top of page

Like Rumpelstiltskin - Scraps to Gold

How Small is Small

I always enjoy finding ways to use up all of the remnants and scrap pieces when working on a project. While sewing I place 3 bowls next to the sewing machine, I don't throw ANY of the pieces away, they are sorted into three different piles.

differnet sized fabric remnants in 3 plastic bowls
Sorting remnants

The first is for the very narrow strips which will be used to create fabric beads and those that are really tiny I used to move to the pillow/doll stuffing box but now they go to the Fabric boho box and the tiny tiny pieces go to the Scrapfabric box.

fabric strips to create beads, boho fabric and scrapfabric
Strips for Beads, Boho Fabric and ScrapFabric

The second, for the slightly larger pieces which will go into the mosaic fabric box and the one inch pieces to the one inch magic fabric box. They can't be used as leaders and enders they are so small that there would not be room for a seam allowance.

pieces of fabric for the mosaic and one inch magic fabric box, small fabric pieces
Pieces for the mosaic and one inch magic fabric box

And the third for crumb qulting. The pieces will be used as leaders and enders while working on other projects.

People have been asking me what leaders and enders are.

What are leaders and enders? Leaders and enders are bits of fabric that are used to start and end your sewing on. It saves one the hassle of continuously lifting the presser foot and cutting the thread. When you get to the end of your stitching you slip 2 remnants under the presser foot and sew on them, this way creating a continuous line of sewing and are creating something else at the same time.

You are accomplishing a number of things when creating leaders and enders

Your fabric doesn't bunch in the throat plate

Your sewing thread never jams.

Your thread doesn't nest - create a bundle - under your fabrics

You are not wasting thread.

The thread won't pull out of the needle and you don't have to rethread all the time (preventing lots of cursing) and as a bonus

You are creating 2 projects at the same time.

small fabric pieces in a bowl for to create crumb patchwork
Pieces for leaders and enders

After sewing on the machine

Sewing machine
Sewing a project

take 2 small pieces from your leaders and enders pile next to you and sew them

sewing 2 leaders and enders
Adding on 2 leaders and enders

so that you don't have to pull the fabric out and cut the thread like this

Cutting and wasting threads
Cuttng and wasting threads

I also strip piece some of them inbetween working.

sewing strip pieces together
Sewing pieces together

The pile is growing

sewing pieces together

Little hands helping me to sort. She loves the colors. I am teaching her to sew and she really enjoys the no rules crumb patchwork.

Some of the scrap pieced pieces so far

The pieces are really small and I have many of them. I plan on constructing and then heavily quilting a long narrow abstract piece for one of the walls in my home.

I know that I will have even more pieces left over and those I will save for some practical projects such as zippered pouches which I always find useful. They serve as containers for many items and are great gifts to give so I always have a pile of them at the ready.

crumb patchwork pieces
crumb patchwork pieces

I looked at the pile today and realised that I had enough to create something.

crumb patchwork pieces
Leader and ender crumbs

I sorted the pieces into same sized piles and placed them on a table to the left of my sewing machine.

my sewing station fabrics on a table next to my sewing machine
At the work station

Sewed them together

sewed the crumb pieces together
Sewed the pieces together

Into one big piece

pieces sewn together into one big piece

Ironed the large piece

Ironed the fabric piece

Really small pieces this time

abstract crumb quilt with very small pieces
Abstract crumb quilt with very small pieces

Now to back quilt and bind

abstract crumb quilt wall hanging
Abstract crumb quilt wallhanging

This technique is very versatile. One can make fabric for many products using the leader and ender technique.


Fabric art
Fabric art

Bed quilts, pillows, curtains and more.

397 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Sep 22, 2023

Love them all,


Sep 22, 2023

I love that you're making new fabric out of odds & ends & really love the end product! Thanks

bottom of page