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No Strings Attached

I can’t sew. While earning my Brownie craft badge in elementary school, I gave it the good, old fashioned try; I did. But, oh!, the panic I felt with all those strings everywhere! I did get my badge (with my mom’s help), but as an adult, I drop my jeans off at the tailor, and Stitch Witchery is my weapon of choice for a solid curtain hem.

So when I saw Centsational Girl’s no-sew pillow covers, I filed it away for future reference. And with my grandma’s chair currently at the upholstery shop, I wanted to have a new, snuggly pillow to greet that seat with open arms upon her return. I already had the pillow form, but both Scott and I were ready to move on from the original case:

I read and re-read Kate’s tutorial, because yeah, I really am that bad with sewing tutorials (even of the no-sew variety). On the fifth read through it clicked, and I realized I could do mine a little differently to make it easier. Because I wasn’t using two cloth napkins like Kate, I knew I’d be able to make a continuous loop of fabric so as to only have to “stitch” two sides. My plan worked, it was so, so easy, and I ended up with this:

If you’re afraid of sewing machines like me (and if you’re not, then throw a few pointers this way! I may be willing to try again soon), here’s how it went down – in under 30 minutes, too.

Gather your supplies. You’ll need an iron/ironing board, a damp washcloth, fabric, scissors, Stitch Witchery (or any fusible bonding web) and a measuring tape.

Cut your fabric down to size. Our pillow was 11″ x 22,” and I cut my fabric down to 14″ x 49.” The 14″ allows for an extra inch of oomph for the form to fit, and you need an extra inch on each side for the Stitch Witchery. The longer side worked out like this: 22″ + 22″ (because it would be folded in half, and this accounts for both sides) + 1″ for oomph + 2″ overlap for an envelope enclosure + 2″ for the bonding web on each flap of the enclosure (1″ for each side).

Dry fit your case to make sure you’re on the right track. You can see here why one side was 49″ in length; it wraps around the entire pillow with extra room to overlap for the enclosure.

Bond the ends of your envelope enclosure. Cut your bonding web to size, and place it under the folded lip of fabric – I like to pre-iron the lip so I get a nice crease. In my case, this was done on the short side.

Use a damp washcloth between the iron and the fabric, and hold the iron in place. The instructions will usually recommend 10 seconds to secure the bond, but I like to hold it down for closer to 30 seconds. Do this along the entire side, then repeat on the opposite side.

Turn your fabric so it’s facing inside out. Create your pillow shape, and make sure the ends are overlapping (I had a 2″ overlap). Dry fit your pillowcase once more. You want it to be slightly larger than your form, but not so large that you’ll get a sad, baggy case.

Bond the final two sides of your case. I put the Stitch Witchery towards the edge and lined it up as straight as possible. Make sure it goes all the way across your fabric – some web overlap in the corners is better.

Turn it right side out, and admire what you’ve made! Holy ships, you’ve made an envelope enclosure for your pillow. How fancy are you?

You’ll want to make sure the bonding web has completely cooled before handling the case to prevent it from coming apart. Once it’s cool to the touch, it should be pretty tough, and you can (carefully) insert your pillow.

Until Grandma’s chair finds her way into the studio (I am trying with all my might not to badger the kind people at the upholstery shop!), the new pillow will hang in the living room.

The striped fabric came from Ikea, and because it was technically out of stock (although still on the selling floor), they sold me the display piece (about 2 yards!) for $5. I decided on the bold pattern after pinning this gorgeous pillow from Proud Mary (but realizing I didn’t have a hundo in my accessory budget). If I’m lucky enough to find the right ones, I’ll even add the pink tassels.

Easy, right?

See more of our studio ideas on our Pinterest board, right here.

  • Crystal - March 27, 2012 - 9:05 AM

    Sounds interesting. I have to admit, though, that using iron-on adhesives scares me more than just doing the sewing for it, especially on something that is so straight forward with just a few short, straight seams.

    I think the key to sewing it to get a sewing machine (borrow a well-working one if possible) and just sit down with plenty of time, and just start sewing. Sewing tutorials confuse me too, and I sew regularly.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 27, 2012 - 9:25 AM

    Crystal, a few straight lines on a sewing machine is enough to scare me away! All the strings… coming in from every direction… I WILL learn someday!

    The bonding web is actually super strong – all the curtains in our home are used with it, too!ReplyCancel

  • Centsational Girl - March 27, 2012 - 10:19 AM

    Totally and completely fabulous! I love that bold stripe, and waht a fab result! LOVE that fusible web, it’s amazing! THank you for the shout out friend!
    xo
    KateReplyCancel

  • Shannah @ Just Us Four - March 27, 2012 - 10:59 AM

    I think I just heard bells ring and angels sing. I don’t sew at all and am always jealous of the pillows everyone seemingly throws together. Now, I can have amazing pillows too.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 27, 2012 - 11:11 AM

    Shannah, I heard those same things. There are many more pillows in our future!ReplyCancel

  • katie - March 27, 2012 - 11:33 AM

    Well the end result is great! I’d never know that it was made with fusible web, which (like with Crystal) scares me a bit. I’ve had bad experiences where it comes apart later. Sewing feels safer to me! :) But I won’t pretend that I don’t get scared of my own sewing machine sometimes. Mostly it’s that it feels like there’s always something that could go wrong. My best suggestion is to take a class. Having someone sit next to you and walk you through it is really necessary in my opinion. Otherwise, you’re always a little confused about which strings go where.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - March 27, 2012 - 10:54 PM

    You “sew” like I “sew”. I can hem many a thing with a sewing machine but I do not have a sewing machine to do anything with so I have to resort to other methods. Iron-on hem tape is my best friend. I turn too-short jeans into shorts for the kids and myself. I make curtains. I add ties and other items to shirts for my kids.

    If I’m not using iron-on hem tape, I am crafting and creating with felt and a hot glue gun. You wanna talk strong, that’ll do it! I made my Betty Rubble costume out of felt and a glue gun last October.

    And that little pillowcase you made….so love those stripes!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - March 29, 2012 - 4:47 PM

    Holy crap–I can actually sew and that looks SO much easier!!! I may chuck the old machine and start doing no-sew covers instead. I can’t believe how simple and nice that came together! ::clapping:: Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren L. - March 30, 2012 - 10:43 AM

    I’m so glad that I am not the only person that can’t sew! I got a “C” in Home Ec. in 7th grade.. obviously I am not cut out to be a housewife!!! I will definitely have to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 30, 2012 - 10:48 AM

    Thanks, everyone!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - March 30, 2012 - 5:43 PM

    It turned out so awesome! Love the boldness of the B&W for your studio. Thanks for sharing, this is a project I might actually be able to handle! :)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - April 26, 2013 - 3:16 PM

    i have one question, is it washable? i have a two year old (the reason im covering my pillows) and i need to be able to take the cover off and wash them from time to time.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 27, 2013 - 9:38 AM

    Hi Amanda, yes, it is! We have a few no sew pillows and curtains, and they’re completely washable.ReplyCancel

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