Craft Ideas with Vintage Fabric

Craft Ideas with Vintage Fabric

Vintage fabric and linens are such a great source of material for anyone who enjoys fabric crafts. Whether you sew a lot or a little, there are lots of projects that put those retro linens to terrific reuse. And if you’re lucky enough to find a pretty bed sheet at the thrift store, then you’ll get a lot of yardage for very little cost. So, if you’ve been looking for some upcycle inspiration for tea towels, bed sheets, and other vintage fabric, then this collection is just what you’ve been waiting for.

Hidden Pin Cushion

diy pin cushion in a vintage teapot

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Any avid sewist will adore this handmade gift idea! A hidden pin cushion in a vintage teapot is a darling idea, especially in a home filled with curious kids or pets. The pin cushion itself is covered in vintage fabric (tea towel, embroidery, or floral sheet) for added charm. Plus, you can add a few small sewing notions to the teapot as well.

Flour Sack Flowers

Lapel flower or cloth flowers with flour sack fabric

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. Using scraps of vintage fabric (using old flour sacks in this example), they come together in no time at all. And they add such a fun pop of whimsy to your sweater, jacket, tote bag, or hat.

Window to the Past

How to display a vintage quilt in an antique window as a quilt frame

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

An antique quilt- especially one that is falling apart and can’t be used on a bed anymore- is easy to frame and showcase. Especially if you use a vintage window like this, which gives it a very cottage- or farmhouse-style look, and is a double-upcycle in one project.

Simple Apron from Vintage Fabric

Half apron by upcycling a vintage pillowcase with ribbon belt

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whether you’re hosting a yard sale or selling at a craft fair, this design for a simple apron can be incredibly handy and useful. It uses a vintage pillowcase, a ribbon belt, and a few straight lines on the sewing machine- that’s it.

And I bet some of you out there recognize this pattern from your childhood bedrooms, too!

Vintage Handkerchief Valance

diy valence from vintage handkerchiefs

Image credit: Flamingo Toes.

Vintage handkerchiefs are known for their darling, sweet designs- and this upcycle idea is a wonderful way to show them off! Perfect for a vintage kitchen, sewing room, or other sweet space, these vintage handkerchief valances couldn’t be more charming.

Magnetic Memo Board

Magnetic memo board or magnetic bulletin board from a cookie tray

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

An old cookie sheet that’s gotten stained and rusty might end up in your trash bin. But you can upcycle it into a magnetic memo board like this, thanks to some paint and vintage fabric from an pretty bed sheet. You could use it in the kitchen or home office, or even for a child playing with magnetic letters, etc.

Floral Handkerchief Bracelets

braided bracelets from vintage handkerchiefs

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Why should kids and teens have all the fun with friendship bracelets? These chic and romantic versions are made from vintage handkerchiefs– but any lightweight vintage fabric with a delicate print would be perfect! Plus, they’re super easy to create- which comes in handy if you want to make them for a bunch of your friends.

Vintage Fabric Wall Art

Fashion wall art by upcycling the envelopes of vintage sewing patterns

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Plain picture frames from the thrift store are easy to leave behind. But with a quick paint job and some vintage sewing patterns, they’re now wall-ready decor for a sewing or craft room. Even the background fabric (vintage bed sheets) and old sewing pattern envelopes came from thrift stores, too.

Storage with Vintage Fabric

DIY ring holder

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Any old box can be upcycled into a ring box with this upcycle idea. And vintage fabric from a floral bed sheet is a great way to cover up the cushions used to carefully store and project your prettiest rings.

Page Pocket Bookmark

DIY Corner Bookmarks from Embroidered Linens

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

This upcycle idea is idea for tea towels and dresser scarves that have become tattered or torn. The best parts are salvaged and turned into these DIY bookmarks which are a page pocket, of sorts. Such a sweet way to save lovely handiwork into a project to keep or give as a gift.

Pretty Wooden Spools

Vintage wooden spools and flour sack fabric as necklace pendants

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage fabric and old wooden spools are craft supplies that go together delightfully. Whether you make these to wear as a necklace like this or just to fill a bowl or jar for sweet decor, this is a wonderful scrap buster project to work on.

Shower Curtain from Vintage Fabric

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 repurpose as 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, too.

Handkerchief Pendant

pendant necklace with a vintage handkerchief

Image credit: Flamingo Toes.

The stitching and embroidery on vintage linens is second to none. And turning a scrap of it into a charming pendant necklace is a wonderful way to show it off. Especially if the scrap is salvaged from a tattered, torn, or otherwise damaged piece of fabric.

Embroidering on Vintage Linens

cottagecore art from vintage floral sheets

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Usually embroidery projects involve the use of embroidery hoops. But in this case, picture frames were used to hold the vintage fabric in place during the embroidering process. And when they’re done, they’re ready to hang on the wall immediately, almost like wrapped canvas prints.

Embellished Pillows

upcycling idea for valentine pillows

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Changing out your throw pillows for each season and holiday can be surprisingly expensive. Which makes this thrifty upcycling idea even more appealing. Clean thrift store pillows are embellished with heart shaped doilies and vintage handkerchiefs for Valentine’s Day, complete with handmade felt flowers for an extra special touch.

Fabric-Wrapped Bangles

fabric bracelets from a vintage sheet

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Ugly bracelets and bangles (or just plain ones) are ideal for wrapping in fabric to create new pieces tailored to your style. And these thrift store bangles were wrapped with hand-torn strips of bed sheet fabric. Aren’t they so sweet and delicately pretty now?

Cutter Quilt Hot Pad

quilted pot holder from a vintage quilt

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 vintage quilt adds a homey touch and extra padding for the insulation, as well.

Easter Egg Decor

Upcycling the vintage oval frames into Pysanky eggs for Easter mantel decorations

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If Spring and Easter are around the corner, then keep your eyes peeled for vintage oval frames. (Thrift stores and yard sales are great places to find them!). Because with the right makeover and some sweet floral fabric from vintage bed sheets, they can be transformed into Easter eggs like this. Perfect for a delightful Spring mantelscape display.

Upcycle Ideas for Vintage Fabric

craft projects with vintage linens

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

I know there are tons of other fabulous upcycles that use vintage fabric and linens, but these are my favorites. Whether you sew or not, these crafts are simple, approachable, and all use materials that you can often find at thrift stores. Even if they’re damaged, vintage fabric has a lot of life left to live- and these project ideas are definitely beautiful proof of that.

Craft on!

S

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repurposed projects with vintage fabric

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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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