If you aren’t drowning in last-minute quilted gifts (Did your relative ask for a king-sized bed quilt? No biggie, right? Why not hand quilt it to show them you really care?), Constanze from @tree.textiles has a few friendly suggestions of how to get your home holiday-ready and put unused quilts to good use while you are at it. Sustainable holiday cheer? Yes, please!
Decorating with Quilts for the Holidays
by Constanze @tree.textiles
So now that we are all cozy and cute in our quilt coats, all couch backs and bed ends are looking quiltaliciously stacked and we fully embrace grand-millennial chic… do you look around your room, hot beverage in hand, of course, and think to yourself: where else can I put a cut-up – resewn quilt? Vintage or hand-me-down, hot of the sewing machine or thrifted as yard sale gold, quilts that aren’t quite functional enough in the traditional “blanket” (*gasp*) ways, can be put to some great uses in these tried and true (and some wonderfully oddball) places. And if you don’t have an extra quilt lying around to repurpose? No problem, here is your excuse to make a (or three or four) new ones!
Note: Some of these ideas were influenced by the book Country Living Christmas at Home. Others I saw on Pinterest. If you want to check these out, I made a board for you: Repurposed Quilts. The funny thing is that I don’t celebrate or decorate for Christmas, so I am not going to make some of these things I am listing. But I love living vicariously through this listicle and through all of your posts! So feel free to add to this board!
This may not even count, because leftover quilt = pillow = duh doy. It’s as easy as One: which part of the quilt is still useable? Two: does that area match a pillow form? Three: do you have a backing fabric? It gets fun when you play with different pillow shapes (I am working on a bed topper which is as gloriously lazy as it sounds), but thinking beyond the square can go in all kinds of directions: tiny, with needlepoint backing, round with a big button tuft in the middle, giant beanbag to eat some caramel popcorn on while binging on holiday romcoms. And don’t forget fun trim: pompoms, ricrac, tassels… I guess pillows don’t have to be a boring repurposing choice!
Easy how-to: Trace pillow form on quilt slab and backing fabric. Put right sides together. Sew along edges leaving a big enough hole to turn. Turn inside out. Insert pillow form. Stitch gap closed. Alternatively, get fancy with envelope backs (great tutorial by Waxandwanestudios) or hidden zippers.
A classic! There are some awesome patterns out there for quilted stockings (I love the Quilted Star Stocking by Madejustsew) and equally beautiful and creative premade versions (Have you seen the super bright, super Memphis-y ones by Krista Marie Young?). But if you love that feeling of slicing into a quilt sandwich and giving an old rectangle a new shape and life, take this opportunity to cut into those 30s feedsack double wedding rings and dresden plates (okay, now I am drooling…). Instant family heirloom!
Easy how to: Trace an existing stocking onto quilt slab. Cut. Sew along sides, leaving top open. Bind top.
3. Tree Skirt
Similarly to the stocking patterns, there is an abundance of patterns to make your own tree skirt, and even more wonderful handcrafted goodies ready for sale. But Mr Christmas (oh hey, Netflix) said we should put mini-evergreens in our kitchen, backyards and I think I spotted quite a few on sideboards. So… don’t they all need mini-skirts? Yes. Yes, they do! I love a classic vintage red and white look for these, tied with a simple cute cotton bow. But wouldn’t an Essex metallics look lovely and Scandi glam?
Easy how to: Measure tree holder/pot and stump circumference. Create circle template. Trace onto quilt slab and cut. Cut inner circle to match stump circumference. Cut straight line from outer to inner circle. Sew closure strings or cut ribbon, then pin along straight cut (depending on size you may need several). Bind all raw edges.
Talking about last-minute gifts and cutting quilt slabs… This is the perfect way to repurpose little pieces of leftovers and exercise your creative muscle! Take a look at your oddest shaped scraps. What do you see? A forest of half-square triangles? A sky full of sawtooth stars? Sew them up, mix and match, stuff them for extra trapunto, the options are endless! Whether you hang them on your tree(s) or adorn a simple kraft paper + butcher twine present, there are so many ways to use these and no more excuses to just toss scraps!
Easy how to: Create a paper template. Trace onto quilt slab. Stitch around edges to secure, bind or leave raw. Alternatively, face with fabric right sides together, sew along edges leaving a big enough gap to turn inside out. Stitch gap closed. Attach ribbon or string loop.
5. Card Display
Let’s get weird(er)! Say you don’t only have an old quilt lying around begging to be assigned to decoration duty, but also an old, charmingly aged farm window… if not, an unused Ikea picture frame will do just fine. Frame your quilt piece, hang it and use it as a beautiful backdrop for all those holiday cards melting in the condensation against your window (Or is that only an issue in my house?).
Easy how to: Carefully remove glass from frame. Trace frame onto quilt slab and cardboard. Cut both (Don’t forget to use your paper and fabric scissors!). Attach quilt to cardboard (glue, tack or baste), then to frame. Secure the back with tape. Hang on wall or lean (securely). Start pinning cards (insert: buy new cute pins!).
If you are an accomplished upholsterer, first of all, bravo. Also, feel free to skip straight to #13 (coming Tuesday!), and then drown me in pictures of your work! I could go down the upholstery rabbit hole all day any day. Fabrics, interior design, penthouse or farmhouse… oh my, here I go again! Back to the bullet point at hand: there is an easier, although admittedly not totally newbie sewist way to create a quilted ottoman to rest your feet on while taking in the holiday magic in the air, i.e. sipping your peppermint latte.
Easy how to: Find your base: this could be a stained coffee table (too many lattes?), a wooden crate, or an existing ottoman. Optionally, trace top onto batting, cut and attach (simply stack, if you are planning to revert this into a regular coffee table, ottoman or crate). Trace top onto quilt slab leaving an overhang to cover sides (imagine a cross shape where each side matches the side of the object you are covering, while the middle matches the top). Sew each side to create an open box. Bind raw edges. Cover base and batting stack.
7. Chair Cushion
Breakfast nook, long family table, or breakfast bar: where there is food, there are chairs which will be even more irresistible covered in repurposed quilted goods. I love the juxtaposition of industrial metal bar chairs topped with antique quilt cushions. I also really could use some extra protection on my beloved leather midcentury chairs. There is only so much gravy these poor fellas can take…
Easy how to: Measure chair top and create paper template. Trace onto quilt slab, optionally on extra batting and backing fabric. If you want the extra fluff, quilt or tie. Optionally sew ties to attach finished cushion to chair back and pin to top. Bind raw edges.
Also: not a repurposed quilt, but if you have an unfinished puff quilt from the great puff quilt revival of 2020 lying around, a puff pillow is a quick finish!
This list is amazing, Constanze! We can’t wait to share Part 2 with everyone on Tuesday! Be sure to check back for more great quilty holiday decorating tips! And in the meantime, you can see more from Constanze here: The Fabric-Related TV That You Should Be Watching and Sewing Fiction: 5 Book Recommendations for Fabric Lovers!