Easy Sewing Projects with an Upcycled Twist

Easy Sewing Projects with an Upcycled Twist

Thrift stores, yard sales, and even your own closets are filled with any number of fabric sources. From old clothes to table linens and everything in between, these secondhand materials are absolutely perfect for any number of easy sewing projects. Not only are they inexpensive fabrics, but if they’re blemished in some way, then they’re ripe for repurposing with a little bit of sewing magic. Here are some great sewing projects that are simple, approachable, and perfect for a beginner.

Easy Sewing Projects with Scarves

repurposing wool scarves from the thrift store

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A lot of wool scarves end up at thrift stores. Maybe their owners moved to warmer climates or moths got the best of them- anything is possible. But either way, they are fun to stitch together into a patchwork throw blanket to use as cooler weather settles in.

Drawstring Bag

drawstring pouch from the sleeve of a flannel shirt

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Small drawstring bags come in so handy- for jewelry, small craft supplies, money, you name it- and these upcycled DIY versions couldn’t be easier to sew! That’s because most of the hard work is already done, since these are made from flannel shirt sleeves. You can find the tutorial for these in my book, “Crafting with Flannel”, by Sarah Ramberg.

Rustic Table Runner

table runner made from flannel shirts

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Flannel shirts from the thrift store are a really inexpensive way to create cozy elements for your home. For instance, this table runner was made from several shirts with vintage lace ribbon to cover the seams.

Fabric Flowers

simple fabric flower pin

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

These pretty flower pins are a wonderful scrap-busting sewing project that are ideal for your smallest pieces of leftover fabric. They come together in no time at all and add such a fun pop of whimsy to your sweater, jacket, tote bag, or hat.

Patchwork Plaid Wreath

Plaid Christmas wreath from recycled flannel shirts

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

The only sewing involved with this cozy flannel wreath is limited to straight lines along the flannel swatches to keep the edges clean and free of fraying- that’s it! But look how wonderfully cozy and inviting it is- even if it’s made from several old flannel shirts.

Easy Sewing Projects with Sachets

sachet from a shirt pocket

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

There are a surprising number of ways to upcycle the pockets from your button down shirts. Making sachets or potpourri pouches for your dresser drawers is just one of those ideas. And the sewing part? Just across the top to keep it closed.

Envelope Clutch from a Table Runner

diy envelope clutch

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Believe it or not, but this clutch handbag started out as a wine-stained table runner at a thrift shop! Stitching it up as an envelope-style clutch was surprisingly simple and straightforward, even for a sewing novice like myself.

Fabric Pumpkins

fabric pumpkins from flannels

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Fabric pumpkins like these are not only easy to make, but they won’t rot in warm weather if you’re still waiting for Fall temps to arrive. They look adorable in any number of fabrics- including flannel shirts from the thrift store.

Decorative Tote Bag

recycled tote bag from a framed cross stitch

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Believe it or not, but the sewing aspect to this project was NOT creating the tote bag from scratch. It was a thrifted tote bag, ready-made and ideal for embellishing with a cross stitch that had been in the wall art section. But with a few straight lines, it’s stitched on the bag for a one-of-a-kind tote that’s perfect for the farmer’s market.

Reusable Bowl Covers

reusable bowl covers with bandana fabric

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Save the plastic wrap and foil for leftovers in your fridge and use festive fabric covers to keep the bugs out at BBQs! These reusable bowl covers are easy to sew and use clean bandanas for an extra Americana touch.

Sweater Pillows

boho pillow covers from upcycled sweaters

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Unique and fun, these boho pillow covers started as sweaters hanging on a thrift store rack. Even the pillow inserts came from the thrift store, which makes these boho throw pillows an extremely thrifty way to add pops of color on furniture.

Simple Vendor Apron

diy apron from a pillowcase

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whether you’re hosting a yard sale or selling at a craft fair, this design for a simple apron might just be the perfect thing. It uses a pillowcase, a ribbon belt, and a few straight lines on the sewing machine- that’s it!

Wine Bottle Gift Bags

Wine gift bag from a button down shirt

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

You’ve heard of a sharp dressed man, but what about a sharp dressed bottle of wine? Both use the same articles of clothing- a button down shirt and a silk necktie– but one of them is wine and one of them is a tall drink of water.

Get it?

Tweed Acorns

acorn decorations from tweed jackets

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Plush acorns made from tweed jackets are the unexpected fall craft you didn’t know you needed until now. The sewing involved is VERY simple (just needle and thread, no machine required) but the results are SO delightful.

Easy Sewing Projects with Quilts

diy hot pad for a casserole dish

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

An old quilt that’s falling apart (aka, a cutter quilt) is just the thing for this easy sewing project: a DIY hot pad that’s perfect for casserole dishes! Other fabrics would do, but the quilt adds a homey touch (and extra padding for the insulation, as well).

Reusable Hand Warmers

DIY hand warmers

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A chilly tailgate party or a late night bonfire come to mind when I think of these DIY hand warmers. And nothing feels cozier in the palm than flannel! Easy to stitch together (by hand or machine), these flannel hand warmers are pretty enough to use as cozy decor, too.

Vintage-Style Shower Curtain

Floral shower curtain for a cottage style bathroom from vintage bed sheets

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A pretty vintage bed sheet from the thrift store is the perfect thing to use for making this DIY shower curtain. And while you’ll still need a plastic liner as well, it’s a remarkably easy sewing project that also allows you to practice your buttonhole-making skills!

Door Draft Blocker

adding leather strips to a door draft stopper

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If your home is drafty during cold weather, a DIY draft blocker like this (made from flannel shirts) will help it stay nice and cozy. Once again, the sewing skills needed are minimal, but it’s such a functional project you can make to help winterize your home.

Fruit & Veggie Bags

reducing plastic with reusable fruit and veggie bags

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Kids outgrow their t-shirts after a single season, which means you go through a LOT of them over time. But they’re the perfect size for upcycling into fruit and veggie bags to use at the grocery store and farmer’s market! Such a great way to cut down on plastic bags, too.

Upcycle Ideas for Easy Sewing Projects

easy sewing projects for a beginner

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

I hope you found some inspiration in this collection of easy sewing projects! I promise you they are all relatively simple, straightforward, and perfectly approachable for novices. And so many fun ways to repurpose old clothing, linens, and those fabric scraps you weren’t sure what to do with.

Craft on!


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upcycle ideas for easy sewing projects

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.

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