Free Fabric Transforms Goofy Basket, Cans, and Pot Holders

5-15 Minutes
Visiting my favorite upholstery fabric dealer to buy a few yards of Sunbrella for an outdoor project, I asked if they sold their out-of-date sample books. No, they don't, I was told, they give them away free. I went to the sewing room where the manager pointed out the huge pile of sample books that I was welcome to take, as well as a box full of remnants. "Help yourself," she said and I felt like it was Christmas. I didn't take everything although I would have loved to, but I did get a second helping when I dropped off a settee to be reupholstered.
Some fabric samples are small, but not too small that they can't be used to cover pet food cans and make tiny pillows to stuff inside the cans and produce pin cushions, or cover larger cans and make desk accessories and organizers. And not so small that they can't be framed or used to make a bag for a smart phone, a sachet, or--my favorite--reupholstered pot holders. The list of upcycled things to make using junk and fabric is nearly endless.
By the way, when you reupholster pot holders they are thicker and work even better at keeping you from getting burned.
In my barn, I found a cute hinged basket that I had picked up years ago at Hobby Lobby's post-Christmas-sale sale. You know, when they drop the prices by 90% (Hobby Lobby is one my few and greatest regrets about leaving Baton Rouge). The problem with the basket was that it was too cute. The basket itself was fine, but the top was covered with a pseudo-country snowman design.
I chose one of the larger fabric samples to cover the lid. The problem was that the hinges were attached in such a way that if I removed them to recover the lid, I wouldn't be able to replace them. My solution was to staple the fabric on around the lid, but to create a hem and glue it down using fabric glue in the hinge area. Now it's about as sophisticated as a woven basket can be. I chose not to paint it because I liked the basket itself, and the new upholstery is something I can live with. Now if I only knew where I put the other three baskets I got at that sale...
For more words and pictures, visit my blog.
Sophisticated country. This combo works for me.
Have you ever considered reupholstering nasty old pot holders?
These are covered in a heavyweight chenille upholstery fabric, $60/yard. Free after discount. By the way, when you reupholster pot holders they are thicker and work even better at keeping you from getting burned.
Pin cushion and storage tin made from recycled cans.
KathrynElizabeth Etier
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 4 comments
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Sep 03, 2013
    @Marlene , I actually used to PAY for sample books when I lived in NJ! They seem so much nicer when they are free, don't they? I've also used them for patchwork and place mats, as well as patches on a worn quilt, zippered bags for traveling, purse organizers, and pouches. Now...what is a peg bag?

  • Marlene Marlene on Sep 04, 2013
    I do not know what you call them but it is the goodies we use to secure washing on a line..