Scrap Catcher Tutorial

Today I'd like to share a very useful tutorial for those of you who sew. I'm also linking up to Young House Love and Bower Power's Pinterest Challenge. Check it out here to see all the other awesome DIY projects! If you're unfamiliar with the challenge, here's the scoop: pick something you've pinned on Pinterest as inspiration, and then make something of your own. Simple. Here's the image I pinned a few weeks back:

You can find the full tutorial for this exact project at Always a Project.

While the storage aspect is originally the reason I pinned this photo, I started thinking a bit outside the box about all the other things I need for my studio to make it easier to work in. Someday I'd love to make a really big version of these bins with a huge embroidery hoop that I can hang on the wall to hold all of my scraps that are too big to throw away but too small to fold into my organized fabric stash.

But that was much too literal to be able to also do a tutorial for this post, so I'll save that for a later date. "What else do I need right now?" I thought... and bam! Scrap catcher popped into my mind. And what exactly is a scrap catcher, you might ask? Behold:

I initially thought maybe I could make one with an embroidery hoop like the project I pinned, but I quickly realized that wouldn't lay right at my sewing table. So a few modifications in structure, size, color... and I'm ready to share the tutorial with you!

If you sew, or most especially, serge, you probably know exactly what this is for. It doesn't take much for my studio to look like a tornado blew through even if I've only sewn one thing! This scrap catcher is going to be a lifesaver. Clipped threads? I put them in the scrap catcher. (Which is especially useful when you have cats who think anything stringy must be delicious... I guarantee this project is way cheaper than a vet visit) Excess fabric cut off from the serger? No need to use that dinky piece of plastic that came with the machine... I've got a scrap catcher. Clipped the corners before turning a project? Stick 'em in the scrap catcher.

So on to the good stuff! Here's what you'll need:
• 10 x 16" Exterior fabric
• 10 x 12" Fabric (Same as exterior) for the base
• 10 x 16" Interior fabric
• 10 x 12" Pellon Craft Fuse for the base
• 10 x 16" Craft Fuse for pocket (optional)
• Sewing machine, coordinating thread, pins, scissors... all your typical sewing supplies.

And here's how you make it:

1. Fuse the interfacing to your 10 x 12" piece. One it's fused, fold that piece in half so you have a 10 x 6" rectangle. Sew along the long edge (I used a 1/2" seam) and one short edge, clip the corners, and turn inside out. You should have one raw edge left.

2. Fuse your exterior fabric now if you choose to do so. I skipped this step as I thought my fabric choices were sturdy enough on their own. Take your 10 x 16" exterior piece and fold it in half so you have a 10 x 8" rectangle. Sew only along the open 10" side. Do the same with your interior piece.

3. Press open your seams, and press both 10 x 8" rectangles flat so that the seam is now in the center of the piece instead of the side.

4. Turn your exterior fabric right side out, and insert it into the exterior fabric tube (Do not turn the interior fabric- it should be wrong side out)

5. Sandwich your base piece (10 x 6" fused rectangle) in between the interior and exterior fabric. Line the raw edge up with the raw edges of the pocket and pin. I made a mark in the middle of my base piece and lined that up with the seam of the interior and exterior fabrics. From inside to out it should be exterior fabric (right side out), base fabric, interior fabric (wrong side out.)

6. Sew a 1/2" seam around the entire circular edge. I made sure to back stitch as I went over the base edges to reinforce the structure. I find it's best to use the free arm on my machine for this part, as if sewing a sleeve onto a shirt.

7. Pull the exterior fabric over the circular seam you just made so everything is right side out. Then turn again so you have one long rectangle of wrong side out fabric, interior and exterior, with the base rectangle flap inside.

8. Sew a straight stitch (with the existing seam in the middle of the rectangle) on the remaining raw edge of the exterior piece. Clip the corners.

9. Do the same thing on the interior piece, except leave a small opening in the middle, about 3 inches. (Stitch where you see the dotted lines in the photo above) Reinforce the opening by back stitching the ends closest to the opening.

10. Turn your entire piece inside out through the small opening you left on your interior piece. Fold over the edges of the opening and use a straight stitch to close it up. (Stitch where you see the black dotted line in the photo above)

11. Push the interior piece down inside the exterior piece, paying attention to push all four corners out appropriately.

12. Line up the top edges of the interior and exterior fabrics (you may need to press this) and again using the free arm on your machine, stitch all the way around the opening. Be careful to not catch the base piece as you make your way around the back.

13. Set up your serger or sewing machine with your new scrap catcher and make something! The base slides under most machines easily and the weight of the machine will keep it in place. When it's full, flip it inside out over a trash can to dispose of all the threads and tiny scraps inside.

This is such a simple tutorial, I bet you could finish one for yourself in no time! The only thing I might have done differently in hindsight is add a button and button hole as I've found that it wraps up pretty neatly and the button would just be convenient:

A few tips:
I used a silky polyester for my interior piece. When I go to empty out threads and fabric scraps into the trash, they don't stick to this fabric as easily as they might to something cotton.

You can make the opening of your scrap catcher hang open more if you make the base width (the part that sits under the machine) narrower. I'm ok with how mine is, as I like that it also keeps my white sewing table clear of threads and fabrics. You could always chop off an inch or two and see what happens! 

The best part about this project? Zero additional dollars spent. I already had all of the materials I needed in my studio! I'd love to see the scrap catchers you make from this tutorial so be sure to send me photos or links.

Pinterest Challenge image via YHL + Bower Power, Embroidery hoop storage image from Always a Project, all other images © Clever Betty. Be sure to check out the other two participants posts: Michelle and Megan. The Pinterest Challenge is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Pinterest, just sharing love for what the site provides with the rest of the Challenge participants!


  1. This is such a fabulous idea! Great tutorial as well.

  2. I'm just learning to sew, but I'm pinning this just in case. I love the fabric you used!!

    1. Pin away Elisa! I do hope you'll come back and check out sewing tutorials in the future- I'd love to help you learn!

  3. Such a lovely idea! I always have thread everywhere. Hope to use this in the office/sewing room.

    One of these days I will learn how to surge.

    I made a $5 Drum Shade if you wanted to check it out:

    1. Thanks, T.D.! I hope you'll share how yours turns out. Love your drum shade... also needing one of those for my studio so you may have inspired another project for me!

  4. Great idea! Thanks for sharing

  5. I love this Lauren! Very cute and practical idea plus the no-cost thing is always nice!

  6. Just made one of these for myself. Easy and fun and it was done in no time! Now, I'm making one for my friend whose birthday is coming up. Mine was the test run, and now since I know what I'm doing, it will be a piece of cake! Thanks for the tutorial -- it was very clear and detailed.

    1. So glad you enjoyed making it. I hope your friend loves it, what a nice gift!

  7. Just got my first over locker so made myself this scrap catcher today :-) Will hopefully be tidier as a result.

  8. Thanks for the tutorial. I boxed the bottom at about 1/2" and added a band inside to hold scissors.


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