6 Soft furnishing sewing projects & how to find fabrics on a budget

Making your own soft furnishings is one of the easiest DIY projects to tackle for your home. Here's a round-up of simple sewing projects (and some no-sew ones too!) that'll help you update your decor. Plus, I've shared some thrifty ways to get hold of suitable fabrics too...

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If you know how to use a sewing machine or can sew by hand, the possibilities for making your own soft furnishings are endless. You could make cushions, throws, curtains, storage accessories and even try out upholstery.

That said, you can also carry out many of these home decor projects without needing to know how to sew at all – you could use fabric glue or hemming tape to seal the seams rather than stitching them.

Adding soft accessories can help you to completely update the look of your room without having to redecorate – think adding a pop of pink to a white bedroom for Barbiecore style, or bringing sunny yellow cushions into your neutral living room during the summer.

Recycling with reupholstery

Often I’ve spotted a secondhand chair or stool with a lovely shape but I don’t particularly like the colour or texture of the existing upholstery. If you’re willing to have a go at making a new cover with your sewing machine, you might be able to upcycle it into something you’ll treasure.

Upholstery fabrics are a little different because they’re often thicker and more durable than dress-making fabrics to withstand years of use. Plus, it’s a good idea to get a fabric with fire-retardant qualities if you’re using it on an armchair or sofa.

That said, I don’t think I’ve ever bought full-price fabric, so there are deals to be had if you know where to look. Check your local haberdashery shops for discounts on end-of-roll fabrics or shop for wholesale fabrics online to get the best bargains on upholstery fabrics.

A while back, I was lucky enough to find some original Ercol daybeds secondhand on Gumtree but they needed new upholstery. It would have been £700+ for the covers so I decided to try doing it myself using fire-retardant upholstery fabric.

I’ve shared the step-by-step guide to upholster an Ercol daybed on my blog so be sure to check that out if you’ve got foam chair bases or sofa cushions to upholster.

Plus, I upholstered a foam topper to turn a coffee table into a footstool – with absolutely no sewing required at all. I used the same upholstery fabric to create a cohesive look in my mid-century-style living room and I really like how it turned out.

Plus, we’ve occasionally even been able to use the coffee table as a bench for extra seating now that it has a padded top.

Low-cost cushions

If you’re only making a small project, such as a cushion or some bunting, you don’t need much fabric to complete the task. Therefore, you might be able to upcycle a t-shirt or a cotton shirt within your project.

I’ve previously turned a t-shirt into a cushion. The top no longer fit me but it had a cool studded skull design on the front and a plain back. I was able to just cut off the sleeves and neckline and sew it up into a square cushion cover. This gave my bedroom a gothic Halloween vibe in October without looking too spooky!

I’ve also done a similar project using knitted jumpers. This is an easy way to add textured cushions to your living room – there’s nothing nicer than a chunky cable knit to make you feel cosy! Plus, if you use a Fair Isle jumper to DIY a knitted cushion, it can create a slightly festive look that’s ideal for winter.

Seasonal sewing

I love to change up my interior for the seasons – which you can probably tell from my previous projects – but this next one takes it to another level. I’ve created festive-themed cushions for my Ercol daybeds!

The cushions are actually red on one side to coordinate with the original foam mattresses but, on the back of the cushions, I’ve used fabric in a festive pattern.

In fact, the fabric was an old Christmas-themed double duvet that I hadn’t used in years. I cut off the front (saving the gingham back to repurpose as a tablecloth!) and used the Fair Isle-inspired stag pattern to give my cushions a festive feel for the winter months.

Using an old duvet is a great way to get a large quantity of fabric to use in your project, making it handy for dressmaking, curtains and blinds or tablecloths. You can sometimes find secondhand duvets in charity shops, along with curtains that could be repurposed for upholstery.

If you manage to find some velvet curtains in the charity shop, you could turn them into some traditional festive decor. Not only could you make seasonal bunting and opulent cushions, but you could also use the fabric for wrapping presents.

Plus, I’ve shared 3 no-sew ways to make your own Christmas stockings so I hope you’ll have a go at making these ready for Christmas Eve.

Let me know what other hacks you have for sourcing low-cost fabrics to upcycle into your home sewing projects in the comments below. I’d love to hear what soft furnishings and seasonal decor items you’ve DIY’d yourself and please tag me in your pictures on Instagram @Cassiefairy so I can see your projects! 🙂

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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