Top 5 Uses for Your Scraps of Old Fabric



Repurpose your favorite team T-shirt into a decorative pillow.
Repurpose your favorite team T-shirt into a decorative pillow.
iStockphoto/Jill Chen

Do you need to perk up the look of your couch or your bed? Throw pillows are a great, inexpensive solution -- especially when you make them yourself. Here's an easy pillow project that will put fabric from your old clothes to good use.

This pillow is made in three basic steps: Sew two rectangular panels into a pocket, fill with stuffing and sew the top shut. The pillowcase's front and back can be made from piecing together scraps of fabric or, for a different look, use one large piece of fabric, such as a block of T-shirt, for the back panel [source: Recycle].

First, gather a pile of fabric scraps, stuffing, a needle and some thread. Arrange the scraps into a rectangle. The simplest way to achieve a symmetrical shape is to begin with groups of scraps of equal size. For example, cut all "large" scraps the same size and all "small" scraps the same size. Also, remember to leave a seam allowance of about 1/8 of an inch (.32 cm) when cutting, as this will ensure the final product is the size you want [source: Using Scrap].

When you have an arrangement you like, sew all of the scraps together. This is the pillow's front panel. Repeat this process for the back panel, unless using a single block of fabric for that side.

Then, lay the panels flat with the outsides facing inward and use pins to hold them together. Now, sew a seam around three sides of the pillow. When you reach the fourth side, continue sewing, but do not go all the way. Leave a hole large enough for your hand to pass through for stuffing.

Turn the pillow right side out and begin stuffing. When the pillow is plump, sew the remaining hole closed. For a clean seam, fold the remaining edges of the fabric over - toward the hole - and pin in place. Then, sew the hole shut [source: Using Scrap].

Stuffing can be lumpy and messy, but there are other options, like taking an old pillow and re-covering it. To determine the size of the panels you will need, measure the pillow you are covering and add 1 inch (2.52 cm) to the width and 1 inch (2.52cm) to the height [source: Recycle]. Then, follow the same procedure as with the stuffed pillow. Keep in mind that, unlike stuffing, using a pillow will require a hole larger than the size of your hand in order to fit inside the pillowcase. Therefore, you may want to consider a zipper.

You have made it through the first four projects, and now you're practically a pro. If you love your pillow but your bed still seems a little bare, the perfect craft is waiting on the next page.