I'm a big fan of any fabric craft that doesn't require sewing. A tack here and there is okay, just to hold things in place. Beyond that, I lose interest. When one does not own a sewing machine, it is easy to lose interest.
These pillows are strictly decorative. They are not meant to be used, just admired. If you want a functional pillow you can rest your head or tired feetsies on, stop reading. If you want something pretty and impractical, then keep going.
What you need: old throw pillows, fabric, SHARP scissors. Optional: needle and matching thread.
The pillows pictured above are destined for my daughter's bed. She's upgrading from a dorm room twin to a full-sized apartment bed. After spending more money than I really cared to on new bedding, I wanted to find a way to add punch and save pesos. I found a tutorial for no-sew pillow covers on Pinterest. It looked so easy, but as is often the case with the DIY projects on this site, there's an awful lot they don't tell you. In this instance, it would have been nice to know ahead of time that thin, flimsy fabric is the ideal for this kind of project. But I didn't know that (or was too stupid to read between the lines), and by the time I figured out this fact of life on my own, it was too late.
The pillow on the right (above) was recovered in a pink broadcloth. The other two pillows got a make-over in a purple felted fabric with sequins. Both of the fabrics were remnants. I spent a grand total of $17.13 (including tax) on fabric and got three brand new pillows. Not a bad deal!
Now for MY tutorial. This is the pink broadcloth and it was completely no-sew:
This pillow was approximately 18" square. Typical fabric runs 45" wide on the bolt, and for a pillow this size, the bolt width was plenty. For the length, the Pinterest tutorial said it should be 3X the length of the pillow. That seemed awfully short to me, so I got 2 1/2 yards to compensate for any rookie mistakes. This turned out to be a good thing.
(L) The grey blob (it's actually a light green) is the old throw pillow peeping out of its pink bed.
(R) The trick here is to position the pillow on the fabric in such a way that the outside flap (in this case, coming DOWN over the pillow) is sitting square in the middle. If the flap is positioned too high or too low, your decorative square knot won't hide it.
The first time I tried to recover this pillow using the Pinterest tutorial, I discovered the broadcloth, when the side "wings" were all gathered up to tie, was too thick to allow a proper square knot. This is why thin, flimsy materials work best.
(L) If your fabric is on the thick side, you will need to thin the herd. Using very sharp scissors (mine was like a butter knife, another lesson learned), cut away the top layer of the "wings" starting about 2" away from the pillow and cutting all the way to the ends.
(R) Here's what your recovering job should look like at this point, with the side wings thinned out. Honestly, it appears like I'm working on two different pillows: a pink one and a lavender one. Stupid camera.
(L) Fold the top and bottom of one of the side wings toward the middle, kind of like folding paper airplane wings. It's not going to be perfect, and that's okay.
(R) Bring the wing up and over the pillow. Folds and creases are normal and make the pillow prettier. Repeat these two steps for the other side.
(L and M) Tie the wings together, aiming for a square knot. This is where the extra length comes in handy. If your wings are too short, you won't be able to tie a square knot.
(R) If you have fabric that doesn't fray, you can trim and fluff out the ends for a pretty bow on your pillow. I liked this effect, but broadcloth will fray; so I tucked the ends under the flaps, leaving my finished pillow with a plain square knot, as shown below left.
(ML) For reasons I can't remember, but they must have made sense at the time, I whacked off too much fabric when making this pillow. The ends ("wings") were too short, and it was impossible to tie a decent square knot. I tacked the middle down with several stitches to hold things in place, and left it with an unfinished knot.
(MR) I had enough of the purple fabric left over to re-cover a small throw pillow. Here, I actually tacked the fabric to the pillow with a bunch of running stitches, stitching the flap closed.
(R) The left side wing was brought up and over and tucked in. The right side wing was brought up and over, the end folded under and then tacked to the underlying fabric with hidden stitches. Even with the stitching job, this pillow took only about 30 minutes to make. It is more functional than the other two; the tacking will keep the fabric from shifting and coming undone, so it can stand a bit more abuse than the other two. Still, it's purely decorative.
Always wingin' it,
grew a beard after our kids left the house. He decided a mid-life hirsute pursuit was cheaper than a new car, and certainly less hazardous to his health than an affair. If he can have a mid-life crisis, then so can I.