Skip to content
a pile of fabric scraps waiting for a scrap busting project!

Get Creative and Upcycle Your Fabric Scraps!

Supporting mindful makers to find environmentally friendly fabrics for their dressmaking projects is at the heart of what brought Harmer & Huff to life. But what do we do with the fabric waste leftover from our creative endeavours?  Sewing can be a very consuming hobby and there can be a lot of waste from our garment making.

In today’s blog we wanted to take it a step further and share some innovative ways to utilise your leftover material, offcuts and scraps. Together we can reduce our waste by giving our off-cut materials a new lease on life! 

Here are our ideas to get a little more from your fabric purchase: 

Clothing & Accessories:

Pockets! - Let's face it, we all love pockets. Why not use your fabric remnants and scraps to create contrasting pockets, or pocket linings!


Clothes patches - Have a hole in your jeans? Patch up your holes with leftover scraps of materials to give your clothing a whole new look. 

Scrunchies, Headbands & Bows - An accessory staple these days, scrunchies, headbands and bows are a simple yet FUN way to use up those offcuts. These are great for gifts, stocking stuffers or to add a little flair to your favourite outfit. Here's a great tutorial from a favourite NZ pattern maker

Bags & Pouches - Pencil cases, patchwork bags or a cute pouch are all great ways to use your fabric scraps.  This is a way to get the kids involved and excited to design their own pencil case for school.

A scrunchie made with dress making fabric scraps

Household Items: 

Quilting - create something truly unique and beautiful for your home by trying your hand at quilting and using your favourite dressmaking scraps to make it. Nobody will have the same quilt in their home - this is something just for you! 

Bathroom supplies - Make your bathroom a little greener by making your own cleansing cloths or reusable cotton pads. A top tip for reducing our environmental impact. 

Cloth napkins - liven up your dinner table with your own homemade napkins. Cloth napkins add a touch of elegance when compared to paper napkins and they’re sustainable too!

Stuffing - save threads, small cuts and serger shreds separately and use these as stuffing for home projects (cushions, pet beds, floor pillows, door stops etc). This is a great option for those remnants that are too small to do much with. 

Art Work - You don't have to look very far on Pinterest to find ideas of beautiful art work that you can make with your fabric scraps.  You could have something on your wall that is truly unique and your style!


Fabric scraps used to make a quilting project


There are some notable organisations and charities out there that are working to reduce textile wastage. With a number of options available in NZ find a fabric upcycler/recycler and donate your unusable scraps to be repurposed.

Many schools who offer sewing courses will happily accept fabric offcuts for their students to use in their creative projects. We recommend calling or emailing ahead of time to see if this is something useful to the school.

We hope these ideas have inspired you to make use of your fabric remnants that would otherwise be thrown away! I am sure there are many more ideas out there - we’d love to hear your upcycling ideas - share below! 

Here are some Tutorials and Patterns to get your ideas sparking!



DIY Fabric Bows:

DIY headband from scrap fabric:

How to make a tote bag from fabric scraps:

Use this tutorial to make a scrap fabric pouch:

Try one of these patterns to make your own quilt from scrap fabrics:

Try out this pouf pattern, a sewing community favourite and make yourself a patchwork pouf! closetcorepouf_LetterA4.pdf

Show us what you are making:



Quick Shop