Delightful squares

Many a sewing enthusiast will agree that over the years a lot of little pieces of material, unused buttons, embroidery thread and ribbon accumulate in various places in a hobby room, with the intention of saving them for the next project! It usually looks like this:

Material pieces for cover  Bits and bobs for cover





While going through all my ‘left overs’ during December, I thought it would help to use up some of these items by making a new cover for my sewing machine. I decided to do applique so that I can sew it by hand one block at a time.

I started by measuring the size of the cover, and then cut out various squares from plain white material. I drew some ideas on paper of what each block can look like, and then started cutting out the various smaller pieces for the applique work:

Applique pieces for cover








I just embroidered the edges of each piece of applique, and then added some buttons, ribbon or beads as final embellishments.

Once all the blocks were completed, I sew them together:

Cover panels sewn together








The front and back are mirror images of each other, and I used some floral material for the two sides.

And here is the finished cover, looking delightful in my hobby room:

Sewing machine cover Sewing machine cover top view


Rope basket

Here is another idea if you have plenty of scraps of material that you want to use instead of throwing away – make a basket. All you have to buy additionally if you don’t have it at home, is rope. I used cotton rope that is about 6mm thick, but you can decide.

Gather all the material that you have available, and then cut them into strips of similar size. Then the work starts! For the complete tutorial please visit this website:

Rope basket final







Just a hint, if some of the material you are using frays a lot, just fold over the edge before twirling it, this will help. The more rope you use, the bigger your basket will get. My basket came out quite big, approximately 50cm high, so I am able to store all my bags inside it!

Rope basket final 1

Rope basket inside


‘My hart se punt’ cushions

Nowadays many shops are selling cushions with words or sayings on them. These can be quite expensive, so I decided to take some material I didn’t know what to do with, and make two of these ‘words’ cushions.

I used an Afrikaans description that is quite fitting for bedroom cushions: “Jy is my hart se punt” – which just means that you have a special place in my life! I used satin ribbon which I first sew onto the material, and then used some embroidery thread to add blanket stitches around the edges.

'Hart se punt' cushions

Quilted placemats

This is just another idea of what you can do if you have some left over pieces of material that you would like to use somehow.

I cut squares of 11 x 11cm, including a seam allowance of 1cm, and just bought some extra material for the back of the placemats, as well as some thin batting for inside to give the placemats some body. You can make the placemats square, rectangular or even round, whatever you prefer!

Placemat squares







After cutting the squares, arrange them as you would like to use them and then simply sew the squares together. Cut the batting 3cm bigger than the size of the quilted top all around and place both pieces on the material that will be used for the back.

Pin all three layers together to keep everything in place. Cut the back material, right side down, with a seam allowance of 4.5cm, then fold the back material over the batting and turn the edges over. This should then cover the edge of the quilted top material. Sew the edge all around and ensure the edge of the quilted top is nicely tucked in as to not pull loose over time.

Placemat finalised








Sew over the horizontal lines of the top material to bind the three layers.

Your placemat is then ready to be used!

Placemats finalised

Bag and basket in one!

I found this great pattern and instructions for making bags that look a bit more like baskets – called bagskets.

They are especially handy for when going to the beach with all the towels and sunscreen, books and cold drinks. They can also be used for kids toys, crafting material, all the shoes that need to go along on holiday, or about any use you can think of!

On the inside there are various size pockets to store a host of smaller items. This is really a very useful bag!

Bagsket butterflies and polkadots

Hearts all around

I’ve always wanted to have one of those long rectangular cushions for our bed. After browsing some pictures, I got the idea of making a white cushion with 4 different hearts on it. Using different colours of material, embroidery thread and buttons this is the end result:

Rectangular cushion with hearts applique

Rectangular cushion with hearts applique

A beautiful loving addition to our bedroom!

Damask napkins repurposed into scatter cushions

I inherited four of my mother’s damask napkins that my grandmother gave to her when she and my dad were just married. These napkins have been in my cupboard for a while and I never quite knew what to do with them. They are quite old and I did not really want to use them for everyday use, I wanted to do something special. That is when I thought of making pillowcases out of them.

Each napkin is approximately 45x45cm, so they are just the right size for a pillowcase. Before sewing the napkins together, I hand-stitched some pretty beads to the front of the pillowcase, just to add some life to the white. I only had to buy two zippers, the rest of the items I already had. If you don’t have beads, some ribbon or embroidery thread could also be used to decorate.

This is what the end products looked like…a nice addition to our bedroom!


If you would like some more ideas on what to do with unused napkins, visit my Pinterest board: