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May 10, 2011

Small Ideas For Vintage Fabric

Or Andrea’s Fun-Filled Mini-Projects!

By Andrea

I am a total sucker for vintage fabric. I have a hard time passing it up when I come across it. However, as nice as it would be to find yards and yards of vintage fabric, the fact is that often, the pieces of fabric you come across are quite small. Pillows are one option you often see to use and display these smaller pieces of vintage fabric, but I’ve got a few other ideas for you today, and a tutorial for the last one!
Valance – although this valance is not a traditional mid-century valance style, this print still adds some mid-mod feel to my kitchen. I was working with a very small piece of fabric here, which is why I went with the cafe curtain style rings and clips for the top of the valance. This print cracks me up because of the cigarettes – only on a mid-century fabric print would you find cigarettes!
Bag – again, although this style of bag isn’t mid-century, it is incredibly practical, and making it out of barkcloth gives it a vintage feel. I also used a vintage bakelite button for the closure to add to the vintage feel. There are scads of vintage buttons on eBay, and if you’re not looking for a full set, they can be had very inexpensively.

And now for our tutorial project – coasters!

What you’ll need:

-vintage fabric

-thin sheets of cork (what I used were plain cork placemats that I found at a home decor store. These can be found online as well)

-hot glue gun (I STRONGLY recommend getting a hot glue gun from the woodworking section of your local home improvement store. They are infinitely better than ones you’ll find in the crafting section)

-sewing machine (optional)


First step – cut your bases for your coasters from your cork. I found a coaster that I liked the shape of at home and traced it.


Second step – trace your coaster shapes on to the wrong side of your fabric. Add a half inch hem allowance to all sides. I notched out the corners to minimize bulk since the fabric I am using is fairly thick – if your fabric is thick, you’ll want to do this as well.


Third step – turn your hem allowance under on all sides and press


Fourth step – you have two choices here. I sewed around the edge of my coaster, because I wanted the look of the stitching. However – if you don’t want to, or can’t sew, you can simply use a thin bead of your hot glue to hold your hem allowance down. Just make sure you press it flat so you don’t have lumps from your bead of glue


Fifth step – take your cork, and cover it quite generously with the hot glue. Stick your hemmed fabric square on top quickly, and press it down well so you don’t get lumps from the bead of glue.

Option #2 – if you have a sewing machine that you feel can handle it, you can sew the fabric directly on to the cork.


If you’re going this route, simply use a little hot glue in the middle to tack the fabric down to the coaster


Sew around the edge as you would with any other fabric.


That’s it, you’re done! Repeat until you have as many coasters you desire.

Coaster action shot!

Any questions – please ask in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer!

Awesome ideas and great tutorial, Andrea!!! If you guys want to see another fun tutorial, check out the blog for Andrea’s shop, Sew What Fabrics, for a retro-print placemat tutorial!

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8 Responses to Small Ideas For Vintage Fabric

  1. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    May 10, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Great ideas, Andrea! Thanks for including one for the non-sewers in the bunch – like me. 🙂

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    May 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I am a sucker for vintage fabric too, I can NEVER pass the stuff up. 🙂 I really love your valance, the cigarettes are a real hoot! The coaster idea is FAB, I can’t wait to make some.

  3. sablemable Reply

    May 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm


    Great post, girlfriend! Looking forward to seeing (and trying) your projects!

    BTW, email me as I have some MCM sewing ideas in some of my vintage magazines that I will happily scan to you!

    One project I’d love to see you do (as I need desperately the help with) is doing button-tufted pillows.

  4. Pingback: Check out my guest post at No Pattern Required.com! — Sew What?

  5. Andrea Reply

    May 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Eartha – Thanks! I will try, whenever possible to offer some no-sew options, too, as I realize not everyone sews!

    Sara – Thanks! They are super quick and easy to do 🙂

    Saaable! I will definitely email, check your email soon! If you want to send me a pic or two of the tufted button pillows that you like (since there’s a few styles), I can definitely tackle a tute for those in an upcoming post!

  6. sablemable Reply

    May 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Andreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I’ll scan a pic of the pillow to you.

  7. RetroRuth Reply

    May 11, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Those coasters are PERFECT, Andrea! I know a couple of shredded aprons and quilting scraps that I need to use because the fabric is just so adorable.

    Also, I second the tutorial on a tufted pillow! I want to sew, but I am sew hopeless. (Hat.)

    That cigarette fabric cracks me up!!

  8. Andrea Reply

    May 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Hee, Ruth, you’re so punny! I will definitely add a tufted pillow tute to the upcoming list.

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