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What are Fabric Remnants?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Jewellian — On Dec 10, 2013
@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.
By SpecialBug — On Dec 09, 2013

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.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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