Did you know you can buy fun and affordable fabric in Ikea?! I remember when I first discovered the fabric section and fell in love. Ikea are well known for their bright textiles and homeware, however I don’t believe lots of sewists think of them when it comes to fabric shopping.

Samples of black and white patterned fabric

Beautiful black and white cotton and drill prints

Admittedly, the fabrics Ikea produce are mostly more suitable for homeware such as cushions and curtains, as they tend to be heavy and more like cotton drills than standard dressmaking fabrics. These fabrics could be used for sturdier garments, like the Tilly and The Buttons Cleo pinafore dress, or for bags and purses. Alongside the sturdy fabrics, there are usually some lighter weight ones, more suited to dresses and skirts, and lighter ‘cupboard’ curtain-type projects.

It’s the designs of the fabrics that really captures my attention though: they feature lots of bright, bold graphics that are often geometric or organic in structure. They look very different to the prints you typically get on homeware fabrics, and from the prints available in traditional fabric shops.

Samples of Ikea fabric hung in a row

Painterly, expressive fabric designs

Ikea decorate their shopping areas and restaurant with cut lengths of their fabric, which is an incredibly simple way of brightening the space, and would be easy to replicate at home.

How to buy Ikea fabric

Buying fabric at Ikea is a little different to most fabric shops, as its self-service: you need to cut and pack it for yourself.

The fabric is displayed hanging up, with labels that clearly display its price per meter, what it is made out of (almost always 100% cotton) and its approximate shrinkage. The bolts of fabric are usually located under the displays, but like with many parts of Ikea, customers move things about so they may be a bit jumbled.

Find the right bolt of fabric and unroll it onto the cutting table. There will be scissors held on magnetic strips next to the cutting area. Roll out your fabric on the table, lining it up with the rulers built in to the table surface. Cut your fabric using the cutting guides inset into the table top.

Place your cut fabric into one of the sealable plastic bags, and then place it onto the fabric scales, following the instructions. There will usually be a member of Ikea staff to help you do this. The scales will print a price label that you stick to your plastic bag, and you are done!

Things to make with your Ikea fabric

  • Staple it on to a cheap artists canvas to create an instant piece of art
  • Hang lengths of it to brighten up a room instead of hanging pictures
  • Sew a TATB Cleo dress!
  • Sew storage baskets for your fabric stash, like these Sturdy Fabric baskets (free Craftsy pattern)
  • Sew a device case or laptop case like this: laptop bag pattern where the extra fabric strength will help with its durability
Ikea sign: "Design for Everyone"

Bright and affordable fabrics

Bolt of fabric with bright colours blobs

Lovely bright Ikea NEDJA fabric

I have just bought 2 meters of the NEDJA fabric at £4 per meter. It is a bold and colourful pattern on a white background which I would like to make into a Cleo pinafore dress. I worry I might look like a kids TV presenter, so I might change my mind. With 2 meters of it I can easily change plans and make something else!