I'm always on the lookout for lovely bits of fabric, lace and embroidery when I'm at a flea market. I have a big linen closet that is no longer used for linens; it now houses all of my precious bits of fabric finds. I like to buy single napkins that are beautifully embroidered and dish towels that may have a delicate stitched border. Even if the rest of the fabric is stained or in tatters, I'll find a way to use the good parts eventually.
Here are three very simple ways to use these special remnants:
1. Make a pin
2. Sew a decorative pocket over an existing blouse pocket.
3. Embellish your fabric tote bag
-- Embroidered motifs in napkins, towels, pillowcases and more
-- Needle and thread
-- Clothes or accessories to embellish
Optional if you're making a pin:
-- Pin backing
-- Liquid thread
1. Start by assembling your embroidered fabrics and laying them on your desired project. Get an idea for where you would like to sew down your bits and pieces. If you want to cover a blouse pocket, make sure you have enough fabric around the embroidery to be able to turn the raw edges under as you're sewing it down.
2. The joy in this project is that you can work in any way that feels comfortable. If you would rather use a sewing machine to sew a large piece of embroidery onto your tote bag, go for it! If you're a no-sew person, the pin project might be best: cut out the bit of embroidery you like, use liquid thread to keep the edges from fraying and Fabri-tac or sew the pin backing on.
3. You can use a variety of very simple hand stitches to make vintage fabric scrap look great on your new project, like blanket stitch, backstitch and running stitch.
Dena Fishbein is the designer and artist behind many home, gift and paper products found at your favorite stores. To ask her how to embellish anything, visit her blog at denadesigns.com.