Repurposing Old Fabric for Piping

This week I finally fitted a trio of pelmets which looked really lovely in my client’s living room and updated the look and feel of the room, which was the main purpose of this project. However, it wasn’t an easy job, mainly because I was asked by my client to repurpose some old fabric to use as the piping for the pelmet boards.

My client has had her curtains for over 20 years and they were framed with some rather old fashioned swags and tails. She was looking for a low budget solution to bring her window treatments up to date. They didn’t want to spend a fortune because they may be moving house within the next couple of years, but she also couldn’t bear to live with her swags and tails any longer!

Unfortunately we weren’t able to source the exact same fabric that the curtains were made up with, so we opted for a contrasting colour for the main fabric on the pelmets, and using the fabric from the old swags and tails, I made piping to bring the whole look together. I do understand of course everyone’s desire to repurpose old things if at all possible as it really can keep the costs down. However, when it comes to repurposing fabrics, there is one crucial thing to take into consideration…

What is the old fabric going to be used for?

Check the fabric is suitable for its new purpose. Your idea may be brilliant but in reality might not work, simply because the fabric was not designed for certain uses. In the example above, I had to cut the fabric across the grain to create the piping, because the pieces of fabric were too small to cut on the bias…It¬†actually worked out alright in the end because it was mainly used on a straight edge, but using new fabric would have created a much better look, particular where the piping needed to curve around corners. You see, cutting piping on the bias allows it to take curves more easily and in general it provides an overall cleaner look than straight cut piping. This image demonstrates perfectly what I’m trying to say!

source: Sew Much Easier

Whilst budget constraints may prevent you from spending a little bit more on new fabric, if you can stretch to it, please do, even for the small details like piping! You won’t regret it. Bear in mind that 1 meter of fabric can make about 12 meters of piping…and it’s so much nicer to have lovely long strips of piping without too many joins in it!

To see the pelmets that are the subject of this blog post, please visit my portfolio gallery.