No matter how carefully you calculate the different fabrics you need for a sewing project, chances are there will always be a little leftover. Plus, it’s always good to order extra to be on the safe side! If you have a box of fabric scraps piling up, there are some great projects you can try to make the most of them. As well as reducing waste, these sewing ideas provide quick and satisfying results.
1. Rag rug
Making a rug rag has to be one of the best ways to use up small pieces of leftover fabric. With no need for a sewing machine, a rag rug offers a fun and relaxing activity you can do in stages.
You’ll need an array of fabrics cut into small strips and some hessian backing. Using a rag rug hook or spring tool, you simply need to pull the strips of fabric through the strands of hessian. Why not take a look at this tutorial from Ragged Life for a step-by-step guide?
2. Hair scrunchies
Cute hair scrunchies are another great way to use up small pieces of fabric. With fabric scraps or fat quarters and a bit of elastic, you can create adorable handmade gifts. Try this 30-minute tutorial.
3. Fabric bookmarks with tassels
Whether you’re an avid reader or have bookworm friends, you can use your fabric leftovers to make bookmarks. Fold a square of fabric lengthways over a rectangular piece of card. Hand sew or use a sewing machine to stitch the bookmark sides together, then add buttons, bows or other haberdashery items for a decorative touch.
4. Flower brooch
Using circles of fabric as petals around a button centre, you can create a range of different flower styles. Add a pin to the back and you’ll have a lovely flower brooch.
5. Fabric bouquet
To take your fabric flowers in a different direction, you could always create a bouquet. Make a selection of flowers and add them to stems made of floristry wire wrapped in ribbon. These make a lovely gift or an alternative to fresh flowers at a wedding. From small posies to large bunches, you can make a fabric flower bouquet to complement a particular colour scheme.
Ideal for party decoration or to add some colour to a room, bunting is another quick and easy way to use up spare fabric. Cut triangles of fabric in different colours or patterns and sew them to string or ribbon to hang the decoration up.
7. Fabric garland
You could also make a bunting garland using different fabric shapes. From stars and crescent moons to flowers, you can adapt the garland to suit different styles or occasions.
8. Patchwork cushion cover
Do you have excess upholstery fabric in lots of different patterns? Patchwork is a fantastic technique you can apply to a range of projects. If you don’t feel ready to make a full quilt, you could try making a cushion cover instead. All you need to do is sew your fabric squares together, being careful to line them up neatly.
9. Patchwork tote bag
Ready to try another patchwork project? Use your cushion cover technique but leave the top open and add some fabric handles. You’ll have a stylish and handy tote bag and can later apply your skills to other quilting projects. Read our guide to patchwork quilting for more tips.
Do you want to try a fun craft that allows you to practise your sewing skills and protects your table? Cut out circles or squares of fabric and sew them together to make coasters. For added strength, sew your decorative panels to more hardwearing fabric, like felt. If you’re au fait with embroidery machines, why not add a little extra decoration?
Sewing machines from Franklins Group
Whether you’re new to sewing or you’re an experienced seamstress with excess fabric to use up, these projects are ideal for keeping the creativity flowing without buying new materials.