Have you ever wondered what we do with printed fabrics that don't get shipped out to customers? There are a couple of possible fabric fates depending on the circumstances. Sometimes a fabric order doesn't come out looking exactly the way we think it should because of headstrikes, blurred areas, flaws or mill seams in the fabric itself, or some other issue. (We once printed a piece of fabric that had a flattened fly adhered to the surface. When we discovered this later and removed the fly, there was an unprinted, fly-shaped silhouette left behind! A really interesting flaw, but a flaw nonetheless.)
When we see these sorts of issues crop up on a piece of printed fabric, we send the piece back for reprint and add the flawed piece to our scrap pile. Our scraps eventually get sent to a fabric recycler who shreds the yardage into tiny, unrecognizable bits. These bits then get used for all sorts of industrial applications like car upholstery and furniture stuffing, bedding, and flooring. (I have no idea exactly how flooring might be made from shredded bits of fabric but this is what they tell us!)
As for the pieces we print to photograph for our weekly emails, many of these go into our fabric archives, expanding rapidly now that we've begun printing all ten top vote getters in our contest rather than just the number one design. If we print and sew projects to photograph for our contest emails, as we did for our recent plushie and skirt contests, these projects also get archived or used to adorn our office. Some extremely stylish mannequins live in our foyer these days, and plushies are scattered all over the office–very handy for entertaining our kids when they come with us to work!
One thing we do not do is give away fabric you designed. All of us here at Spoonflower feel strongly about your ownership of your designs. When we ourselves get a hankering for a particular fabric, we take advantage of our three free yards of fabric per month benefit and place an order through the system, just like you do. Additionally–and for better or worse–we turn down the frequent requests we get to purchase bulk scraps or to donate them. Lots of Spoonflower customers might be totally ok with their scraps getting donated to a good cause but many might not and we completely respect that.
Any questions about all this? Please ask!