No Sew Cloth Napkin Pillow Covers

March 14, 2011

I popped into World Market over the weekend because I heard they were having a rug sale.  I was desperate for a new area rug, and when I say desperate I mean desperate with a capital D.   I’ve had the same cream Berberish carpet rug in my family room for two years, and with kids n’ pets n’ friends’ n’ snacks n’ all that loveliness, the carpet was looking very ‘Eww’.

World Market was having a sale on 6’ x 9’ rugs and 6’ x 9’ is the magic size in my house.  6’ x 9’ fits in the family room, the dining room, and the living room too, but hot dang if it isn’t hard to find an affordable stylish 6’ x 9’ rug.   They’re always 5’ x 8’ (too small) or 8’ x 10’ (too big).  Or maybe I’m just not looking in the right places.

After I scored my new rug on clearance, I couldn’t help but notice World Market had some pretty snazzy fabric napkins in their linens department, 2 for $6 dollars, nice!

m napkins

I always think pillows when I see sassy stylish cloth napkins like this, because that’s one inexpensive pillow cover if you’re willing to take the time to sew them together.  But I’ve already done that.

Then I remembered there’s a lot of you out there that don’t own a sewing machine or don’t sew, and I reckoned I could show y’all how to do it without Mr. Singer.

cg pillows in family room


Simple No Sew Removable Pillow Covers made from Cloth Napkins:

What You’ll Need:   Two cloth napkins measuring 20” x 20”; fusible web (found at any fabric store); moist washcloth; scissors; iron.




1)  Cut one napkin down the exact middle, fold over ½ inch, then align the fusible web underneath your edge.  This is to allow for an opening in the back of your pillow cover for easy removal, and also for inserting your pillow form.  With fusible web, but instead use the cut edge to seam together with your other napkin in

{Update:  *Heather makes a brilliant point !  You don’t need to bother seaming this cut edge and you can even skip step 2 !!!  Simply use the cut edge to fuse together with your other pillow as seen in Step 4!   Just like I did with these napkin pillows, well duh now why didn’t I remember that?  Thank you Heather!}

cut and web

2) Following the fusible web instructions, use a hot iron and moist washcloth to seal the seam.  Be patient, every 6 inches takes about 20 to 30 seconds for the steam to activate the webbing, but you’ll end up with a very clean seam if you do it right.  Repeat for both of the cut sides of the first napkin.

iron plus seam

BTW: This is another great trick for hemming window panels that are too long without sewing a stitch on a machine.

3) Layer your seams one over the other, with the pattern side facing up.  Next, layer your other full napkin (the one you didn’t cut in half) on top, with the pattern facing down so that both of the pattern sides are facing each other.  They will be inside out.

layer seams inside out

4) With your fusible web, use the iron and washcloth to attach the napkins together, starting first with one side with overlapping panels.  Trim the excess fabric you don’t need, and seam the remaining sides with your fusible web.

web together trim excess

Depending on how thick your pillow inserts are, they may pop out a bit in the back, but a simple safety pin or two will keep the opening closed.

Voila, purtay pillow covers from cloth napkins for six buckaroos each.

good seams

Me likey.

There’s that new rug too.

family room sofa

And another angle of the new pillows + rug.  

I played it traditional this time, but blues, creams, and traditional motifs work really well in my house.  The new rug is wool and very Ballard Designish if you ask me, but without the Ballard price tag.

side view family room


That pattern should hide kid residue a lot better than the last one.

I hope.




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131 Responses to “No Sew Cloth Napkin Pillow Covers”

  1. Miranda says:

    Beautiful!! I love the new rug, and the napkin idea is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial :) It is much appreciated.

  2. LeslieK says:

    Loverly! I am not hot with the sewing machine so I appreciate the tutorial on how to make envelope style covers sans machine. Or any sewing for that matter :). With a price tag like that, I’ll avoid the side eye from my husband that I tend to get when he sees MORE new pillows. Duh! Winning!

  3. jonalynn says:

    So cute. I actually did a napkins-to-pillow sew project Saturday and I love the result! I’ll have to try this way, too, because I’m not a great sewer. :)

  4. NicoleK says:

    love, love, love those pillows!! I just bought some fun pillows from C&B that are perfect for now but I know I’ll be looking for something new come fall. Beautiful rug too. Interesting about the different sizes. I haven’t been rug shopping in earnest so that is a good bit of info to file away… Also, may I ask where you got your couches?? (I apologize if you’ve mentioned that in previous posts…)

  5. Susan says:

    Wonderful instructions! But Kate….I really need some rugs, what is World Market?

  6. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hey Nicole, my slipcovered sofas are from Pottery Barn, the slate blue fabric.
    Susan, World Market is a retailer offering global furnishings and food products, here is the link:
    ~ Kate

  7. kt says:

    Stupid question alert! How do you change out the pillow? Are the covers reusable? Thanks!!

  8. Love that!

    I think the napkin-pillows really go well with the rug because they have kind of the similiar pattern.

    Also funny how the colors of the napkins seems to be all the rage right now. I seen about the same colors on quite a few blogs lately.

  9. Love love the rug and your pillow tutorial is just right for a non-sewer like me. Thank you !!

  10. that rug!

    I ventured out to do some garage selling over the weekend with my sister, and found some cute napkins that I wanted to make into throw pillows for my bed. I told my sister that’s what they were for and she said she’d never heard of such a thing.

    I told her she isn’t reading the right blogs!

  11. You are so darn smart!

    Janet xox

  12. Wow! Thank you so much for a great tutorial! I’m heading to World Market tomorrow! lol BEAUTIFUL rug by the way! Great Pic! I need the same size for my dining room. My 8X10 is way too small and is too, getting pretty Yucky! I’m glad I’m not the only one! lol

    Thanks so much for such a wonderful post! Ur da best!

  13. That looks so awesome! Great idea that I will definitely need to try in the future! The colors and pattern are so pretty! I will have to try this idea soon!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  14. I was just there the other day picking up a table runner. I love this idea. Their napkin selection is awesome!!

  15. The new rug is really pretty! It looks like a nice heavy, sturdy one…hopefully it will stand the test of time with “kid residue.” If someone made a kid-proof rug, they’d be instant billionaires. Great idea to do a pillow tutorial for your readers who don’t sew. I can sew, and I’m still intimidated by many projects. :) Great step by step!

  16. andrea p says:

    Great job Kate! I am so trying this!
    What size were cloth napkins you used? 20 x 20?
    Thanks & keep up the great work!
    PS – I would love to see a “house tour” button on your blog….

  17. Tonia says:

    Great way to spruce up a room quick and inexpensively

  18. Jackie says:

    Love love love. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m going to make these this weekend now with some fun spring prints! Love it!!

  19. Kasey says:

    I love the sewing machine but sometimes I just love that fabric adhesive even more. It’s so quick and easy. I wish we had a world market near by because those fabric napkins are gorgeous!

  20. Vanessa says:

    I made a trip to World Market to look for rugs this last weekend too. I was looking for a rug for my laundry room. No luck for me, but I love the one you found for your room. Thanks for this great post.

  21. Thank you so much for this post! I have no sewing maching but would love to try this. Love the finished product… I need to get some!

  22. Christine says:

    Such a great tutorial, thank you!!!

  23. Those are adorable! I love using tablecloths and napkins and shower curtains for pillow covers and the like. World Market has some of the best patterns and designs. Might have to make a trip there myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. Becca says:

    Fun, fun, fun! Love these … thanks for the wonderful tutorial, which I will, most definitely, borrow! :) Becca

  25. Janell Beals says:

    Love the pillow idea, and the rug is great!! Looks very pretty in the room and love the addition of the pattern! Janell

  26. Judy says:

    Great idea with the pillows…but I really LOVE the rug. It’s so great. I have to look into this World Market. Never heard of it until a few weeks ago from another blogger. Looks like a must to check it out. Nice score.

  27. Heather says:

    Fabulous! I’m a pillowaholic so this I love this idea! I recently made curtains from a table cloth for my dining room. I like your coffee table redo too, looks light and airy!


  28. Charissa says:

    I LOVE the pillows!!!! I love the fabric…I loved it so much I went on their site and I’m about to order them!!! I’ve just painted my living room yellow and I think these will look great on my brown couch… I’m so excited!!! Thanks for the wonderful idea!!!

  29. Love the pillows and the rug. Your room is gorgeous and comfy all at the same time. Love it!!!

  30. Beautiful pillow covers – but I adore that rug! I ♥ World Market, they have such great prices on such cool things!

  31. Melissa says:

    Love the pillows and rug. Beautiful living room. I also love your mirrors behind the couch. I have been looking for something exactly like that for my house. Where did you get them?

  32. Danielle says:

    They look great! The pattern is awesome too. Perfect for spring! I may have to try this out. I need pillows but don’t currently have a sewing machine. This is the perfect solution. Thanks for sharing!

  33. I see a trip to World Market in my future! I have some pillows desperately in need of a makeover and this is a perfect idea. Thanks for the tute!

  34. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! Your pillows are really pretty.
    I love the rug, too. The pattern is great!

  35. LOVE these!!!! Now I need to go make some pillows! :D

  36. Kevyn says:

    Hi Kate!
    I have been searching night and day for a new rug for my living room. My couch is a mushroomy taupe, my walls are light gray and my big pieces of furniture are creamy antiqued pieces. I am looking for a rug to tie all of these things together. I think you found it. I went to the website and no luck. Do you know the name of the rug so that I can call my local World Market. Any info would be wonderful! Thank you sooooo much. Also- how do you decide what the best size for your space is?

  37. Laura says:

    Did you notice that World Market napkins aren’t sewn evenly? We bought a handful to make a quick patchwork table runner and they just didn’t line up properly. I guess pillows are more forgiving, though!

  38. Thank you thank you for the tutorial for those of us who aren’t sewing-literate. :) I’ve been trying to hunt down some cute cloth napkins lately to use as… cloth napkins… so thanks for the tip on World Market! :)

  39. Rebecca W. says:

    Ach! That rug looks sooo much like the one I’ve had my eye on in the Ballard catalog but can’t afford! Can you share how much it was? If the price is right I’d have to make a trip today!

  40. Kelly says:

    No sew pillows— I love it!! I recently discovered World Market and think its a great store. Your pillows really make the funiture pop!

  41. Claudia says:

    ok, I’m off to World Market when they open!

  42. pammyg says:

    For anyone looking for another option for area rugs, has FREE rug shipping right now. That’s a big savings, considering how heavy those things can be.

  43. Lindy says:

    The pillows are great…the rug is fantastic….your decorating skills are awesome! Now movw those pillows to another room so you don’t compromise your talent….

  44. Lindy says:

    The pillows are great…the rug is fantastic….your decorating skills are awesome! Now move those pillows to another room so you don’t compromise your talent….

  45. Julie says:

    They are darling! I’ve been looking on and off for new ones for my family room. I LOVE the hem tape. I sewed 4 pillows for the nursery, and was putting off the crib skirt forever. I finally decided to use hem tape and had it done in no time – I need to remember to use it more often!

  46. Kara says:

    Oh my. You had me at no sew. Fantastic. Thanks.

  47. Heather says:

    Totally heading there this weekend to grab a few. This was a GREAT tutorial!!! Thanks.

  48. Erin says:

    Love the fabric napkin you chose to work with!

  49. Centsational Girl says:

    Hi Rebecca! The rug was $299, on sale (orig $499), great quality too, you’ll see!
    Kevyn, I’m away from my home today, but I’ll check the name on the tag when I get back! I looked for the rug on the website, it’s not there, otherwise I would link. I’m wondering if it’s on clearance ?

  50. Ofelia says:

    I love the pillows kate!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I want a sewing machine so bad!! I’ve been hinting to the fiance for one now that Mother’s day is coming!! But, I am going to try this option. My couches are in dire need of some color!!

  51. ..: Alicia :.. says:

    These pillow covers are great! Do you have any tutorials for cafe curtains? Trendy ones are really hard to find so I’m thinking of making my own using a no-sew option.

  52. Joy Wilkes says:

    Oh my! Great idea. I sew, but you know, sometimes, I just don’t wanna! Thanks for the inspiration!

  53. Ruth says:

    Love the pillows! I need to try that. I can’t seem to find any 6 x 9 sized rugs on World Market’s website. I could be overlooking it, though. I shopped by size. That’s the size I need too!

  54. Erika says:

    I’ve been following for a while and just wanted to say how much I love your blog and your sense of style!

    A completely random thought jumped into my head about 4 hours after reading this post lol. After you cut the first napkin in half, instead of hemming the cut edges for the pillow opening, couldn’t you just turn the two halfs around (180 degrees each) so the remaining seams faced each other? Then the cut edges would just be seamed into the outside edge?

    Love the blog!

  55. Kathy C. says:

    Love those pillows!! They just pop and make the room so inviting!! Amazing DIY!

  56. Kimberly says:

    Amazing pillows for a great price! I can’t wait to check out this store…didn’t even know it existed. Luckily there is one only 17 miles from me. Love all your ideas, thanks for the inspiration!

  57. Jessica says:

    Now this is my kind of craft…thanks for sharing.

    Your newest follower, Jessica @

  58. Great idea! Do you know if this no-sewing method will hold up to washing?

  59. I’m having so much fun with this fusible web fabric, and I saw it first on your blog. Thanks!

  60. Jo-Anna says:

    Such a great idea! I can never find pillows I like, but I love napkins!! Thanks for sharing!

  61. Brook says:

    I LOVE you! I can’t sew to save my life. This is awesome, just what I needed.

  62. Violet says:

    Oh my gosh! I can’t sew to save my life. I’m going out tomorrow to get napkins and to make pillow cases. I’m hoping to see that rug too. Our family room rug has also seen it’s share of messes including spaghetti (yuck!) and I’ve needed a rug in just that size and in just those colors for ever now! Thanks for the tips! Violet

  63. I’m in love with the rug. I just searched on WM’s website, but couldn’t find it : /

    Definitely heading to my local WM this weekend! Thanks for the ideas.

  64. Lila Ferraro says:

    i love the idea of using napkins for pillows, and no sewing is awesome! Great new rug! I love my patterned rug with the kids! Hides everything!
    Lila ferraro

  65. KarlaD says:

    I love using fabric tape since I don’t have a sewing machine. And when I saw your posting for pillows I was so psyched! I’ve always wanted to make my own pillows but again, no sewing machine.
    Sadly, I am having a hard time following your instructions.
    When folding 1/2 an inch on the napkin cut in half, am I essentially making kind of like a border and am I supposed to do it on all 4 sides?
    And what is the point of cutting it in half instead of just layering both napkins on top and sealing them?

    haha my questions probably sound dumb, but I am so confused.

  66. Heidi M says:

    Great tip for inexpensive pillow covers! I’m all over it. :)

  67. Melony says:

    KarlaD- I was having a hard time with that too, but I think she was making an opening in the back so you can add the pillow insert! Is that right?

  68. That’s amazing! I’ve just bought my first sewing machine, as soon as it arrives I’m going napkin hunting!

  69. Angie K says:

    Where in the world did you find such adorable napkins? I can never seem to find the great stores everybody shops at!

  70. this is genius! i have no talent with a sewing machine and i love the idea of using print napkins from none other than my fave home decor spot

  71. Simone says:

    Love the fabrics and the carpet. I just finished a bunch of pillows today! Cheers

  72. Jenna says:

    Hi Kate-
    Beautiful fabric, Great pillows. I’ve made pillows similar to this using the fusible tape. Question for you, after you fused the 4 sides together, did you leave a whole for the pillow insert? Then how did you fuse the seam closed? This is where I always end up having a difficult time….

    ~Jenna, SAS Interiors

  73. This is pure brilliance…and those napkins are just gorgeous! I admit I have used napkins to make pillows before but NO SEW? Pure brilliance. :)

  74. CandyLouWhoo says:

    All I can say is THANK YOU!

  75. Patricia says:

    I am so going to make some pillow covers! Thanks.

  76. sunny109 says:

    Love your pillows! Very clever!!

  77. Sanaa says:

    great idea. can you use fusing tape for fairly thick fabrics like a thick linen?

  78. Tracie says:

    so great! Going to use my coupon tomorrow!

  79. Leasa says:

    I love the rug!!! I need a new one too and in that same size. Too bad I don’t live near a World Market I love that store. Also thank you for the no sew tutorial on the pillowcases I do not sew and so this is great to know. Thanks again.

  80. Stephanie says:

    Love your rug! I went to my local World Market today but they didn’t have it. They said if I get the SKU # they can try to find it for me. Would you mind sharing it? Thanks :).

  81. VALENCIA says:

    I am going to try this! :)
    I should have went to World Market because I had a $5 off coupon!

  82. Rhonda says:

    I love what you have done with the napkins!! Thanks for sharing!
    I am your newest follower! I love your blog! I am a brand new blogger; therefore, I am just learning! I hope you will swing by sometime!
    Looking forward to getting to know you!

    ~~~rhonda~~~ xoxo

  83. Mary says:

    do you know or remember the name of the rug? it’s beautiful!

  84. Mary says:

    do you know or remember the name of the rug? it’s beautiful!

  85. Cassie {hi sugarplum!} says:

    Great tutorial! I just posted my No-Sew Pillows last week, but decided to add piping?!? Ack, not as simple and clean as your version! They look great on your couch!

  86. maribel says:

    i’m not following why you had excess fabric to cut. I don’t have a machine and would like to make accent pillows for my bed

  87. Cara says:

    I don’t know if you saw my maternity shirts sadly folded over my pillow inserts on the latest of ours… but, uh, I can use this post. Though I must admit, grabbing shirts out of the closet is a bit quicker than loading up a car of toddlers for Cost Plus. Love the rug, and the designs you show are tempting. Thanks C-gal

  88. Chelli says:

    Thank you! This is so fun. I can’t wait to try it out.

  89. Jacke B says:

    To Jenna: The back of the pillow has a slit in it or “pocket” to slide the pillow in like so many shams that you see today. To Kate: Great rug and pillows. I use the fusible web (I use Durabond, I think) for Girl Scout patches. I have RA and cannot hand sew those darn things on my daughter’s vest any more and sewing them on a machine just looks weird. Some of the patches are now iron on anyway, so this way they all look the same “ironed on.”

  90. Deb says:

    I’ve never commented, but I’ve been following you (and were friends on FB) for a long time. :) Love your work… you’ve inspired me to make changes in my own home.

    Thanks! :)

  91. Aimee says:

    I did something similar years ago using two fabric napkins. I sewed together three of the sides and attached two straps at the top, and presto! A cute reusable tote bag.

    Love those pillow covers! Cheap and stylish. What could be better? :)


  92. very clever! I love finding new ways to use things unexpectedly… & when they are inexpensive solutions – even better!

  93. Nayoung says:

    Thanks for sharing. Those patterns are fantastic!

  94. Val says:

    HAHA! Looks like we had the same post on the same day :). I finished PB inspired pillows made out of napkins over the weekend. I would love for you to check them out.

  95. Love the stichless way!!

  96. kelley says:

    thank you! you just changed my life!

  97. Lisa G says:

    Ack! I was at Pottery Barn today looking at some fantastic cloth napkins when I remembered your last tutorial! Back to my office I go to find the tut and you posted a no sew verison! I admit I’m pretty good with the fusible webbing and I’m so happy you posted this tutorial! I can’t wait to make my new pillows!

    Wondering if I can use them in a covered outdoor space…

  98. Maggie says:

    Love this idea! So cute.

  99. Jacke B says:

    You should enter your blog on the Circle of Moms 25 best design blogs. I was looking to vote for you, only to find that yours was not listed!!!

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