BIG FABRIC HAUL! — and How to Deal With Other People’s Scrap Fabrics #Fabric #FabricHaul

Figure A shows a large see-through plastic bag, filled to the brim with a variety of scrap fabrics in different colors and textures, including both prints and solid fabric colors. Figure B is a close-up of the price tag from the oversized bag, showing $7.99 for what the tag has labeled as "Hard Goods." The date on the tag is September 13th. The word "Red" also appears on the tag as a classification method, and there's a scannable symbol for the cashier to use.
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Recently I discovered an enormous plastic bag filled with scrap fabrics at my local Goodwill second hand store. What a find!

It was almost all cotton fabrics, with just a few flannels, felt, and lightweight denims thrown in. All but one of the printed fabrics were small-prints in a variety of colors.

There were Christmas fabrics, itty bitty polka dots, and ginghams. Woo-hoo! I was in Hog Heaven! And the whole bag was only $7.99!

In Figure C, scraps of fabric have been sorted into piles for washing. On the top is a load of whites; in the center is a load of reds; on the bottom of the photo we see pinks and purples piled up together. In figure D, a pile of green fabrics have been placed in a zippered lingerie bag, which will later be thrown in the wash.
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The down side to buying fabrics from people you’ve never met before is that you don’t know where the fabrics have been. Were they stored in an attic where mice may have chewed on them? Did the family have indoor animals who left pet hairs on the fabrics?

And since I make my fabrics into doll clothes that children will play with, it’s important that my fabrics be sanitized before I begin working with them.

So as you can see in the Figure C and Figure D images above, when I got home from the Goodwill, I sorted my fabrics by color and placed them in a mesh lingerie bag, so they could be washed. You won’t know whether or not the fabrics are machine washable, and you won’t know if they’ll shrink in the wash. But sorting them by color will help prevent them from bleeding in a way that damages other garments, like white shirts.

Figure E shows Chelly Wood's hand holding a wadded up ball of white flannel fabric that has tiny little red polka dots. Figure F shows tiny hairs and threads embedded in craft felt that has been washed and dried, and the felt has a bumpy texture instead of a smooth, soft texture, having pilled in the wash.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

When you wash fabrics in a lingerie bag, they will come out of the wash all wadded up (see Figure E), and often they don’t dry properly in the lingerie bag either. That’s why, in Figure G (below), you can see that I take them out of the lingerie bag and spread them out on a table to dry flat immediately after I wash them.

Furthermore, cheap craft felt will usually pill (see Figure F above), and some fabrics will simply be damaged beyond repair if they were “dry clean only” fabrics. However even though I know I may lose some of the fabrics, if I don’t know the second-hand fabrics’ history, I still feel it is very important to wash them on the “sanitize” cycle in hot water before I make these fabrics into doll clothes or other playthings.

I try to keep this in mind when buying second-hand fabrics at a yard sale or second hand stores. The price needs to be fair, even if some of the fabrics are not salvageable after washing them.

Figure G shows fabric laid out on a table to dry. Figure H shows a long thin scrap of fabric that is quite frayed.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Vintage fabrics can be quite thin and threadbare, like the little white floral fabric you see above in Figure H. For the teeny-tiny bits and pieces I just cut those away from the larger chunks of fabrics, but I don’t actually throw these in the trash.

In my sewing area, I keep a bag of thread tails and fabric bits, which I use for stuffing pillows and plush toys, so any loose scraps that aren’t much use to me after washing will get cut into strips and thrown in with the tiny scraps and thread tails.

Why buy nylon fiber fill when you’ve got an abundance of fabric scraps and thread tails?

On a blue cutting mat, a bright yellow and pale green fabric are tied together with a yellow ribbon, to form an incomplete "fat eighth bundle" of fabric on the left hand side of the blue cutting mat; and on the right hand side of the blue cutting mat is a fat quarter of bright Christmas green fabric that's labeled 100% cotton. The green fabric is dotted with tiny specs of cotton fiber fill or white bits of lint.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

In my recent second-hand store fabric “haul,” I discovered a couple of little gems! The green fat quarter on the right hadn’t ever been used, and on the left you can see that I added a pair of fabrics from a pre-cut quilter’s bundle to my stash as well.

Even these must go through the wash, I’m afraid… Maybe I seem like a prude, but if I don’t know where they’ve been stored prior to their arrival at my house, I always wash them, just to be sure they’re clean and ready for children to play with whatever I make them into.

This particular bag of fabric also had two surprises. I’m not sure what these were (see image below), but they appear to be a finished creation or sections that were meant to be used with some other finished creation:

There's a long thin strip of blue floral-print flannel that has been double-stitched on all 4 sides, and sticking out the short end of the strip of fabric is a coin-sized loop of black beading elastic. There are two of these strips of blue floral fabric, looking exactly the same, one laying on a white surface directly above the other, with loops at either end. They're shaped a lot like a bookmark, with the elastic loop sticking out what would be the "top" of the bookmark.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

If you happen to know what those little blue floral strips were meant to be used for, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

I washed these too, and if I can’t think of a better use for them, I’ll use them as bookmarks!

Last but not least, I iron my fabric scraps for good measure. I’ve found that if I skip this step and leave them all wrinkly in the fabric cupboard, then I never seem to feel inspired to use them. Ironing them makes me more likely to feel inspired to put these fabric scraps to good use!

The image shows a hand-made ironing board with cover. The website where you can find the patterns for both the ironing board and it's cover is displayed: This ironing board is made to fit 1:6 scale dioramas or dollhouses.

If you enjoyed this blog post, and you’d like to see my videos, you might want to navigate over to my YouTube channel, ChellyWood1 to look through my playlists.

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For anyone who would like to expand their dolls’ wardrobes, you should really check out my “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course and my “Design Your Own Doll Pants Patterns from Scratch” classes on the Creative Spark online learning platform. Here’s my bio page on their website, where you can learn more.

This image shows four rows of artist's renderings of doll clothing items. The top row shows four different styles of pants. The second row shows four different styles of shirts. The third row shows four different styles of skirts. The fourth row shows four different styles of dresses, with skirts in long, short, and mid-length styles. The text reads at the top, "Classes in Doll Clothing Design" followed by this paragraph: "Have you ever wished you could create patterns of your own? Click on the links to Chelly's online courses below, to learn more about her paid courses in doll clothing pattern design techniques."

For any class on Creative Spark, you don’t have to follow a schedule. Just sign up when you’re ready.

It’s a one-time fee for the course, and there’s no specific time limit to finish your course. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you. So go check out my paid courses on Creative Spark, using this link.

As always, feel free to pin, like, or tweet about my free patterns and tutorials.

To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.

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*Please note: when you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include Amazon, JoAnn Fabric, Etsy, and the eBay Partner Network. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. To learn more about how my website uses affiliate marketing, please visit the website’s Privacy Policy page.

Chelly Wood and the website are not affiliated with any of the doll or toy companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly enjoys designing her doll clothes to fit a variety of dolls. To learn more about the doll companies mentioned in today’s post, please visit the doll or toy company’s website.

3 thoughts on “BIG FABRIC HAUL! — and How to Deal With Other People’s Scrap Fabrics #Fabric #FabricHaul

  1. I agree with washing fabric that you get from thrifting. If you got it from me, wash it again! I’m an unofficial cat rescuer and there are cats, cats everywhere. The best case scenario is cat hair. And nobody wants litter box paws on their doll clothes. Your fabric may look clean, but you don’t know.

  2. I made something very similar to the blue strips. Add a button and you can turn them into can koozies if they are big enough. I didn’t use them very long because my husband said they looked like sanitary pads! Lol. But I thought they were really cute!

  3. I always have to wash second hand things too before using. I sometimes instead use Rubbing Alcohol, put into a spray bottle & sprayed thoroughly onto the fabrics or items. This will kill bacteria & viruses, but is safer for delicate fabrics.

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