Fun with fabric leftovers

Have you ever had that thing where you make something small from your leftover fabric, and end up loving it every bit as much, if not more than the original garment?

Sometimes leftover fabric is just too nice to waste. So here are a few ideas for turning fabric scraps into something useful and lovable.

First, my cross-over back linen apron (affectionately known as my hipster apron). It used up a bit less than 1m of fabric, and this idea could be re-shaped to whatever is at hand basically.

I love this thing and use it constantly. I has an ample sized wrap-around front to catch all the flour and spills in the kitchen, and a huge patch pocket to hold everything from a phone, to pencils, to screwdrivers, to eggs from the chook house.

It was made from some linen I had left over from some grey linen pants last year. The pants themselves were baggy (which I generally like), but well, actually, too baggy really in all the wrong places. I had to lose the pockets in my efforts to take them in to a more human scale, but was only partly successful. They are very comfortable but are not my favourite things to wear. Around the house, yes. Camping and hanging out, yes. To the shops? probably not.

The next one was a one-off, but a very useful one. I’d bought some waterproof fabric from Spotlight (which eventually turned out to only be shower-proof, but that’s another story), and made this hi-vis cycling vest. Very bright, with reflective tape that helps keep me alive riding around the place. And HUGE back pockets. Good stuff.

It was self-drafted, and I had dramatically over-estimated how much fabric I would need.

So I made this, which I use slightly less often but I think I like it even more.

It holds clothes for me when we go on road trips. In go my clothes, I fold it up and hang it on the hook in the back seat, unfold when we get there and voila! I’m all set.

it was actually very easy to do (easier than it looks I promise you). I just worked out the shape by tracing around a coat-hanger. The binding is from some fabric I bought once for a quilt, then realised it was poly-cotton (not 100% cotton like all the other fabrics in that quilt) so I didn’t use it. It is finding new purposes all over the place.

Perhaps my favourite thing to do with leftover fabric, if I have a metre or a bit more, is to make a cami. I’ve already posted about my recent pink Ogden cami, using fabric leftover from my pink Carme blouse. And I’ve now made another one in a lovely black silk I had which was also leftovers, which I’ll post here soon once I’ve taken some pics.


Tessuti also have a great cami pattern if you have enough fabric to cut on the bias, and that one comes in safely under a metre. It would be great in a silk, and I also think it would be great lengthened as a slip or nightie. Just imagine that against your skin – mmmmmm. I haven’t tried it yet but here is a photo from their website – it looks divine.


Another option for linen or perhaps cotton or wool just under a metre is the seamwork Sydney cropped smock.


It’s so cute in their photo (above), but my first go at it failed terribly. It turned out HUGE – I think I must have printed the pattern off scale. I’ll need to try it again one day, but next time I will check the pattern dimensions before cutting.

Sometimes my scraps are too small for aprons or tank tops, and let’s face it, I only need one hanging clothes bag. But there’s always the cute-little-drawstring-bag option.

I use these for all kinds of things. Holding sewing bits and pieces, cords etc. Holding all sorts of stuff in the camper (pegs, tealight candles, you name it). And sometimes it’s just nice to spend some time farnarkling about with pretty fabric, and I give them away as gifts.

What do you do with your leftovers? I’d love to get a few more ideas for leftover fabric love.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Siobhan S says:

    That pink silk cami is divine. I’m just a bit too big to use leftovers for clothing, so I make clothes for my friend’s children. They use such little fabric! And any suitable scraps are great for toy-making (I sell toys for charity).


  2. Kids clothes! That’s a great idea Siobhan thankyou. Sounds like you’re more precise in your measuring and purchasing of fabric than I am.


  3. Gretchen says:

    Contrast element in clothes -pockets, yokes etc. My favourite pattern lately has been the Rushcutter dress, contrast pockets look excellent.


    1. That’s a great idea as well. I’m so glad I put this post up. I’m learning a lot from all you lovely people that send me replies. Off to google the Rushcutter dress now as well…


  4. fantastikatcreates says:

    I’m a chronic “over estimated” of fabric! I use the leftovers for the kids clothes or for linings/facings. The other option is pockets and pocket bags – gives a wee bit of fun in some garments 😝


    1. I’m exactly the same with over-estimating. Often because I’m seeing a fabric and buying it on the spot, with the pattern decision to come later


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