast – not difficult at all, but with more pieces and therefore, smaller scraps, which is ideal for getting rid of those awkward-sized pieces. It does take a little longer to put together, but it swallows a lot of scraps, by gosh. Plus, I like the thoughtful design details, considering it’s a free pattern. There’s a zip on the underside, a collection bag to keep all your scraps together and piping round the outside.


My pouffe is a predominantly black, white and red affair and you may even recognise some of the fabric from garments I’ve made this year. I didn’t have any piping that matched, so I used some black trim I had lurking about in a drawer. I think it does the job! And yes, yes, that is a Golden Snitch in the middle of the pouffe. It does two things: firstly, it hides the fact my pieces don’t all meet quite neatly in the centre and, secondly, it gets rid of another piece of crap I had lying around in my room. I have all SORTS of pop culture detritus littering my house – don’t judge me okay? I used to work for a videogame company! Lol.


So, this is not quite a make-it-from-scratch project, because these little Halloween cushions come as cutouts on one piece of cotton lycra fabric, but they certainly take quite a lot of scraps as stuffing, which was the reason I purchased this fabric from Lillestoff. It comes in a one metre rapport and you cut out the pieces, sew them right sides together, leaving a hole. Turn them right side out and stuff them merrily! Those Germans are so good at cute little projects like this – you should see their Christmas stuff!


Sooo cutteeee

I’m a Lillestoff fan I must say, (this is not an endorsement – I just like them!), and if you weren’t aware, there’s a special Facebook group for US and Canadian residents where you can order from Germany for a super-cheap shipping price. It’s quite dangerous I can tell you… but their fabric is very good quality.


There are two different sides as well!


Another great project for using up a fairly small piece that’s not quite an outright scrap, scrunchies are fast and easy and there are plenty of tutorials around. I used this one by Positively Splendid and made about 20 of the little suckers. They make great casual gifts and sew up quickly.


This tutorial gives you a slightly smaller, thinner scrunchie than the massive ones of the actual 80s. Having been a teenager during the 80s, I am happy to stick with something more subtle the second time round and, actually, they’re a little more attractive than I remember. In either case, it’s very easy to adjust the size if you’re after a more noticeable STATEMENT scrunchie.



Quick, crappy selfie, but you get the idea.

Bias tape

Bias tape is so useful and much nicer than shop-bought and I’ve made it a few times in the past. I recently made a few Shirt No. 1s and this prompted me to make some brightly-coloured tape. There are two main ways to make it: by cutting out long strips and sewing them together or using the continuous method. I use both, depending on my mood and this is my go-to tutorial for the latter by Make it & Love It


I cut out some little cardboard rectangles on which to wind the bias tape and it looks all lovely and neat in my sewing room now. An unusual and not unpleasant feeling…

One other lovely idea I came across recently was a Creativebug video with Sonya Philip where she added all the odds and ends of bias tape you’re left with to end up with what she calls “Frankenbias” – and just use it as normal. A cool idea for a unique finish!


So there we are! I have made a few other projects in the last few years that I suppose fit into this category too. You can check out Placemats and a Table Runner and a Silk Cushion off the top of my head. I’ll be back soon with some more, including a very masculine apron, some slippers and at least one bag! In the meantime, I’ve been working hard to catch up with other projects and should be back with a bona fide garment and tutorial in the next few days. Bye for now! 🙂




13 thoughts on “Zero Waste Part 1: Scrunchies, bias tape, cushions and a pouffe!

  1. I so needed this post to remind me to get myself organised. I have a mountain of scraps and being very anti-waste I throw nothing out from a sewing project.

    I love your pouf – especially the golden snitch touch – so cool! Your bias binding looks really organised too. I do make a lot of bias binding as all the commercial stuff that I can find locally is for “craft” purposes and is therefore too stiff for incorporating into clothes – being me I hide any extra I’ve made from a project in a scrunched lump at the bottom of one of my (hilariously unorganised) sewing bags.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! At least you have bags! I have a couple, but most of my scraps had spilled out and were heaped up in an uncompromising scrap mountain in the corner that toppled over every time I so much as looked at it! I’m glad the post was a motivator. I’ve been procrastinating about it for ages, but the little projects are pretty fun when you get going of course. It’s just there are so many other garment projects in the way! 😀


  2. I’m sorry you hurt your back…Hope you are feeling better! Looks like that scrappy pile has been knocked down to manageable size! Such great ideas and yes…I love your pouf too! I don’t know that I have room for one, but it might make a nice gift for a sewing friend??? ❤ Can't wait to see what you are planning for coats!!! ❤


  3. Great post! I have two large-ish baskets full of different sized fabric pieces/scraps. ( Being rather picky, I sorted the sizes into the containers.) I would love to make a smaller pouf for the official knitting chair, in the rather small living room. Thanks for mentioning all of the wonderous ideas and love your fab pictures. Being a major fan of myotis (i- what is the the plural of myotis anyway? Bats!) I am going to have to order the bat cushion from Germany.


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