Pretty DIY muslin projects for quick seasonal decorating

DIY Muslin Projects to help you spring into the season

My love affair with fabric almost always, points my decorating changes to textile coverings: be it, revamping pillows; slip-covering chairs; sewing window dressings or covering books. Covers are easy: they are small, require little material and don’t take up a lot of sewing time. Besides, spring’s already here, with a little twist; I plan to whip up some fast covers, without zippers to start the refreshing process. If you visit regularly, you know I love quick results.


Above: Muslin cushion cover with self-fringe before washing. Notice the difference in the fringe in image below.


The Pretty DIY muslin projects origin

I challenged myself to create useful and pretty items besides kitchen towels, until every scrap is finished. If you haven’t read my earlier posts; I’m referring to the bolt of muslin I bought, by accident, a few months ago. I still have more than 20 yards of it left. And since the challenge doesn’t end until the bolt is done, today’s idea comes to you courtesy the DIY muslin projects series.


Before we start, let’s discuss some features and uses of unbleached muslin. Following is valuable information that will equip you to create your best DIY muslin projects.

About muslin

How muslin is made and relative prices

Muslin is inexpensive. I picked up my 30 yards @ 60” wide for $100 CDN Dollars–shipping included.

It is a plain weave cotton that’s absorbent, breathes and is anti-static. It comes in flame retardant and non flame retardant versions and is available in light, medium and heavy weights. In the textile industry, woven fabrics are created on looms by interweaving vertical yarns called the warp and horizontal yarns, the weft, at right angles. Fabrics are labeled FR (flame retardant) when treated to resist or slow down catching fire.

Widths and sizes

Muslin widths vary: For garments, curtains and bedding, it’s usually available anywhere between 36-inches and 108-inches; whereas in theatre and photography fields, it’s obtainable in seamless breadths as wide as 468-inches; possibly more.

Characteristics and ease of sewing

Even if your sewing skills are at beginner level, it’s easy to sew.

Muslin tears/rip in straight lines vertically and crosswise -eliminating the need to cut through with scissors in linear projects. So, if you’re making curtains, cushions, kitchen towels, or any item that’s a rectangle or square, feel free to mark, snip and rip.

To tear fabric, snip into the selvage with scissors; grip snipped edges in both hands and pull apart.

Having said that; if you make a mistake while sewing take caution when un-ripping stitches; a tug on a small notch can cause the fabric to tear.

Note: On plain muslin, there’s no clearly visible right and wrong sides. Usually, plain fabrics folded on bolts are done so with wrong sides facing out. Check the selvage to see if there’s a noticeable difference. If you can’t make a distinction, for consistency and peace of mind, designate a right side and mark it with safety pins before prewashing or dyeing. Do the same when cutting and preparing to sew pattern pieces.


Above: Cushion cover completed and washed a second time; repeat washings causes the fringe to bloom.


Cleaning and caring for muslin

Muslin is washable, bleachable and able to withstand the dryer’s heat. Be prepared to iron though; it wrinkles. To combat wrinkles, use a spray bottle with water to dampen muslin before pressing; do this even when using a steam iron. Place muslin on an ironing board or flat padded surface; position iron on the cotton setting and press.

Tip: If you don’t mind a bit of stiffness, spray starch would do wonders to help smooth out wrinkles.

Air-drying flat or on a clothesline is likely to produce fewer wrinkles. But be prepared to wait; unlike synthetics and poly cotton blends, it doesn’t dry as quickly.

Bleaching and dyeing

My mother used to bleach muslin flour sacks white, by wetting them and repeatedly spreading them out in the sun. From that, I know unbleached muslin will eventually whiten when continually exposed to sunlight.

Muslin readily accepts dye; keep unbleached muslin’s beige/cream color in mind though; it will influence resulting shade or tint.

Muslin uses

Garment industry

Muslin is a staple in the garment industry and with home sewists as well. It is used to sew sample garments for test fittings; allowing for making necessary adjustments before cutting costlier fabrics. In fact, that process is called making a muslin.

Crafts DIY and Home

Bed, Bath and soft furnishings


Slip covers

Cushion covers

Quilt backings

Sheets and pillow cases

Tea bags and sieve

Veggie bags, tote bags and drawstring bags

Dish, kitchen and tea towels

Napkins and placemats

Face and wash cloths

Fabric weaving, fabric jewellery

Wall hangings

Mixed media and Textile art

Clothing and Sleepwear


Theater and Photography

Many massive backdrops and elaborate stage sets are constructed with muslin; it is a workhorse in the theatre and photography industries.

To make your own DIY backdrop, hang a length of muslin from a pole, as you would a curtain panel. Draping it over a tabletop or similar surface is also an option in flat lay photography. If you are unfamiliar with flat lay photography, it simply means taking photos on a flat surface. You’ll need an adequate light source for best results.

For more interesting details on muslin, visit RoseBrand


pretty DIY muslin cushion covers

Materials you will need

Medium weight fabric large enough to cover entire pillow form; with over lapping back panels and a 3-inch band all around

Sewing machine


Pins - straight and safety


Pillow form

Tape measure and ruler

Dressmaker’s chalk or water soluble pen


Topstitch: Generally, a straight stitch that runs parallel to edges and seams.

Backstitch: To stitch forward and backward more than once at the starting and end points of seams. It prevents seams from unraveling. It also strengthens areas where stitches are prone to breaking.

Note: Besides plain muslin, any other cotton or fabric that frays will obtain comparable results.



Making self fringed cushion covers

Step 1. To calculate the amount of fabric you will need, measure pillow height and width from edge to edge in both directions. If your pillow is a square, both measurements will be the same. If it’s a rectangle, one side will be longer; the process is identical.

Calculating and cutting front panel

Step 2. From pillow form measurements obtained; add a 3 inch border all around. Let’s say your form is (18”x18”) you’ll need to cut your fabric at (24”x24”) as previously mentioned, use the same method, for a rectangular form.

Using front to calculate and cut back panels

Step 3. With front pattern piece as a guide, cut 2 pieces of fabric ¾ times the size of front panel length.

Note: To obtain back panels measurement, divide length of any side of front panel by 4 and multiply the result by 3 . For rectangles, calculate and cut the ¾ length measurements lengthwise.

Tip: An easy way to find back panel size without calculations or a tape is to fold the front panel in four; then, unfold leaving one fold in place. The distance between the folded and raw edges is your back panel measurements.

Marking and preparing front and back pieces

Step 4. On right side of fabric, with a ruler, and dressmaker’s chalk, draw a 3-inch border in from the edges of all 4 sides.

Hemming back pieces

Step 5. (a)With the wrong sides of fabric facing up, along the longer side of pattern piece, turn over a 1-inch fold press and pin. (b) Create a double fold by turning first fold over again; press and pin. Use a medium length machine stitch to hem both back panels.

Aligning, overlapping, and pinning back pieces

Step 6. With right sides of back panels facing up, stack, align and overlap pieces to match front panel measurements. Pin layers together along both hemlines to prevent fabric from shifting.

Pinning front and back panels together

Step 7. Place front panel on a flat surface, right side down. With right side of pinned back panel facing up, place the back panel on top of front. Ensuring layers are flat, pin panels together about half inch inside marked line on all sides.

Stitching front and back panels together

Step 8. Set machine on a small zigzag stitch; with front side of panel up; remove any pins from stitch path; topstitch all around at outer edge of marked line. It is acceptable for edge of zigzag stitches to touch marked line. Alternately, use 2 rows of straight stitches. Backstitch twice at the beginning and end of all stitches.

Cutting away unwanted and bulk fabric for consistent fringe thickness

Step 9. Use scissors to cut out corners and remove upper layers of fabric where it overlaps. Begin making 1/4” wide cuts, through both layers of fabric, from edge to stitch line around entire border. You are not after perfection here; try to avoid cutting into stitches.

Congratulations; your cushion cover is finished! Now, slip in your pillow form and enjoy. Or choose to toss it in the wash; which will create a marked difference in the fringe appearance. Either way, many thanks for participating in this segment of pretty DIY muslin projects.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by.

If the Lord will, see you next time.