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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Hobbies > Miscellaneous Projects/Activities

Using Your Fabric Scraps
by Nikki Willhite

Fabric and textiles surround us, from our clothing to our carpets. Color, pattern, texture and design affect both our mood and our pocketbooks. Everyone has fabric scraps. They are in clothes that no longer fit, or draperies that are being replaced. As a frugal homemaker you can take these scraps and make items of value.

I have seen numerous old drapery panels sell for large amounts of money on eBay. They are either being used to decorate homes with a retro or shabby chic design, or are being cut down for pillows. There are many, many ways to use fabric. Here are some ideas to recycle fabric, and turn fabric scraps into fabric assets:

-Making quilts is the number one use for old scraps of fabric. See: http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/quilts.htm for the many uses of quilts.

-You can make pillows. If your scraps are small, they can be pieced, like a quilt.

-Potpourri Sachets. For very utilitarian sachets, I just take my old potpourri, and wrap it up in a scrap of fabric and tie it with a ribbon. Then I place it in drawers or under cupboards. There is plenty of scent left for those enclosed areas. You can make sachets with fresh potpourri, and give them as gifts. Make them as decorative as you desire by seaming the sides and adding lace around the edges, or by using ribbons and other decorative accents.

-If you are good with a crochet hook, you can make rag rugs. There are other techniques also, such as just tying bits of fabric into a piece of rug canvas. Here is a URL with some pictures of these: http://www.ruglady.net/

-Scraps can be made into linens for the kitchen/dining room. You can make potholders, napkins, place mats, table runners, and even tablecloths, piecing when necessary.

-You can use fabric for both fabric art and decoupage. If you stiffen the fabric with Modge Podge before you cut it, the ends will not ravel. Books on fabric art can be purchased at the store or rented from the library.

-Fabric scraps can be used for wrapping presents. Use your fabric like paper, or use it to make gift bags. You can make a more formal, structured gift bag, or simply make a drawstring bag. Or, cut out shapes from the design of the fabric, and use them to decorate gifts wrapped in plain brown paper. You can also tear the fabric into strips, and use it as ribbon.

-Fabric scraps can be used in crafts for home accessories. Make everything from picture frames, checkbooks, album covers, eyeglass cases, and book covers, to bowls and Christmas Ornaments. All these can also be given as gifts.

-Lay pieces of fabric on the bottom of gift baskets and picnic baskets to make them more decorative.

-Use your fabric scraps to make dolls and doll clothes. Dolls make great display items, gifts, and can even be sold on ebay.

-Use them to make stuffed toys. Patterns for stuffed animals abound at thrift stores.

-You can make darling aprons with appliques, and give them as presents. You can also make hair accessories like scrunchies.

-Heavier fabrics can be used for small upholstery projects, such as covering chair seats.

-Use your scraps to cover craft cardboard boxes, and to line the inside. Or use shoe boxes. These decorated boxes are great for open storage areas.

-Make duffel bags for your children's laundry. Help your children learn to sort their clothing by making different colored bags for how you want your wash sorted.

-Make protective dust covers for toasters, sewing machines, and other small appliances, again, a gift idea.

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-Warm up your home office/work rooms by covering office accessories with bits of fabric. Some things you might cover - pencil and tool holders, storage containers, and Kleenex boxes. Fabric always softens a room, and is a major plus if you are trying to achieve a home office with a bit of femininity.

Imagine how it would be to have a 6x6" piece of fabric from all the clothes you wore when you were a little child. Would that be of value to you now? Even if you can't use them now, save your scraps. Put them in a box, and set them aside. Put them in the attic and save them for your children.

Several years ago my mother sent me some fabric she had saved from my childhood. It was quite a shock, as my mother was not a sewer. Even more surprising was the tide of emotion I felt just looking at that fabic. It was really special.

Think ahead--and save those scraps. Turn your fabric scraps into Fabric Assets!

About the Author:
Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! Article first published at www.allthingsfrugal.com.

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