What are Fabric Remnants?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Fabric remnants are sections of fabric that are left over from runs of fabric at productions facilities, as well as portions of fabric scraps that are left after a project is completed. Remnants can range in size from a couple of inches all the way through to sections that are several yards long. Often, these fabric pieces are either discarded or sold at a discount, and can be used for a number of creative projects.

Fabric remnants refer to the pieces of fabric that are left over after a project is completed.
Fabric remnants refer to the pieces of fabric that are left over after a project is completed.

The use of fabric quarters for a number of craft projects is a time-honored tradition. Fabric remnants are a necessary component in the craft of quilting. In fact, the origins of the activity came about as a way to use scrap pieces of fabric in some sort of useful manner. Using a wide variety of mismatched remnants, quilters would create a wide range of designs for a quilt top, using the discarded sections of fabric from garments that were no longer usable. The so-called crazy quilt is a popular example of the eclectic use of fabric remnants, since the design calls for scraps of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Fabric remnants may be used to make a crazy quilt.
Fabric remnants may be used to make a crazy quilt.

While fabric remnants were once mainly collected from worn clothing, there are a number of outlets today that sell them. Fabric stores often mark down sections of fabric that are leftover from a previous season, especially when there is not enough left of the fabric to use in a standard pattern. These discounted fabric remnants are ideal for crafters who are looking for specific colors to use in some sort of quilting design, or to use as a fabric background in some type of decorating project.

Along with fabric shops, there are also businesses that sell fabric remnants in large lots. Generally, these are fabric pieces that are the end cuts of large lots produced at the factory, overruns that are left after an order is filled, or sections of fabric that cannot be sold as first quality for some reason. Generally, these lots are sold by weight and can include remnants of all sizes, colors, and shapes.

Using a wide variety of mismatched remnants, quilters would create a wide range of designs for a quilt top.
Using a wide variety of mismatched remnants, quilters would create a wide range of designs for a quilt top.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

Jewellian
@SpecialBug: I love the idea of making a baby quilt from remnants, but even a larger quilt that requires various colors throughout would be a great use for remnants. Vintage cotton fabric remnants for a "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt for example, would be ideal. No two quilted fabric swatches need to be the same.
SpecialBug

The quilters I know love cotton fabric, because it is breathable and easy to work with. How great would it be to find cotton fabric remnants to make a baby quilt. Not a lot of fabric would be needed and a remnant could provide just the right amount.

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