If you are a serious fabric hound as I am, chances are you have quite a bit of fabric scrap lying around the house. The solution? Turn all of your fabric scraps into a lovely garland with this tutorial from contributor Sonya Yong James of Modern Fiber Lab. Problem solved!
The fabric used for the garland was what remained from prior sewing projects, old clothes, vintage fabrics from thrift stores, and, believe it or not, old bed sheets. I had been holding onto a stash of old bed sheets that I just couldn’t bear to throw away or part with. These were often really fine 400-thread count sateen damask cotton or Marimekko sheets that had simply faded or that my dogs had ruined over the years.
The garland is incredibly easy to make – you just need a few basic tools. It’s perfect for a little girl’s birthday party or even for her bedroom. I recently used the versatile garland at a friend’s barn wedding.
- Fabric of any kind
- Rope (I used jute rope left over from my garden)
- RIT dye
Step 1: Cut The Fabric
Cut the fabric in 2-inch intervals, roughly one inch from the edge. Next, carefully tear the fabric into your desired length. I purposely left the pieces in slightly different lengths and widths to give the garland more interest. Most of the pieces were roughly 40 inches long.
Step 2: Dye The Fabric
I’m an avid fiber dyer, so I dyed the Marimekko bed sheets and other fabric with RIT dye, leaving some of the strips plain. You can find RIT dye at any craft supply store or even at the grocery store.
The best way to achieve deep, brilliant colors is on the stove top. Use a large pot and bring to a boil for about 30 minutes. After much experimenting, I realized that the only way to get great color was to add a whole cup of table salt to the pot and the entire packet of dye. I then hung it out to dry on a clothes line.
A simpler method would be to dye the fabric in the washing machine and then dry it in the dryer. Dye the whole sheet in this way, otherwise you will have huge crazy knots of fabric that will take hours to untangle.
Of course, dyeing the fabric isn’t necessary… just a fun way to play with color.
Step 3: Tie The Fabric
I took one of the strips of fabric and tied it onto the rope at the midpoint of the fabric. I purposely left a lot of jute rope at each end for tying the garland later. Tie the fabric in a simple knot and you are on your way.
Repeat with the next piece of fabric. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Continue until your garland is the desired length. That’s it! It took about 24 strips of 2 inch wide fabric to make a foot of the garland. The finished garland was approximately 7 feet long and included roughly 168 pieces of torn fabric. Dimensions will vary based on the fabric that you use.