Upcycling is a great way of creating something new without breaking the bank. Old duvet covers, when they’ve served their purpose but are a little too threadbare for the charity shop, are a fantastic source of free fabric and can be converted into a range of new items. All you need is a sewing machine and a rainy afternoon.

Cushion covers 

The simplest way to use an old duvet cover is by making cushion covers from it. Covering existing bed cushions with them will ensure they match the bedroom decor and will create a way of incorporating the old pattern back into the room.  Cut out two pieces of fabric using the old cushion cover as a template, with one piece a few inches longer than the other. Cut the longer piece in half and hem both the rough edges. Then place the two hemmed pieces over the single piece, matching up the hemmed edges so they overlap in the middle to create an opening for the cushion, and sew together. 

Bunting

This is a great option if most of the duvet cover is a too tatty to be used, as it requires only a small amount of the fabric but still creates a beautiful item. Bunting cheers up any space but can be expensive to buy new, so this is an excellent option for saving the pennies. Simply make a template of a perfect triangle shape from baking parchment (measure it out to make sure the sides are equal), then cut out multiples of these triangles from the good parts of the old duvet cover. Hem them, sew them all to a long piece of ribbon then sit back and enjoy your brand new bunting. Add bows or spare buttons to the cord for extra decoration.

Garment bags

Image source: Emily Co (Pinterest) 

Another good option if your old cover is fraying, as garment bags will hang nicely out of sight in a wardrobe but still serve a useful purpose by keeping clothes ordered and dust free. Roughly cut the pieces of fabric to size and sew together to create bags, with holes in the top to allow the coat hangers to poke through. 

Toy drawstring bags

Image source: The Sewing Sessions

Drawstring bags are great for ordering the mess and paraphernalia let by small children – toys, lego, crayons – which can be annoying to tidy up.  Not only do they provide neat and tidy vessels to keep the toys in, they also make collecting them up easier: just fully undo the drawstring so the bag can lay completely flat to the floor, collect and scoop up all the pieces in the middle, then pull the drawstring. To do this, cut a large circle in the old duvet and hem it and make holes around the edges so a piece of rope or string can be threaded all the way round. Remember to make sure the string is long enough to allow the bag to lie flat on the ground. 

Table runner/place mats

Source: Apartment Therapy

A pretty table runner can smarten up any table, and is a great modern alternative to a full table cloth. Cut the duvet cover down the middle to make a uniform and equal rectangle shape, long enough to run from one end of the table to another with enough left at each end to overhang. Hem and iron flat.  As an extra special touch, you can make matching place mats with the offcuts too. 

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