No Sew Cloth Napkin Pillow Covers

By Kate Riley 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.





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

  2. 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. 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. 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. 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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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….

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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!


  19. 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!!!

  20. 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?

  21. 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!

  22. 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?

  23. 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!

  24. 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! :)

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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….

  28. 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….

  29. 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!

  30. 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 ?

  31. 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!!

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

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

    Your newest follower, Jessica @

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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?

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

  42. 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

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

  44. 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.

  45. 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 :).

  46. 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

  47. 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!

  48. 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

  49. 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

  50. 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.”

  51. 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! :)

  52. 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? :)


  53. 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…

  54. Kate,
    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!!!

  55. Well I sew but why on earth would I WANT to when you did such a great job without sewing!!?? I was JUST looking at the pillows on MY couch and thinking — should I buy some that will say “spring” instead of “winter”? Thanks for the great tutorial!

  56. Made 2 pillow covers out of the cloth napkin.Thank you for the great tutorial.

  57. I’m such a copycat! I made two pillow covers for my front porch rockers out of the napkins and bought a 6 x 9 rug for my basement family room today with a 25% coupon off of the already marked down price. Score!!

  58. Oh. my. goodness. I LOVE those napkins turned throw pillows! They would look so amazing in my living room. I want them. Like, badly. Really badly. :)

  59. It’s a great idea, but it doesn’t tell what size pillow form to use! Just wondering, because I would love to try this too!

  60. This is TOO FUNNY! I haven’t been on your blog in a while, but I just happened to stop by today and guess what? I just sewed pillows out of those same exact napkins THIS MORNING! Great minds think alike I guess. ;)

  61. OMG! I love, love, love that rug! I just checked the World Market website and couldn’t find it. I want to cry! Does the rug have a name so that I can try and track it down? Thanks!!!

  62. This is an good nfor no sewers and I can teach my nieces and sisters. I sew and prefer to use my sewing machine to make pillows.

  63. I just made my first one and it looks really nice. I used an 18×18 pillow insert and it fits perfectly. Great idea for new pillows.

  64. I did the sew version of these and they turned out great. I was nervous about splitting the back and they did need velro to hold them together but they look great!

  65. Love this idea! I have heard of it before, but never seen pictures! I love world market, it’s probably my favorite home store. I am def trying this! Question though, where is the vase from on the coffee table? i LOVE LOVE it!

  66. That “window” mirror on the wall… where did you get that? Or how did you make it, which I’m sure you probably did. ;) Thanks!

  67. This did not work well for me,not sure why! The two napkins I bought from cost plus just wouldn’t stay stuck together. Any suggestions? I followed the tutorial and was really excited to redo my pillows!

  68. I was wondering if you made your slipcovers on your couch or if you purchased them, or did you buy your couch that way? I have a green microfiber couch that lneeds lightening up. I also love your pillows…..going to world market this weekend. Thanks for the great tips.

    • Hi Jill, those couches are the PB Basic from Pottery Barn and they came with the slate blue slipcovers!

  69. Hi there … I love the pillows … I was just wondering though, do you think you could use the webbing tape to install a zipper on one edge instead of having an envelope opening? I wonder if the tape would be strong enough and washable too? Just curious if you have ever tried it:)

    • Hi Michelle, I don’t think fusible web will be strong enough for securing a zipper, but you could try!

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