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

  1. Burnetta Bennett says:

    I have sewed the pocket part, but….I never saw any instructions on where to add the lining? Do I just make another pocket from the lining and lip into the outside pocket???

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Brunetta, yes that is what you do, I never did put any lining because I wanted to be able to see when the pins drop. Otherwise, I will be buying pins every other week. However, if this is not your concern, by all means, do make a lining.

  2. Megan J Tuffley says:

    I note that my previous comment hasn’t been published. I have a workaround for my problem. I’m going to bind the seams on the right sides.

  3. loiseau says:

    voila genial plus de dechets parterre que du bonheur bravo

  4. AuntBinCO says:

    Its amazing when the answer to a problem can be found in your stash! You all are amazing to find the answer for the rest of us and share it. No wires, ample size, probably will find I have all necessary materials when I clean up my sewing area, and simple to make. I appreciate all of your projects, especially the free ones and thank you for being so accessible. AuntBinCO

  5. BJerles says:

    This is just what I need for my serger! I have been using a plastic bag or trying to keep a small trashcan in front of me on the floor. Doesn’t work too well.
    Thanks so much!

  6. Margie says:

    When i printed the instructions the pattern was not there
    how do i get that

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Margie, the pieces are simple rectangles so there is no need for a pattern. Please read through the start of the post again to see how this is described. Let me know if you still need help. Kind regards and happy sewing, Mayra

    • Jackie says:

      Me too. I just downloaded the pattern today from Craftsy. 🙁 Jackie

  7. Laura says:

    As usual, your design is spot on for the purpose and the tutorial thorough and clear, many thanks.

    • Pat says:

      I made a scrap catcher 20 years ago..I had a friend draw the rear end of a horse, painted the outline and used yarn for the tail..then I painted this on it: TAIL makes me laugh every time I use my serger.

  8. Cheryl Masters says:

    You are great! Thank you for this. How did you know I needed to get started on cleaning and organizing my sewing space, just as soon as I can find it. As usual, your timing is just right to give me a boot in the butt and get me going. XXXOOO

  9. Margie says:

    Hi how did you know I was cleaning and sorting my sewing room this week!! Thank you for the serger catcher and advice on the sewing threads……just what I need to do😃👍🏻 Thanks so much!

  10. Sue Williamson says:

    This looks fantastic. I really love it. Going to make one, just need the interfacing. Thanks sew much!

  11. Zuzannah says:

    I give up, sweeping everything off the sewing table: I. Will. Sew. This. Catcher. Now…. Funny how projects which would be most helpful in the studio are the next to last things to be made!

  12. Great tutorial and cute bag! I made up my own and would suggest using fabric that is slippery, as in coated with a slick clear finish so your scraps don’t get stuck on the way down.

  13. Lucinda Veeck Gosden says:

    Thank you! I just sort of did my own thing after cutting the pieces, and simply serged the edges (guess I’m too lazy for binding…), but it works wonderfully. Put a plastic insert, cut from a food tray, inside. I appreciate you taking the time for a tutorial! Sorry, can’t see where to post a photo.

  14. Jenna Howell says:

    Am I missing something, I got the sewing instructions, but no pattern? says it will print at the end of the instructions but nothing. Great idea, i need this for sure

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jenna, you have to draft the pattern with the dimensions given on the article. Please have a look at the instruction son how to do this.

  15. Mary Jane Fields says:

    Thanks for the pattern. May I suggest keeping that plastic bag to use as a liner – it eliminates the need to lift the serger to empty and replace the catcher and threads and fabric will not stick to it .

  16. Tora says:

    Love this idea and thank´s for the pattern, I´m going to make one for myself and my serger.

  17. Peggy says:

    Great idea! However, when giving measurements, you give the width first then the height. You have them mixed up for some of the measurements, but not all. As a result, one ends up wasting material and recutting material because the patterned fabric is sideways.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Peggy, thank you for your feedback. I will have a look and make the measurements consistent. I am still learning about teach which can be very hard sometimes. I always assume people know what I am talking about. Kind Regards,


  18. Elizabeth Martin says:

    good organizer .

  19. Janis Garrison says:

    I will give it a try I purchased a hard plastic one but find it is in the way so don’t use it.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Janis, yes, this one is soft so is easier to work around. Let us know how you go. Good luck!

  20. Amelia Davis says:

    A fantastic idea!! I sew in a room with carpet on the floor, which makes getting strands of cotton hard to get off the floor. I have also devised another idea for those strands that stray from the cutting table. I use a lint roller with the removable sticky papers. As I hate bending I push the lint roller on an old paint roller, add the stick and voila – does a great job!!

  21. Sabine says:

    What a great idea!

  22. This lòoks really useful. I think I would line it in some way though, maybe with something smooth or plastic. I can imagine how difficult it would be to empty and pick all the bit off the interfacing! Lovely idea . Thank you.

  23. Nell Jean says:

    That looks so pretty. I took a Tyvek mailing envelope that something came in the mail in, boxed the corners so it would stand upright, turned it inside out so the label doesn’t show, turned down a cuff and set it nearby. Yours is much, much nicer.

  24. Lori M. says:

    Good idea. I will make one of these for my serger and main sewing machine. but instead of using batting I will use plastic canvas inside a pocket…gives more shape to the box…I have used the plastic canvas in my car trash pocket I made…Thanks for the tutorial…..

  25. Karleen says:

    Brilliant!! Thanks for sharing! It is going on my list too. I love being reinded to keep things in my sewing space workable AND beautiful. I am excited to see how other’s efforts turn out too!

  26. This is great! My serger has a thread catcher but it’s sooo small! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow evening that features your tutorial: –Anne

  27. I haven’t even opened my box with the serger yet, but I already know I need this! What a great idea!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      The most scary thing about your serger is the mess it makes, looking forward to your take on this project. Cheers!

  28. Teresa says:

    Why I haven´t think in something like this?. I am going to make it just now. I have done the cover for sewing machine and Serger with old jeans, I have a lot of them yet. And I was thinking in making the pocket in oilcloth as lining, I have it too. It is steady enough: jean and oilcloth. Do you agree? Thanks again.

  29. Jan Major says:

    I will make one of these!! Thanks so much!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      That’s great Jan. Please let us know how it turns out. Perhaps you can send us a pic of the finished product?

  30. Elizabeth says:

    This goes on the to do list right away. I may use boning at the to of the ends to keep it open and then not use batting. I have done similar things in the past with boning and been very pleased. If I do that, this may just become a project for a junior seamstress in the house!
    Thanks so much!

  31. Margaret says:

    I’m going to give this a try!

  32. Lieve says:

    This is great! Thank you! I’m currently using a plastic bag underneath my surger but this is way more attractive 🙂

  33. Val Clements says:

    Thank you for this awesome pattern. Love it 😉 thanks for sharing. Love So Sew Easy.

  34. Natalie says:

    My first reaction when I saw this post was “Duh, why didn’t I think of that!?!?” It’s brilliant! Talk about a time (and mess) saver. This is definitely going on the top of my “to sew” list. Of course, my cats will not appreciate it – they love waiting for the falling scraps to play with! Thank you so much for this great idea!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Ha, ha, ha!!!! I can only pictures your cats catching the scraps, I think you have to make a toy for them now.

  35. Beverly Schurfeld says:

    Thank you soooooo much for taking the time to share this with us !! can not wait to get going on this. I sure needed this Thanks again for all your work..

  36. Franceca says:

    Great idea!!!

  37. irsister7 says:

    I am loving this! I’m sure I have fabric left (I hope) from Debby’s serger cover pattern I made so it would be nice to have a matching set. It will probs take ages to find it because the Spring cleaning has begun ?. Thank you for sharing the best pattern I have seen so far Mayra.

  38. Sue says:

    What a brilliant idea. I’m off to raid my stash right now.

  39. Louise McClain says:

    I love it Thank you I will be making me and I my sister one

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