diy project: refreshing old bed linens

Time and time again I grow bored with my plain old bed sheets, or they become dingy and I yearn for the freshness of new linens before the time comes that I can afford them. A quick fix to freshening up sheets, shams, duvet covers or any other household linens only requires a bottle of good old fashioned fabric dye, minimal sewing, and just little bit of your time! I also like to save any old linens with holes or tears to be patched or to be salvaged as scrap fabric. The uses of an old bed sheet are endless, but in this project- the sheets never leave the bedroom.

Here I took an old coverlet that I have had since I was a teen and have never been able to part with, and used it as inspiration for my Spring look. A few years ago my coverlet got a small hole in it that has slowly become a giant hole, here I have patched it up and used the scraps to spruce up old pillowcases and sheets, that I darkened with RIT dye. You could also use color remover if you wanted to change color all together, and color remover on florals and prints can sometimes offer a great vintage look (be sure to test a scrap first!). Have fun with your sheets and don’t be afraid to leave unfinished edges. Also, be sure to use very soft fabrics to embellish your bed linens, so you aren’t bothered by the texture while you sleep, for this reason its best to recycle old bed linens to make new ones. -Haylie

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Old linens
Scrap Fabric
Trims or Ribbons
RIT Dye (or other household fabric dyes)
Needle & Thread
Dye Bucket

Sewing Machine

Step 1.
Gather your old linens, sheets and scrap fabrics and materials and decide what you are dyeing and what is going to be embellishment

Step 2.
Cut scraps into squares to make little florets
Floret instructions: cut squares of fabric in a range of sizes (1″-3″). fold one square into a triangle and with a needle and thread, pierce through the center of the fold as shown, string along thread to knotted end, repeat stringing 3 to 5 squares per floret, tie off with a knot. Now you have a little scrap fabric flower.

Step 3.
Following instructions included with packaged dye exactly, set up dye bath and brighten your linens (also, to remove color you may use a color remover, again following instructions included, precisely!)

Step 5.
Embellish bedding, by sewing down florets and trims. Any holes can easily be patched by basting fabric into place and then machine sewing it down. I then appliqued left over fabrics over the main patch for a homespun look.

Step 6.
Now you can make your Spring fresh bed, and take a nice afternoon nap in style!!


…scarves, t-shirts. it could apply to many things.


This reminds me of these old crazy quilts my grandma has from the early have of the 1900s. Really fun project!

melina bee

for once this is a sewing project so fool proof even I will attempt it (I just don’t have the patience for sewing sorry)


wow, I had just been thinking of doing something very similar with my eco friendly bedding, except I want to add some fabric flowers to my headboard!

emma smith

Loving the little scrap flowers. I am going to somehow incorporate them in my new stationery designs. Awesome. Inspiring.


I just wanted to say that I can’t get enough of this blog! I check my google reader about five times a day just to see if there’s another post, and the DIY projects are my absolute favorite. I love this one – the scrap flowers are adorable and so my style!


I have done similar flowers with vintage hankies. Prints or solid colors, they are very soft and if you don’t have vintage linens to use, hankies are always cheap and easily found at thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales.


Great idea! My son put lipstick on one of my pillow shams (white pillow shams!!!) that I was not able to take out. This is a great way to hide the oops.


I have so many dresses and skirts that I’ve embellished this way! I save and salvage old embroidered pillowcases and cut out the embroidery when the pillowcase has fallen apart and embellish all kinds of things. A $2 t-shirt can become a one-of-a-kind tee in minutes!


I did this on a thrifted pillow… It is INCREDIBLY easy… And looks amazing. I just bought some fabric samples from hobby lobby for the squares. Thanks for the great diy!

Kim -- The Sassy Crafter

I love the look of this project — it’s soooo Anthro! Quick questions — have you washed the shams yet? I’m curious how the raw edges of the fabric have held up.


Very beautiful idea! It looks like new and so stylish!!


I have been trying to decide if I should dye my sheets. They are a high thread count, and kind of a cream color. I dont want to dye them if the dye wont take well! does anybody know if it will work or not?