Garbage Cuffs

20180201_133010.jpgI am a messy sewist, a fact which I mean to rectify. Leaving little piles of scraps on the floor after cutting a project, I’d push them off to the side or under the coffee table, to wait for re-use or rubbish.

In the spirit of change, after cutting out all the pieces for a long-sleeved shirt, I gathered my pile of scraps and put them haughtily in the kitchen trash.

The fabric was a flannel remnant and the scraps remaining were few – there was no point saving them.

I set to constructing the shirt over the next 2 week nights.

Night 3 rolls around and all I have left to do is attach the sleeve cuffs. Gleefully applying interfacing to the cuffs, I’m increasingly excited to have a flannel shirt of my own. 1 cuff piece…2 cuff pieces…..


where’s the-


I only cut 1 set of cuffs. And my irreplaceable scraps were in the kitchen trash- UNDER kitchen trash.

For a few moments, I sat horrified. There was no more fabric, there was no saving this. I had a shirt with only 1 sleeve cuff.


I rush to the trash can, swallowing my pride. Open the wooden trash cabinet and I can see the scraps. They’re somehow, luckily, magically, not filthy.

After staring at them for a long moment, I snatched them from the trash like a sneaking raccoon, offering them up before my iron.

I crank the heat and steam settings and cut the cuffs out of the scraps, trying not to touch them too much. There’s barely enough left, the cuffs crookedly cut.

The steam rushes from my iron, hissing on full blast. I steam them over and over, then one last time to fuse the interfacing.

Cautiously I sniff the cuffs. They don’t smell; they’re not even dirty.

Success! I finish the shirt and give it a little extra washing before letting it live in the closet.

It’s one of my coziest shirts. 2 Winters of wear and going strong. I think of it as my Garbage Shirt.


I don’t pitch my scraps until a project is done. Instead, I neatly fold them up and keep them in my sewing case until I’m finished.

It’s a Hannah Montana compromise, best of both worlds. The scraps are off the floor but not in the trash.

And I don’t have to resort to garbage rescues.

Thanks for reading!

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