Make an Easy Serger Scrap Catcher to Stop Sewing Room Mess!

server scrap catcher

An easy serger scrap catcher will put an end to this nightmare!

My sewing area, which is on the way to the kitchen, is a terrifying sight almost every day.  It's only when I finish a project that I look around to find the embarrassing pile of scraps, paper, and thread all over the table and floor.  Sometimes I use a plastic bag or a cereal box, to catch the mess, but after a while, the bag or the box falls off the table because of the weight of the scraps and it's a mess all over again.   To be frank the plastic bag ends up being a sore site anyway and really brings down my sense of order in my humble workroom.  Since I know I am not the only one that happens to inflict this nightmare on their family members, I have decided to come up with an easy and hopefully elegant solution.

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serger scrap catcher

For this serger scrap catcher, you will need very few materials.  All of which you can probably find among your leftover fabric, so there is no need to go hunting for more fabric.  In case you do though, we've put some helpful links in the materials list.

Materials List

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Making continuous bias binding tape

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Step 1: Cutting your pattern

scrap catcherThis serger scrap catcher is designed to fit most home sergers.  Mine is a Bernina with a base which will be sitting the mat measuring a depth of 8″ and width of 11 1/2″.   You can see a picture of it in the photo.  If your serger is around this size, which most are, the catcher will fit perfectly.  The design leaves about an inch spare around the base so there is some flexibility as well.  If your serger is a considerably larger, professional model, you may have to adjust the size of the pieces in the cutting schedule below.

I have made the pattern in a simple series of rectangles with the following measurements.  You can modify this if you have a larger or smaller than standard machine. Basically, you just want to make the pattern 1″ bigger than the width of the bottom of your machine.

  • Piece #1:  12″ X 18 ”     Back/Mat       Cut 2 pieces.  One piece will be for the front and another for the back so you can use contrasting fabric as you will see below.
  • Piece #2:  12″ X 8″       Pocket             Cut 2 pieces.  One for the front and one for the lining.
  • Piece #3:  8″ X 4″         Side                 Cut 2 pieces.  As above.
  • Piece #4:  8″ X 4″         Side                 Cut 2 pieces.  As above.
  • Piece #5:  12″ X 4″       Bottom            Cut 2 pieces.  As above.

When tracing your own rectangles make sure pieces #1, #2 and #5  are the same width.

Cut pieces 1 to 5 of batting and fusible interfacing as well.  Please note the batting is optional.  I used it because I wanted to give the catcher some body and rigidity to make sure the pocket would remain open at all times to be able to catch any size scrap.

Step 2: Fuse the interfacing to all pieces

If using the optional batting, sew the batting to pieces 1 to 5.  If you are an accomplished quilter, I am sure you could make a true work of art.  Unfortunately, I'm not yet a real quilter, so I sewed lines up and down the rectangle as best as I could.  Not very impressive I know, but I am keeping my focus primarily on the practicality of this project.  From the plastic bag that I was using before to what I have in mind is already a big leap forward.xt #1-1

Step 3: Making the pocket

scrap catcherTake piece #2 and place it print side up, then take pieces #3 and #4 and pin to the sides of pieces #3 and sew 5/8″ seam allowance.Untitled design-59scrap catcherTop stitch both seam allowance and trim. This is an optional step which I have done it to keep the seam allowance flat.  It will help guide me to not trim too close to the seam.  I am finding the batting a little thick, but I am using the materials I had.

Step 4: Attach decorative bias binding to the top of the pocket

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I have used satin bias binding, but you can use cotton or a stretch lace.

Step 5: Topstitching the pocket

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Topstitch 1/4″ from the seam on both sides to shape the pocket. This how it should look at this point.

Untitled design-64Step 6: Attaching the bottom (piece #5)

mark the corners 5_8_ from the edgeStart sewing on the shortest side of the bottom.

Untitled design-65In the end, I did not line the bottom.  I only used the fusible interfacing and the batting.  Another layer would have made it too thick for my machine. If you use a very thick fusible interfacing, you will not need the batting at all.

stop at the corner

When you get to the corner, stop, and keep the needle down, lift the foot and turn the top piece around to align with the bottom one.  You are in fact pivoting the corner.

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I have used the pencil marks that I have made before to guide me so I know see where to turn the corners.

scrap catcher

Trim the corners to 1/4″ and turn the pocket right side out to topstitch the sides.

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This step can also be done at the end, but because the pocket is very thick, I think it will be better for me to do it while I can manage the size of the scrap catcher.

Step 7: Putting it all together

scrap catcherStart by sewing the sides.  I am forced to use the quilt clips you see in the picture because of the thickness of my work. Sew one side at a time. Remember to mark the corner as in step six.  The mark will help you pivot the corner.

pivot the corner

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Step 8: Sewing the bias tape

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Start anywhere where the serger will sit, miter your corner as in this tutorial.  If you don't know how to it, this tutorial will help you:

Turning corners with bias binding

The finished product measures: L 17 3/8″,  W 11″.  The pocket depth: 3 1/2″, H 6 3/4″

I am looking forward to using this scrap catcher and no more cereal boxes or ugly plastic bags taped to my serger.  In fact, I like the concept so much that I am going to make one for every sewing machine I have.  This is my take on a solution for the mess from sergers and sewing machines.  Of course, it is not the only one out there and perhaps you may not even agree with the construction.

We'd really love to see what other options and variations you may come up with.  Please keep us posted in the comments below. Untitled design(20)scrap catcher

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Anne
Anne

Hi Myra, many thanks for your pattern for the scrap catcher. I have just completed it right now and also found it too deep but could not bother to cut it down like one of your other followers/commenters. However, I would also love a video as at the end, I had a little trouble with the bottom, as I used heavy duty interfacing throughout. Even though I did this, I still lined the bottom with cardboard to make it more boxy like and make it stick out a bit. The next one, I will make a bit shorter in the pocket so less deep.

So Sew Easy
Admin
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Reply to  Anne

Hi Anne, thanks for the feedback. Feel free to post an image of your work here in the comments. I’d love to see it.

Cindy
Cindy

I completed the serger scrap catcher and love it, but realized the catcher pocket is too deep to fit my legs underneath. I kept bumping into it and pushing it up. So I took it apart and cut down pocket and backing by 3 inches and it works perfect. I made a similar one for my sewing machine (wider of course, and use the the pocket for dropping items in during sewing instead of scraps and the wider mat left room beside pocket for a slip-in place for my scissors. Love them both and they look cute all matched up and sitting side by side. Thanks for your great projects!!

pamelaebennett

This is a first for me, I have never complained about a free tutorial and hesitate doing it now but I have a friend who wanted me to help her make this. I have to do a prototype before I teach anything, I understand about your machine not handling the lining and you only used what you had but putting a half made tutorial on is not a good idea. I read the comments and one asked if she was just to put the lining together and insert it and you said yes but that will not work. Also I am surprised your threads and scraps will not stick to your polyester exposed in the pocket. I thought So Sew Easy was a professional website and was surprised they added this tutorial until it was a complete tutorial. I know this is offensive and I truly feel bad but just thought this tutorial was not ready to be published. I am now cutting out a complete new pattern and working on a way to insert the lining. I did finish your project by binding all around the mat and inside the pocket to enclose the seam but not totally happy with this look. That’s all.

ChristySD
ChristySD
Reply to  pamelaebennett

@pamelaebennett Have you ever heard the old adage: “silence is golden”? It certainly came to my mind when I read your long-winded, whiny diatribe. God forbid she took her time to develop a useful product, put it together, chronicle the whole thing in step-by-step format AND took pictures of it all. That hack! Come on. You know threads are going to stick to batting, so why not just cut a piece of lightweight cotton, like I did, and add it as your lining/back piece. Each of my 5 pieces were a little sandwich of (as it is written on the patterns I made for this project): cut 2 main fabric , cut 1 of interfacing and cut 1 of batting. I then quilted this sandwich together. I used a lightweight interfacing and since I used the last of my batting, I cheated and used some felt I had from a bolt. It worked beautifully.

What I’m trying to say is, sewing is not an exact science. We all make compromises and substitutions to fit the project we’re working on. I, myself, am thankful for this tutorial. I have been needing a catcher on my commercial serger and this is PERFECT. All of my industrial machines are tip top…..it just seems to be the pesky home machines. WHY?!?! Instead of pointing out what you feel she did wrong, how about just simply saying “thank you”. Are you so incensed over her tutorial that you have to point out the inequities of it?

THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL TUTORIAL. There, I did it in all caps so it comes from both of us.

snseol

I’m not understanding why your having to cut 2 pieces of 1 through 5. As in your directions and pictures I’m not seeing the second pieces being sewn into the serge catcher. I’m only seeing the front fabric side and batting side – not understanding where the second fabric/contrast is being sewn in. Please clarify when to sew in the second fabric/contrast pieces of 1 through 5.

Jo Neddo
Jo Neddo

Thank you for sharing this pattern. I used a reversible quilted fabric. I’ll be making covers for my machines using the same fabric. Very easy to put together.

Belinda Brinson
Belinda Brinson

in the measurement are you using inch or centimeters not sure

Jojo Sewist
Jojo Sewist

Your finished product looks great. But
I could use a little more directions, please. I followed and with help of pictures figured out the pocket. But at pc1, you got in a hurry to finish, “put it all together.” k Is (pc1 the back), stitched to the pocket with edges of its sandwich unfinished or has it first been turned inside out by stitching lining on
as you did with pocket. Hope you understand my question as I really want to make this scrap catcher.

Picot Stitch
Picot Stitch

I’m currently trying this pattern and I have 2 of everything only it doesn’t say what to do with it all? I am not good at reading between the lines if that’s what I’m supposed to do, sorry but maybe a video would help us beginners, thanks

Johanna B
Johanna B

I can only download the instructions but not the pattern it self. I keep seing references to the pattern being at the end of the instructions but alas, nothing to print, no pictures even. I have followed all possible instructions but no luck. What am I doing wrong?

Jean Olinger
Jean Olinger

Love the pattern… thank you! I tried it!

Nancy Rubin
Nancy Rubin

Oh help! I have finished two mat pieces, two pocket pieces (sides attached) and two bottom pieces. All pieces have both stabilizer and canvas (canvas instead of batting for structure). I’m supposed to attach bias binding to the top of the pocket but I have two pocket rectangles (each made from piece #2 with #3 & #4 attached). In the finished photo, your pocket does not look lined. What did I miss?

Patricia Pope
Patricia Pope
Reply to  Mayra Cecilia

So either I just wasted all the lining material or I have to figure out how to line after adding the bias tape pert your instructions. I am an advanced sewer but use patterns exclusively -,not intuitive. Could you help us out here – I don’t even see where you tell how to attach the back. I’m sure the few missing steps would not take much of your time and would be worth the goodwill. Please give the steps needed!!

Sylvia Tearle
Sylvia Tearle

Just made this, excellent photos to assist with construction. I twisted two pipe cleaners together and inserted them into bias binding around top of pocket to hold shape and only used fusible interfacing. Already had a request to make another. Will add a belt loop with same fabric as contrast bias to inside pocket at top to hold a pair of small scissors. Thank you for another great sewing make.

Mary
Mary

Just wondering how to cut a 12″ x 18″ rectangle out of a 1/4 yard of fabric/
-Mary

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[…] found a free pattern at So Sew Easy and took my sewing machine on its maiden voyage. I would say that it wasn’t quite like riding a […]

carol dombroski
carol dombroski

I can’t pull up pattern for serger catcher!!!!

can u send me pattern??

Char MacRae

Hi Mayra, I am somewhat new at sewing and am having trouble understanding the lining part. Should I stitch the lining so as to sandwich the batting in between the outer fabric and the lining fabric? What impact will not using the fusible webbing have? Is it just to keep the pieces together better while sewing? Thanks so much!