How To Make Beautiful Remnant Fabric

How To Make Beautiful Remnant Fabric

Who can turn down free fabric? In my business it's not uncommon to be offered discontinued upholstery fabric samples. If you know a little trick, it's simple to create your own patchwork upholstery fabric yardage.  Thrifted chair, free fabric...

The first challenge is to have a good eye to choose fabric colors that will form an overall unified fabric. Personally, I don't care for patchwork if it's just a bunch of different colors  and patterns thrown together. The chairs here, created by Design by Leftovers, are covered in a unifying color-Purple. For interest, they've plugged in a few unexpected fabrics, like the red plaid.Overall, it looks modern, sophisticated and intentional.

Here's what you do:

  1. Gather up medium to heavy weight fabric remnants
  2. Lay them all out to find your color palette for your upholstery fabric
  3. Pull out all the fabrics that fit that palette
  4. Set aside other fabrics
  5. Press fabrics flat
  6. Choose three different sizes of patches.
  7. Cut the remnants into those sizes.
  8. Arrange like sized blocks in a row
  9. Now stitch strips of fabric together using a 1/2" seam allowance, using the same sized blocks in each strip. For example, you will have one strip made up of 4"x6" rectangles, the next strip will be 8"x8" squares and so on, however you want it.
  10. When you have enough strips, lay them out and arrange them how you want them to be stitched together. Arrange them so the seams are offset from the strip next to them. Pin and stitch patchworks strips together
  11. Congratulations, you've just created your own one of a kind upholstery fabric. Now get busy with that first (or second) upholstery project. You can do it!

Here's a tip on getting your hand on discontinued sample books:

Go around to interior decorators, upholstery shops and high end fabric stores and offer to take the discontinued books off their hands. Usually, not always, they are happy to get rid of them. You may want to make an agreement that you will take them to a shelter, school, or nursing home, if you can have 1st dibs on the fabrics in your color palette. Most business owners appreciate the kind heartedness.

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Judith on Dec 16, 2014:

Totally fell in love with this!  Gorgeous!  Finally found some classy and fun ideas!  Thanks

Lesleyb on Jun 02, 2014:

Amazing will definitely be trying this

mbd on Mar 04, 2012:

fantastic upholstery. 

Bunny on Feb 05, 2012:

I want to use remant patchwork fabric as an area rug. Any thoughts on what to mount the fabric onto to make it heavier and sturdier? Thanks for the how to! I'm excited for this project

Cat on Mar 02, 2011:

You know, after I made that comment I looked more closely and saw it was turned 90 degrees. Duh, you the genius would know that!

ModHomeEcTeacher on Mar 02, 2011:

If you look carefully, you can see that a strip of patches is sewn next to another strip, but the seams are off, which is good. Then they may turn the entire things 90 degrees and sew strips off in that direction. I watched a guy do this with about 10 books of remnants and it was amazing how fast the got at cutting the pieces. Sometimes two or three pieces are sewn together to make one square or rectangle. Kind of tricky.

catherine on Mar 02, 2011:

but the fabric remnants on those chairs are not lined up in a row???

elseajane on Mar 01, 2011:

I think these are incrediable. Look at the way that the fabrics compliment the wood and the wood gives back to the chairs. What a great idea to use up small pieces in the same color pallet. Now I'm rethinking my chairs for the dinning room...EJ

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