What to Make with Fabric Samples and Scraps

10 Scrap Fabric Project Ideas to Start Today

jars of homemade jam topped with fabric
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Wondering what to make with fabric scraps left from your last craft project? Or those discarded upholstery samples you scored free from a furniture store? They're not too small to be useful. Here are 10 things you can make with fabric samples and scraps:

1. Throw Pillows

Making a throw pillow is one of the best ways to get a big decorating impact from a small amount of fabric. Old upholstery samples are often exactly the right and shape — and many are pricey fabrics you'd never be willing to buy by the yard.

Don't worry if you don't have enough of one fabric for the pillow's front and back. They don't have to match.

2. Dining Chair Seats

Have a single dining chair you use in your den as extra seating or at your desk? If it needs a new look, you can probably reupholster its seat using an upholstery sample or largish fabric scrap. You'll need enough to cover the seat, plus another inch or two all around to staple underneath. 

3. Window Valances

Fabric yardage is usually a big part of the cost of custom window treatments. But, a simple valance for a single window or two doesn't always require much. Your big scraps or folded fabric samples may be just enough. 

4. Drawer Liners

Don't neglect the drawers when you do a chest or dresser makeover. The old wood on the inside is frequently rough and splintery. Use your scraps and samples to make fabric-covered drawer liners so you don't snag your sweaters and lingerie.


5. Covered Lampshades

Covering a lampshade with fabric is much easier than it looks — especially if you cover a drum shade, which is straight up and down.

Using woven fabrics with texture, such as linen or slubbed silk, makes both lamp and shade look more expensive. Patterned fabrics are almost always fun, especially when you use them in such an unexpected place.

6. Jar Toppers

Do you give homemade chutneys and jams as gifts? Or sell them in your flea or farmer's market booth? If so, use your scrap fabric to make jar toppers. You can cut out the fabric with pinking shears to keep the fabric from fraying, which means there's no sewing involved. The zigzag shape of the cut edges looks pretty too.

7. Quilt Tops

Quilters frequently buy fabric by the yard just to cut into small shapes. That means you can make a quilt top out of your fabric samples and scraps. In fact, there's an historic category of quilts specifically called scrap quilts.

8. Covered Welt Cord

Welt is the fabric-covered cord you see sewn into the seams of upholstered furniture and decorative pillows. Sometimes it's also stapled along the edges of dining chair seats to give them a finished look. You may have heard covered welt referred to as piping by people who aren't furniture or decorating pros.

9. Applique

Applique is a textile art where fabric is cut into small shapes, and then it's fused or sewn onto another fabric surface to create scenic or decorative designs. Applique is often used on children's clothing, Christmas stockings, and handmade quilts. If you'd like to give it a try, your fabric scraps are ideal for applique projects.


10. Braided Rag Rugs

If you have medium- to heavy-weight fabric samples and scraps, you can use them to make a braided rag rug. You cut the fabric into strips, tie them together, and start braiding. When you have enough, coil the braid into a round or oval shape and stitch it into place.