What to Do with a Gorgeous Piece of Fabric

Sometimes a fabric is just too beautiful to cut up.

I had that experience with a beautiful piece of silk fabric that I purchased recently. It was a gorgeous ethnic print that I just could not imagine into a garment, no matter how hard I tried.

In the end I just kept it exactly as it was–a 44" x 44" square. The selvedges were just as perfect as the rest of the fabric, so I just neatened the cross-grain sides and finished them with a rolled hem. You would be amazed how many different ways I have worn that square of silk: as an elegant scarf for the office, a summery wrap tunic top over shorts, a sarong over a pair of leggings, and I have even used it as an impromptu picnic tablecloth! 

In the end, a square of cloth is just a shape and particularly if the fabric is drapey, there are so many ways that you can wear that shape:

Elegant Scarf Summery Wrap Tunic Silky Sarong


There is a great new book out called Shape Shape: Sewing Clothing Patterns to Wear Multiple Ways that explores the concept of manipulating silhouettes, just as I did with my scarf. You can find it in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have a beautiful piece of fabric that you just can't bear to cut up? What are your plans for it? Tell us below!

Happy stitching!

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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

8 thoughts on “What to Do with a Gorgeous Piece of Fabric

  1. I bought a piece of fabric several years ago that to me was just too beautiful to pass up. It was rainbow hued sheer and I had no idea what I would do with it for a long time. So I just laid it across our spare bed and would just go look at it feel it for months! LOL Finally I found the perfect pattern for it and made it into a stunning dress. Sometimes you just have to listen to the fabric until you can hear what it wants 🙂


  2. I have a large piece of Red Velvet. I was given it as a 16yr old when I fell in love with it. It was so cool and silky smooth to touch, yet heavy and luxurious and at the same time soft and drapy. It was old then, that was 40 years ago. My piece of red velvet is still intacked. It lives in an old glory box in my craft room. I take it out from time to time and drape it around myself. Over the years I have dreamed it into various garments, but never dared cut it. Will my dughters love it like I do, or will they send it to the Op shop?
    Maybe the time has come to create something with it?

  3. I have 2 pure silk saris, one in hues of blue and the other browns & yellows, purchased over 30 years ago in a market in Calcutta. Because I am not Indian, I think a sari would look stupid on me; however I would love to hear some ideas on what to do with these. They are so fine, I would be reluctant to cut them up. Also I cannot bear to part with them. Any ideas?


  4. Penny,
    Have you considered using the saris as home decoration? Perhaps draped above a window? Swooped on the wall of a stairwell?

    What a nice problem to have! They sound beautiful.


  5. Penny,
    You could also add a fusible liner to the silk and create yummy oversized bed pillows ( 20×20 ). I did this with some “treasured” fabrics from Africa and am so glad I finally got them out of the trunk they’d been hidden away in for 10 years and are now appreciated every day.

  6. I also took some larger fabric pieces ( also from Africa) and sewed pocket sleeves at one edge and have them as window dressing in rooms that don’t get our harsh mtn sun….lovely to look at !

    I’d prob’ly fuse the saris on the diagonal to a solid curtain backing and hang them as art that way in a room.

  7. I have the same predicament with pieces of fabric I bought as a three piece set from an ethnic van; one piece I turned into easy fitting trousers for me which drape so beautifully and a hair bobble for my youngest daughter, but the other two I have tried draping around me for sarong, tunic and one in particular because it has a lovely beaded addition to the pattern I am thinking of using as GiannyL does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk_D27Oz1eM&list=PLB70D9BAFB197BE4C&index=18&feature=plpp_video.