What to Do with Fabric Scraps, No Matter How Little You Have Leftover

DIYs that are almost too easy.

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Stuart Tyson

If, like us, you've discovered the magic of performance (aka "outdoor") fabric for both beautiful outdoor spaces and super-durable indoor furniture, you'll likely want to run to your designer or local upholsterer (find one here) and have everything you own re-covered in the performance fabric of your choice. Now, you've got spill-proof, easily-cleanable furniture for any home with kids, pets, or even just occasionally clumsy adults.

But before you settle in to your new, durable and beautiful life, let's make the most of that new fabric you bought! When having an item reupholstered (or any textile item made for you by a tailor), always, always ask your professional of choice to save your extra fabric—not everyone will do it automatically and, as we're about to prove, by scrapping your scraps, you're missing out on precious opportunities for DIYs. Read on for our favorite performance fabric DIY projects, in order of amount of fabric required.

3+ yards excess fabric: Tablecloth

This one's a project that truly couldn't be simpler. Looking for a table covering that will stand up to stains at your next al-fresco party? Simply cut your fabric to the size and shape of your outdoor table, hem the edge, and voilà! You've got a table setting to match your furniture—how chic is that?

unbreakable outdoor dinnerware
Stuart Tyson

2 yards excess fabric: Sling chair

This one's my personal favorite, and a surprisingly easy project for how big of an impact it has. Looking for some additional high-design seating but blew through your budget on reupholstery? Fear not. Here's an easy way to turn your extra fabric into pretty chairs.

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  1. Snag some inexpensive sling chairs with blah fabric at your local Home Depot, IKEA, or wherever you can find them for a deal (if you can find used ones at a flea market or on Craigslist with worn or dirty seats: jackpot!).
  2. Remove the sling seat from the frame and slide out the rods that hold the sling.
  3. Using the chair fabric as a guide, cut a piece a few inches longer than it is on either end and about an inch wider on both sides.
  4. Hem the sides and sew loops on either end to fit the rods.
  5. Slide it onto the rods and fit into the frame for a new and improved seat.

    1-2 yards excess fabric: Beach tote

    If your scrap is a little smaller, why not turn it into a beach bag that will resist sand, water, and sunscreen spills? If you're not comfortable eyeballing it, here's a downloadable pattern on Etsy, and a video with step-by-step instructions.

    1-2 yards excess fabric: Placemats

    This one is basically just a smaller version of the tablecloth project, but it's especially good if you have small scraps of a few different patterns. Cut them into rectangular or circular shapes and hem the edges for fun—and machine washable—placemats for your outdoor or indoor table!


    Less than 1 yard excess fabric: Pouch

    If you've got a piece too small for a placemat but love the pattern, turn it into a simple pouch for makeup, pens, glasses, or anything else. Here's one step-by-step guide for a super simple version.

    Small scraps: Cocktail napkins

    Finally, if all you have is itty bitty pieces but you can't bear to throw them away, cut them into squares for fun cocktail napkins. You can hem the edges or leave the, raw for a more casual, slightly frayed look. Talk about zero waste!

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