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.
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.
- 1/2 yard of fabric to match your furniture or taste.
- 1/2 yard of contrasting fabric. I am using a leftover scrap of linen.
- stiff fusible interfacing.
- batting: the thinnest you can buy (optional)
- 2 yards of 1″ bias tape. Follow this tutorial to make your own: Making continuous bias binding tape
- sewing machine
Fabric Recommendations from Fabric.com
Step 1: Cutting your pattern
This 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.
Step 3: Making the pocket
Take 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.Top 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
I have used satin bias binding, but you can use cotton or a stretch lace.
Step 5: Topstitching the pocket
Topstitch 1/4″ from the seam on both sides to shape the pocket. This how it should look at this point.
Step 6: Attaching the bottom (piece #5)
Start sewing on the shortest side of the bottom.
In 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.
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.
I have used the pencil marks that I have made before to guide me so I know see where to turn the corners.
Trim the corners to 1/4″ and turn the pocket right side out to topstitch the sides.
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
Start 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.
Step 8: Sewing the bias tape
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:
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.