11 Ways to Upcycle Bed Sheets

When sheets wear out, it seems such a waste to throw them away! After all, there’s still plenty of good fabric left, and there are plenty of ways to put it to good use. Check out these 11 ideas for a little inspiration.

1. Pillowcases

This is probably one of the easiest makeovers for worn out sheets. Use one of your existing pillowcases as a template and cut your pattern pieces from the edges of the sheet, where the material is less worn. Press your seams well to keep the seam allowances from being bulky and uncomfortable. This is a great project for beginning sewists, and can easily be done by hand if you’re not ready to commit to a sewing machine yet.

2. Sundress

While we may think of the soft cotton our sheets are made from as commonplace material, that kind of fabric was once prized for garment making. It doesn’t wrinkle badly, like linen does, but is light, breathable, and holds its shape well. So in the fine tradition of dressmakers, why not turn those worn out sheets into a cute sundress? Add a bit of patterned material from your fabric stash for a pop of colour, and you’ve got a dress that’s both stylish and eco-friendly! Use a favorite pattern if you’ve got one, or check out this site for sundress inspiration.

3. Hand-warmers

Got flannel sheets that have seen better days? Cut out squares about palm size, and stitch three sides to form pouches. Fill them with flaxseed or rice before stitching them closed. All you have to do now is pop them in the microwave for a few seconds and then slip them into your jacket pockets. They’ll stay toasty quite a while, perfect for brisk winter days. Make a larger version to use as a heat pack to help relax sore muscles.

4. Infinity scarf

Always trendy and perfect for using up odds and ends of fabric. The soft material of bedsheets makes it a great choice for this project. Infinity scarves only require three lines of stitching: hems on both edges, and a single seam joining the ends together. Since the raw edges of this seam will be exposed, consider using a French seam or flat felled seam to provide a finished look on both sides.

5. Throw pillows

Add a bit of comfort to your home with a few extra throw pillows. If the colour of your worn sheets doesn’t match your decor, use removable pillowcases to get the look you want, plus make cleaning up spills and stains a breeze. When stuffing your pillows, use poly fibre around the edges to give them a smooth, soft feel, and fill the core of the pillow with fabric scraps and thread snippings. Not only is this a great way to use up those scraps, but it adds a bit of weight and heft to your pillows, allowing them to withstand heavy use.

6. Laundry bag

If your family is notoriously bad about getting dirty clothes into the laundry hamper, make it easier on them (and yourself!) with individual drawstring laundry bags. These can hang from the back of a door, be used as liners in a laundry basket or hamper, or even packed in a suitcase to keep dirty clothes corralled while traveling. Make two bags for each family member, and as clean clothes are folded, they can go into a clean bag for each person to pick up and put away. These are a great gift for students heading to university, or as a housewarming gift.

7. Basket liners

Storage baskets are a great way to keep things organised. Whether it’s the kids’ toys, odds and ends in the family room, or supplies in your sewing room, their uses are almost limitless. But they do have tendency to contain more than just the items you place in them. They’re also catchalls for dirt and dust. Instead of emptying them out and trying to wash or dust them on a regular basis, why not use those worn out old sheets to make liners for them? Simple drawstring pouches can be made to fit just about any size or shape. Be sure to put gussets in the bottom so that the liner will lie flat. When it’s time to clean, just empty the basket and pop the liner in the wash.

8. Storage pods

If baskets aren’t really your style, why not try these cute quilted storage pods? While the ones in this pattern are made with fat quarters of quilting cotton, meant to show off the bright colours and patterns of the fabric, why not show off your quilting skills instead? A monotone storage pod, intricately quilted, makes for a subtle statement, plus a great place to stash hats and mittens, kitchen gadgets, and other odds and ends around the house.

9. Fabric rope rug

If your sheets are too worn for larger sewing projects, don’t despair! You can still save the material from the rubbish bin. Cut the sheet into strips three or four centimetres wide and set them aside. You’ll also need quite a bit of soft, braided cotton cord about a centimetre in diameter. The exact amount you’ll need will depend on the size of the rug you want to make. Set up your sewing machine with a wide zig-zag stitch and heavy duty needle and thread. Wrap a strip of fabric around the rope, and twist the fabric-covered cord into a coil. Zig-zag stitch between the coils to hold them together. Stitch counter-clockwise to make sure the bulk of your rug stays on the left side of your needle, so it doesn’t bunch up under your sewing machine arm.

10. Kids’ nightclothes

Soft breathable cotton is ideal for nightclothes. Whip up some easy drawstring pyjama bottoms, or a simple A-line nightgown. Make them as basic or embellished as you like to suit the personalities of your kids. If they’re interested in sewing, get them involved! This is a simple project that has plenty of opportunities for young sewists to practise their skills.

11. Bed skirt

Sheets are the ideal material for making into a bedskirt. They’re already the perfect size, and you know they’ll match your other linens. Check out this tutorial for a step-by-step how-to guide.

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