Scrap fabric, pillows and summer

scrapfabric3The sun is out – for a few days at least! When it appears, the first thing I notice is how dirty my house is.

If this happens to you, I advise two courses of possible action. First, you could clean. Second, you could get out of the house until it is too dark to see all the dust and hairballs floating around and save yourself some grief and work.

You can probably guess which path I take. While not deluding myself that it is time to uncover the yard furniture, I was trying to uncover at least one chair and some pillows. The pillow situation was a bit touch and go, but I have a solution. Scraps, baby. While buying outdoor pillows is an option, I am more fond of a solution involving scrap material, of course. During the cold and rainy winter months I surf ebay for scrap material. I’m fond of vintage upholstery fabric from the 60s, but Designer’s Guild upholstery remnants are also a favorite. And, of course, vintage tablecloths and bizarre finds (yellow floral chiffon) end up on my pile as well. This scrap pile is used for many projects, with a seasonal favorite being outdoor pillows. As indoor pillows (from the bed, seat cushions, bolster pillows) die, I pull out the scraps and remnants and table cloths and make new pillowcases (or rather, my mom does). These recovered / repurposed pillows are great for outside, though many end up staying inside as well.

scrapfabric1I’ve always thought it would be cool to buy one huge sheet of scrap fabric, or several pieces of matching fabric, and cover 15 or 20 pillows for a unified outside look. But I have commitment issues, and a patchwork is what I always create. For mastery of consistency, check out this link from Martha Stewart. While not as strong as drop cloths, vintage table cloths, scrap material, and upholstery remnants can all be used to get these looks. And if you do want drop cloths, check with friends and Craigslist to see if you can get any great used materials – especially if you’re going to dye them.

The rain will start up again in a couple of weeks. When it does, you could start surfing for fabric remnants. Check your linen closets, too. Old bedspreads can make awesome pillows. Also start collecting the random pillows sitting around the house that are ready to be retired or in need of recovering. If you get to work now you’ll be ready to lounge around outside like a princess when the sun returns in July. Or…you could clean the house. Your call.

Portlander Nancy Ranchel is a self-described accountant, design fan, serial re-modeler, compulsive re-user and blog writer.