Crafter creates business from scraps

Mary-Anne Collins works on her newest "scrap purse" product in the workroom of her shop Magical Scraps in Breckenridge, Colo., Thursday, Feb. 29, 2009.

The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 5:15 p.m.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. The fever to create can lead people in the most unexpected directions. Take Mary-Anne Collins, 35, a craftsy gal who sat at her first sewing machine when she moved to this ski resort town 13 years ago.

"I was dying for someone to teach me how to sew," she recalled recently.

After her first lesson, Collins began sewing, and selling, fleece hats and other wearable art.

A business was born. Today, after years on the crafts fair circuit, Collins marks two years as the owner of Magical Scraps, a boutique tucked into a lower-level corner of Breckenridge's Main Street shopping area.

It may be hidden, but the store cannot be missed. Collins' colorful creations fill the windows and spill onto the walkway.

"The store does pop out of that corner ... with all that color," admitted Collins. "It's a weird little spot."

Collins also sells her wares online and at Etsy, an online marketplace for handcrafted goods. She continues to peddle her crafts at summertime weekend markets, too.

Magical Scraps is filled with T-shirts and baby onesies that Collins has embellished, as well as scrap scarves, belts and hats. She includes the handmade crafts of Etsy colleagues, including purses and jewelry. It's a store that offers both handcrafted clothing and inspiration.

"I have a lot of people on a daily basis who walk in and say, 'Oh my God! This is the cutest store in town,'" said Collins.

"People are way into the whole handmade thing," she said.

Collins' initial inspiration came from Mary Engelbreit's "Home Companion" magazine, which no longer is published. She is inspired today by the fabrics she works with, such as those by designers Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry and Anna Maria Horner.

"I've always liked bright, vibrant colors," she said.

Collins agreed to share the directions for her brightly patterned "scrap scarf," a big seller in her store and available online.


Scrap Scarf


  • Fabric in 4 or 5 coordinating colors and patterns
  • "Minky" fabric for backing, 6 inches wide by 60 inches long (also known as "minkee," an ultra-soft, microfiber fabric; chenille or flannel will work as well)
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing machine thread in coordinating color
  • Rotary cutter or sewing scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing needle


1. Cut out 15 fabric squares, each 6 inches wide. Vary the lengths of the squares between 3 and 7 inches (to give the scarf a patchwork look).

2. Sew the squares together in a row, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance on each side, until the scarf measures about 60 inches long (you might not use every square).

3. With the finished "scrap" front and the Minky fabric backing, pin right sides together, and sew around the edges with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave one short end of the scarf open.

4. Turn the scarf right side out through the opening, and press (make sure to press the open end closed). Top stitch the open end closed.


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