Using Remnants for MMMay Wardrobe Fillers

My name is Becky, and I am a remnant bin addict. I also keep remnants from projects. Over the years, I have amassed a collection of TNT patterns that help me keep my habit under control. Sure, there are a lot of scrap-busting articles out there, but today I’m only going to share patterns I’ve come to rely on as proven patterns and wardrobe builders.

Note: I’m 5’9″ and generally run a medium-to-large size + my usual FBA and height addition. This is important because I’m going to give you a few specifics, and your yardage may vary.


Yes, you can get a coat out of your remnants.  Not only can you use scraps to line pockets, under-collar and cuffs, but you can make a full Marion Jacket with just two yards. I had 1 yard each of two different kinds of Cone Mills denim left over from my Ginger Jeans frenzy, and made a US size 12….plus, there’s a free moto-jacket hack posted by the designer, with, you guessed it, remnants.

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This is the #marionjacket zip hack which went up on the site last night and the last 2 pics are with and without shoulder pads – YES SHOULDER PADS! DOUBLE shoulder pads in fact and I am loving it, they're velcro'd in so I can take them bad boys out any time. (#unrulyeyebrows on those close up shots) A while back @fridaypatterncompany asked if there were any #sewderinos out ther – me, I am! I have been wanting a Marion to embroider for when me and my friends go to the @myfavoritemurder live show in Manchester, but now I've made this mixed textile I don't know if I want to make it too busy with embroidery. What say you? I'm thinking bright red embroidery if I do anything, like maybe even some bright red lines through that blue weave… and in case you were wondering – #imakaren . #myfavoritemurder #mfmcreations #mfm #fangirl #murderino #murderinomaker #sewing #80sfashion #80sjacket #shoulderpads #denimjacket #jeanjacket #memade #handmadewardobe #sewistsofinstagram #sewersofinstagram #sewcialists #sewingpattern #patternhack #handmadeisbetter #isew #imakefashion #millenialsewing

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Not feeling it? What about a fleece vest? The Green Pepper patterns Plush Polar Vest only takes 1 1/4 yards of 60″ fleece for up to a large, and that is before possibly color blocking on the front yoke, front sides and sleeves. I’ve made two with the hood with less than 2 yards. It’s a super fast pattern with lots of fabric blocking options.

Wardrobe Fillers

I could probably devote an entire post to Seamwork patterns, but that might get a little too fangirl, so let’s talk about my main favorites.

Seamwork Akita is my #1 remnant buster. Hands down. I have at least a dozen. It dresses up great, you can make a matching infinity scarf for a mock-cowl, it’s a great layering piece, and I even have a few I use as sleepwear. When you see the remnant bins, and there’s a silk, linen, or voile but there’s only 1/2 yard? This is your pattern. As long as the woven fabric is a 60″ I only need ~12″ to make an Akita in a size 10. That’s without my usual FBA or any height addition. What’s that you say? There’s almost a yard but it’s not 60″ fabric? Split the pattern at the shoulder seam and it will fit!

This photo shows me in an Akita and in another scrap buster, the Seamwork Osaka, from MMMay17. There’s no hyperbole when I say I have a remnant habit. The Osaka can eat up 4 different woven remnants because it’s reversible AND has blocking! A few more Seamwork patterns: Astoria with the long sleeves in a size large can fit on <1 yard of 60 inch knit fabric. The Astoria is particularly nice when you’ve spent a big chunk of your budget on making those high waisted pants, and now need a frugal cropped top. The Savannah in a size 12 takes roughly 1 1/4 yards of woven, cut on the bias.

I can fit a short sleeved Sewaholic Renfrew, minus the waist binding, on 1 yard of knit for a size large. Ditto Seamwork Aberdeen, size large, short sleeved fits on <1 yard of knit. I got a So, Zo…. Dolores short sleeved top, size 8 because I wanted it to be tight, out of 25″ of 60″ wide knit fabric!

Also a knit shirt, the Friday Pattern Company’s Garamond top. I played a little pattern tetris, but still got a size large, no adjustments, out of 1 1/4 yards of fabric.

Don’t underestimate your ability to mix and match fabrics. I’ve got my 3rd Papercut Patterns Aomori cut out. This time I’m doing the sleeveless version, and I cut the front out of <1 yard remnant of a light, stretchy, white taffeta, and the back out of a 24″x24″ remnant of sheer white voile. Sheer is in, so take those lace and sheer remnants, and back your favorite pattern with them. You can also block your own basic patterns.

Believe it or not, that entire outfit above was just a knit top block and a leggings block when I started. I hit the remnant bins, and used less than 1 yard of every color except the blue, which I bought in two remnant bundles! Total cost for a full-body custom made block outfit including elastic and zipper was less than $30.

While, sure, the above top is a kid’s shirt, it also started as a basic knit top block, and is made entirely of leftover remnants. It’s easier than it looks. Hint: if you’re blocking with a woven, remember to stay-stitch any seams that are on the bias.

Not ready to block your own? How about hacking a favorite tank with a remnant like entropyalwayswins/Hillary’s Marimekko woven front paired with an up-cycled t-shirt back? Easy wardrobe filler, and the woven paired with the knit makes it “secret pajamas” at the office under a blazer. I’ve got my Colette Sorbetto hacked into multiple styles just for this purpose, but you can do the same with any tank that has some ease built in.

Or maybe start with Fehr Trade’s Tessellate Tee? A lot of Fehr Trade’s patterns are great remnant busters. I picked up a neon green knit remnant and made myself a high-visibility cycling tank and the Running Armband Pocket. I used the strips of leftover to wrap around the rear-handle of the kids’ Burley trailer. The possibilities are endless.

Smaller Scrap-Busting Options

Lingerie is often brought up in scrap busting, and I certainly hit the remnant bin when testing the Cloth Habit Watson Bra for sizing. I also love the Geneva underwear with the blocking option for using up scraps.

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Back of pillow #recycled denim #sewist

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But you know what I really love? Denim floor cushions. They take a beating and just keep going. While not a wardrobe filler, they sure make you feel good about that pile of worn-out jeans you know even the resale shop doesn’t want. Bonus points for using garment scraps too!

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Front of pillow. #recycle #sewist

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Lastly, don’t forget accessories.

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#sewphotohop Eye Level! 😆

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This is from Sew Sweetness Greenbacks Trio. I know what you’re going to say. All the stabilizers for bags & wallets drive me crazy and that’s more buying! All of my stabilizers have been found in smaller sizes in the remnant bins. You don’t have to break the bank here or have a whole new stash. I harvested hardware for the wallet strap above from one of the many lanyards I’ve received from work events. Other TNT patterns in this category for me are Elizabeth Hartman’s Perfect Zip Bags and Bolt Fabrics Scrappy Needle Book.  That Bolt Needle Book tutorial would be amazing sized-up as a sensory book for toddlers. Swap out the needles for some scrap fabric patches and ribbons.

When you’re going through your month of #MMMAY18, and you’re finding those holes in your wardrobe, go shopping in your remnant stash. You’ve got the skills; you’ve got the fabric. A little creativity, and you’ll fill those gaps right up.

These are only my personal TNT remnant busters. There are hundreds more out there. What are your favorites? Add them below, and let’s have a go-to resource page of scrap-busting inspiration!