I really enjoy finding a new use for things, so when a friend of mine was getting rid of an old sofa it was too tempting. Even though the sofa itself was broken, the fabric on the back and sides of the sofa were as good as new so I thought I would be able to use it for a future project. Unfortunately, the fabric on the cushions had pretty much gone, so I couldn’t reclaim that, though I think I can probably make use of the cushion pads themselves. I was pleased with my haul, but now have to come up with some ways to use the fabric, which gave me the inspiration for this post.Before I started this project, I did not realise how versatile upholstery fabric is. At first, I was really scratching my head trying to work out what to do with the fabric. To start with, the best I could think of was using it to recover some dining room chairs or make some cushions. Of course, it is perfect for those projects, but I wanted to do more so carried on researching and gradually found some excellent projects. Here are my ideas; how many I will put into action I have not decided yet, but I hope you will be inspired and try some of them yourself.
Table runners and placemats If you did decide to recover your dining room chairs, you might want to turn some of the fabric into a runner for your table. Depending on the type of fabric, you could also make some tablemats. These are all straight line sewing projects, so most people have the skills to complete this project. If the fabric is machine washable, you could use it for a tablecloth.
Covering books and bookmarks A friend of mine has used upholstery fabric to cover a few books. She did it as a decorative experiment to give her bookshelf and room a different look, and it works really well. When I saw the covered books, I realised that you could make bookmarks from fabric too and I’d like to combine this with my pom-pom bookmark DIY tutorial to make a really crafty project.Bags and wallets This kind of fabric can also be used to make bags. You can use it to cover an old clutch bag or make a laundry bag from an off cut. It is also possible to make a wallet or purse from this fabric and some cardboard.
Oven mitts If you have some heavy-duty fabric, you can make some oven mitts. You will need to sandwich some fire retardant foam between two layers of fabric and will have to check that the heat of a dish will not scorch the fabric. This is a project I’ve been working on – I’ll be sure to share this on the blog soon!
Soft toys and pincushions Most upholstery fabrics lend themselves to being turned into soft toys – remember my Red Ted sewing project last month? I made my teddy bear from a thick curtain fabric, usually used for making blinds. This was so easy to use as the fabric didn’t fray at the edges so it was easy to construct fiddly pieces from this tough fabric. It is also good for pincushions, and you can never have too many of these can you?
The best type of fabric to use Not every upholstery fabric is suitable for every job. If you are covering something a medium weight fabric is best, but for a seat base, you want to use a heavier fabric. For projects like the oven mitts and soft toys, it is important to use fabric that can be put through the washing machine.
If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them so please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy.