Home DéCor Sewing Projects: Sewing Decorative Bedding And Comforters

Recycle old clothing into a decorative comforter for your bed.

When it's time to clean out the closet, consider using those unwanted articles of clothing to make a decorative comforter.

Does a man in the house have an overabundance of flannel shirts? Did those skirts and dresses that looked so appealing on the hangar lose their appeal once they got home? Have you amassed a collection of T-shirts or sweatshirts from vacations or special events?

Don't throw them out. Cut them up and sew squares of fabric together over a layer of quilt batting. The comforter will warm your body and the fact that is cost next to nothing is sure to warm your heart!

Perhaps the clothes have a stain or two, are out of style, or are the wrong size. None of these things matter if the fabric is to be cut into squares. You can use the best parts of the fabric and then, knowing that you are putting some of it to good use, you can feel comfortable throwing away the rest. If cutting up T-shirts, use the words or pictures that are on the shirts for some of the squares and the plain fabric of the shirts for coordinating squares.

Begin by deciding what size comforter you want to make. Common sizes for quilt batting (the soft and fluffy filling that is sewn inside the comforter) are: Crib 45" x 60"; Twin 72" x 90"; Full 81" x 96"; Queen 90" x 108"; and King 120" x 120."

After purchasing batting in the desired size, decide what you will use for the backing of the comforter. If you have a lot of fabric to cut into squares, you could make the comforter reversible and have patchwork squares on both sides. If not, you will need a solid piece of cotton or cotton-blend fabric. Most of this fabric comes only in 45" or 60" widths, so if you are making anything larger than a crib-size comforter, an easy way to solve the problem of having to piece together fabric is to use a flat bed sheet.

Next, you will have to do some arithmetic to figure out how many squares will be needed for the desired size. Divide the finished width and length of the comforter by either the number of squares you want to have running across and down, or by dividing the finished size by how big you want the squares to be. When figuring the size of the squares, add one inch to the length and the width of each square. This will give you a 1/2-inch seam allowance on all sides. If you are unsure about how many squares you will need, or how big you want them to be, cut sample squares from paper and lay them out on top of the backing. This will give you an idea of how your finished comforter will look, and it will ensure that you don't waste fabric by cutting the wrong size. Although you can always trim the squares to make them smaller, once you cut them, you can't make them bigger!

When you have cut your fabric squares, lay them out in the desired pattern. Beginning with the first row across, pin the sides of the squares together (right sides facing) and sew the seams between the squares. When this row is done, proceed to do the same with each remaining horizontal row.

When all the horizontal rows are finished, lay one row on top of another row, right sides facing. Be sure to line up the corners of the squares and put a pin at each corner to keep them in place. Now, sew one long seam between the rows. Continue until all the rows are sewn together.

Now you can put the layers of the quilt together. First, lay the batting down on a large, flat surface. Next, lay the backing on top of the batting. The wrong side of the backing should be touching the batting, and the right side of the backing should be facing up. Then, lay the square-patterned fabric right side down on top of the backing. You should now see a layer of batting, a layer of backing with the right side up, and a layer of squares with the seams and wrong side facing up.

Pin all the layers together and sew around three sides. Leave the top edge of the comforter open for turning. Reach into the pouch between the two fabric layers and turn the comforter right side out. The batting should be in the center of the layers.

Smooth out the layers and gently tug or poke the corners into points. Then, fold the raw edges of the unfinished side over and sew shut.

Thread a long, large-eyed needle with a length of yarn. At each point where corners come together, poke the needle through all three layers and back up again. Watch the underside carefully to make sure you are going down straight and not catching folds of fabric. Tie the thread into a secure knot and trim the ends of the thread to about one inch long.

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