Stash Busting Footstool

It’s home decor month on the stash-busting Facebook group I’m part of and, truthfully, it’s the first time it is really about stash busting for me. My sewing life has been mostly home decor for years, it is only in the last year I’ve been dressmaking. I’ve accumulated a nice stash of garment fabrics but am not feeling that guilt that comes from from true stash yet! However, I have loads of left over home decor fabric, and agreeing to do this blog was a good motivator to think up ways of using my hardest to shift stash.

This is the selection I chose, mostly heavy fabric I never use. My genius idea was to make something which profiled an on trend piece of fabric which is really too small for much else using the rest as supporting cast! The yummy stamp fabric was left over from covering a chair and I only had a strip four stamps wide.

So here is the finished product – a footstool which looks like a giant doorstop, including a handy handle, tutorial follows below.

You will need

Six panels of fabric, four retangles and 2 squares


Filling material – sawdust or bean bag beans (see comparison below)

Extra fabric pieces for strap


  1. Cut the four retangles size according to what fabric you have mine we about 40x50cm but it really doesn’t matter. Add two squares in contrast fabric on top and any thing you have left for the base. View below is of wrong sides facing.
  2. Make the strap long enough to go all the way to the base (see layout above). I used up my least favourite fabric, doubled over to the centre and stitched down – this used loads of old bobbins up – a total stash busting whizz. Yay for empty bobbins!
  3. I then made a sleeve for the strap (so the nice fabric shows) I quilted it down with lots of top stitching. The view below shows the right sides of the layout.
  4. I stuck some bits of interfacing around the base because the weave tended to fray in the yellow fabric, I don’t want the zip to come away. The other fabrics didn’t need stabilising in my view.
  5. Make up the base, I always reckon that the zip adds about the same width as is lost in the seam allowance, therefore I cut the base square and just insert the zip. Another tip – do this at one side not the middle, it makes filling easier. Oh and yet another tip – insert zip upside down, then it can’t accidentally come undone and spill – I do this for all home decor zips.
  6. Sew the side panels together in a strip, I didn’t photograph this because I changed the method on the second one I made, it worked much better this way (but it was bad light!).
  7. Tack (baste) the strap in place.
  8. Sew top to sides leaving support straps inside
  9. Sew final side seam
  10. Sew in base
  11. Sew a second line of stitching all round to ensure no spill in case of breakage.
  12. Overlock all edges – belt and braces!!
  13. Open zip and turn right side out, ensure corners are fully turned out.
  14. Fill, I did the first one with wood shavings/sawdust
  15. Close zip, push the zip pull right into the seam and it won’t come undone

I wasn’t sure about the look of the sawdust filled footstool so I made a second and filled it with poly bean bag beans. I’ve pictured them side by side. I actually like the beans (left) better – annoying because they were stash and I bought the wood shavings. The wood shavings one is firmer though, take your pick…

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