True Confessions – I’m A Bin Surfer

Bin Surfing

There I am, merrily sewing away, when I give a yelp. Oh no! I was meant to cut out another facing/a second waistband piece/some pockets. Trouble is, I’ve been too efficient and all my scraps have gone straight in the kitchen bin.

I look around furtively. No one’s watching. I tip toe over to the bin and peer inside. Discarded curry? Baked beans? No, nothing too disgusting. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? I retrieve my scraps of fabric. Wave them around in the air a bit. That’ll do. No stains and the smell will go soon.

Tell me I’m not alone. I’m begging you! Or should I just give up now and pray for forgiveness?

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47 Responses to True Confessions – I’m A Bin Surfer

  1. Danka says:

    I do this all the time. Often due to regret over throwing away too large bits of fabric (they will be great for that quilt I’ll make…maybe, someday).

    I keep a little bin right next to my sewing table though for this purpose. Can recommend it. 🙂

  2. helen says:

    i admit i cant throw fabric in the bin-i even save bits of cotton!i use mine for the following-
    so why not save your scraps for-
    lighting a fire if you have a real fire
    save them in a bag and take to a charity shop-they can cash it in as rags
    crazy patchwork
    love helen xxx

  3. Alana B says:

    Oh totally! I’m often so scatterbrained I throw the actual facing pieces in the bin with the scraps and then do a weird am-I-crazy-I-know-I-cut-that-out dance until I find it. 🙂

  4. Oh no! I keep a dry bin in my sewing room with all the scraps that I’m not keeping with the odd bit of paper and packaging. Strictly no food wrappings! It lasts ages and every few months I’ll think about throwing it away but I usually just pack the stuff down and carry on using it. I probably would reluctantly dig around in a bin though – I’ve done it countless times looking for other stuff including in a communal bin!

  5. Rachel says:

    This is precisely why I have a fabric bin in my sewing room – I like to think of it as a holding bay just in case I need something….

  6. Miriam says:

    I have a sewing room bin and when it is full I take the fabric scraps and the empty reels to my local kindy. The kids only use weeny scraps so nothing is too small and the reels can be used for construction + better for our lovely earth = win and win and something there when I need more urgently 🙂

  7. FabricKate says:

    Only last week I threw out the paper pattern for a left waist band and actually thought that Simplicity had forgotten to print it. I was about to write to complain, then it occured to me to look in the bin. Bedraggled and stained I had to trace it off before I could use it. The bin beside the sewing machine is a great idea.


    (to ‘hoke’ is to rummage)

    This reminds me of one of my favourite jokes. My dad was putting up an aerial at a family friends’ house. He was up on the roof of their bungalow and their then 8 year old son came to the foot of the ladder and shouted up

    “Hi, Eugene! Have you ever been caught bin hoking?”

    Daddy replied that no, he hadn’t.

    “You must be really good at it then!”


  9. The only way is to keep a scrap box under your sewing table that is ONLY EVER for scraps. We quilters have a thing we do, which is to masking tape a plastic shopping bag to the table within easy reach of the sewing machine, Then you have somewhere to biff the scraps into, and you can tip that into the box. Teabags, crusts, crumbs, soda bottles and any other icky stuff can go in the kitchen bin.
    Every 6 months or so, I pic through my scrap bin and throw out the truly tiny bits, the rest usually go into my patchwork stash 🙂

    • Oh my word, I just realised why you put your scraps in the kitchen bin. Imagine what you’d come home to if you had a scrap box under the table, with Ella looking for trouble, as only terriers can! LOL!

  10. Patty says:

    I have to agree with the previous comments of saving up scraps – I do a lot of needlepoint as well, so little cushions, Christmas baubles and little animals get stuffed with these.

  11. Sam says:

    I avoid this by leaving all my scraps in a pile on the floor until I’ve finished whatever I’m making (and sometimes for a few days after that as well – just to be on the safe side, of course!)

  12. Sherry says:

    This is why I never throw ANY fabric away. I have an offcuts box, a tiny offcuts and a ‘you never know if you might need this tiny bit of fabric box’! Learnt the hard way!

  13. Erika says:

    Yep, Been there, done that ;). Although I haven’t yet gone as far as having to wash then before using them. Dry scraps only! 😀 I’d love to have a scrap-box like Sherry, but unfortunately my space is very limited.

  14. You are not at all alone. Clearly it’s a product of being too tidy.

  15. kokorimbaud says:

    I never knew it was a quilter’s thing, but I also tape a plastic bag to my table for all scraps and thread ends and such. Much easier to pull something out of that instead of the kitchen bin – less smelly, too 😀

  16. I have a separate bin for my scraps and I always dive into it to find a piece or two. Aways!

  17. Roobeedoo says:

    As long as it’s your OWN bin, it’s OK. But if you start lurking around the bins behind Walthamstow market… eeergh!

  18. I have a bin especially for scraps and threads right next to me when I’m sewing, but I’ll often knock other stuff off te table and into the bin. I’m pretty sure that’s how I lost my buttonhole foot!

  19. Annabel Vita says:

    Well my confession is that I’m a scrap hoarder! SO I have the opposite problem. I have a flower pot (of all things!) I keep by machine and cutting area for immediate scrapping and then various boxes around the place with scraps of different sizes. One day I’ll see sense and chuck them all out but for now…

  20. Ilona says:

    Yess! I do it all the time!

  21. I keep a large scraps bag for me and a small scraps bag which, when it’s full, goes to my youngest daughters kindergarten. I bumped into my oldest daughters kinder teacher this morning and she was wearing the Liberty circle skirt that I made her in 2011 as her end of year teachers gift. Apparently, a student had just told her that she loved the skirt. The teacher directed her to the bag of fabric scraps and said, “have a look in there and you might find an off-cut from my skirt’.

  22. What WON’T I rescue from the bin? I see it as a staging post, more than an end destination. Besides, you’re being green!

    • LinB says:

      I’ve rescued bits from the compost bin. Does that count? (Natural fibers rot beautifully, if you’ve cut them into small enough pieces.)

  23. oonaballoona says:

    i love you so much it hurts.

  24. bessiemae says:

    My scraps migrate to the floor, where they mingle with dog hair and dust bunnies. Used dryer sheets are great for removing the icky bads on the run. I do dispose of the bitty scrap upon completion.

  25. Erin says:

    This post totally made my laugh! Luckily I haven’t had to do this but I keep a plastic bag under my work table (aka my rarely used for its true purpose dining table) when I cut. Small oddly shaped scraps go in there while bigger pieces sit by my machines to practice stitching and serging on. Another bag is next to the serger where I dump the trimmings in for some undetermined purpose. (Laziness maybe?) I really should get a proper bin but I fear people might mistake it for a “real bin” and put actual garbage in it.

  26. That cracks me right up. Having a dedicated sewing room, the garbage there is pretty innocuous. I go a few months before remembering to empty it, so if I do need to fish back (I actually did for a few thin scraps of interfacing the other day) it’s okay. I think the problem for me is not being that efficient in getting rid of the scraps to begin with!

  27. CGCouture says:

    I do this all the time, BUT, my trash bin (we call them cans here?) only has sewing stuff in it. So the worst thing I have to do is pick off millions of tiny threads……on second thought, where’s that curry? 😉

  28. Mrs. Smith says:

    I use a separate (BIG) bag for my fabric “trash”. I don’t throw it away until I’m certain that I can. Meaning after weeks. 🙂

  29. Lynn says:

    Laughing with you. I bin dive too but save myself despairing over cleanliness by having a separate trash bin in my sewing area that I only combine with the other garbage after any cut garments are finished. Is it time for a separate garbage bag for your sewing too?

  30. MadeByMeg says:

    That’s why I set up my own sewing trash bin! No food scraps allowed, and I can pull out scraps to test my stitches and cut more pieces!

  31. franceparijs says:

    I actually do the opposite: my ingrained anti-waste nature prevents me from throwing many things away. Not that I am proud about that. So much so that my sewing corner is itself/ or could be called a dustbin!

  32. Nicky Hale says:

    All my scraps go to someone else for there mini hex stash, I also like to sew scraps together to make bigger pieces of fabric, generally sticking to the same fabric. I hasten to add that I do not make into garments mainly bags. Pinking shears really are a godsend!

  33. Yep, been there, done that, but usually with actual pattern pieces that got binned accidentally. There’s nothing quite like scraping cat food jelly off your facings…

  34. anne jewell says:

    does no one else go dumpster-diving? there are treasures to be had that other people throw out!

  35. Guilty and I feel no shame!

  36. Linda says:

    You are not alone..This is why I keep a bin in the sewing room where my lost bits won’t be mingled with anything smelly or mucky…Thanks for the laugh.

  37. Karen says:

    Have you seen the trailer for Kenneth D King’s new craftsy course? He started sewing by grabbing fabric that had been put in the trash. I’m sure it was a clean trashcan that only had fabric in it! Had to share since I loved the pic of you and him in NY.

  38. Nikki says:

    Yep, I do it too. I don’t have the problem of yucky things in the bin the scraps go in anymore, all our food waste goes in a green bucket now!

  39. JacqC says:

    I don’t do this any longer – I threw templates I’d painstakingly made for wedding stationery in the recycling bin and had to climb in it to get them out, lesson learnt! I craft with 2 bins and a rubbish bag – I’m like a one-woman recycling plant! Doesn’t matter where I’m crafting I use the 3 bin system, the bag for proper rubbish (food wrappers etc), one bin for paper and card, the other for fabric, ribbon etc. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve made a quick card or gift tag entirely from the contents of the bins! 🙂

  40. Debbie says:

    I have to confess to accidentally throwing my newly made tee shirt in the stinky wheeley bin about ten days ago and 24 hours later realising where it must be and having to dig it out. My excuse is my little girl had a stomach bug, had been sick over me and I was hastily clearing up and changing both our clothes, scooped up tee and shoved it in bin instead of washing machine. I have washed it and worn it since. No shame. 🙂

  41. L. Marie says:

    You’re definitely not alone in this! Me too.

  42. Amanda says:

    I do the same thing! I’m too quick to throw away my scraps, trying to be efficient and clean up after myself.

  43. Jess Smith says:

    Your scraps make it to the bin! I’m jealous! When I have the time and space to work on a project “at one sitting,” meaning I don’t have to clear away the project between work for such things as my Mom’s quilting or bread dough kneading, the scraps kinda end up on the floor until I need them. **scratches head. Or until I’m forced to clean!

  44. Sox says:

    I do that so often I have a scrap-specific garbage can and I become quite testy when others ‘help’ me by emptying it.

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