Simple Sew and No-Sew Pillows, Cushions and Toys

Find easy and unusual ideas for using fabric to add a little comfort and style to your decor.

©Kara Hill

©Joanne Palmisano

©Jess Abbott

©Joanne Palmisano

©Kara Hill

©Kathryn Johnson

©Janell Beals

Photo By: Picasa ©Becky Hutcherson

Photo By: unknown ©Denise DuBois

©Marian Parsons

No-Sew Whatsoever

Here is a quick, simple way to make pillows without having to learn to sew. These pretty cushions were put together using fabric glue and an iron. No one ever has to know that you didn’t spend hours at the sewing machine.

Cottage Style

Vintage quilt squares found at an antique fair are fastened onto coordinating fabric to make a set of charming window seat pillows.

Upcycle Old T-Shirts

Kids sometimes have trouble parting with favorite T-shirts after they outgrow them. Instead of getting rid of the old tees, upcycle them into decorative throw pillows for their bedroom or playroom.

Memory Foam

Turn your couch cushions into a photo album, use iron-on transfers to add family photos to throw pillows.

Stuffed Toy for Baby

If you are new to sewing, this is a great starter project. It requires only a basic straight stitch and you can use old scrap fabric or upcycled clothes.

Cute Monster

Kathryn Johnson offers a charming menagerie of plush monster characters at her Etsy shop, Dust in My Eye, all recycled from unloved sweaters. This fellow, called “Battyfly,” is crafted from an old wool sweater stuffed with fiberfill; his expressive face and diminutive wings are made from cotton fabric and buttons.

Easy Chair Cushions

Re-covering your dining chairs is probably the easiest and one of the most inexpensive ways to get a new look in your dining room or kitchen. Go for a durable fabric that can be wiped clean. Keep in mind that a random pattern is easier than stripes or chevrons because you don’t have to worry about the design lining up.

Stuffed Rattlesnake Toys

Beginners can handle this simple toy sewing project, says Becky Hutcherson, who sells her rattlesnakes on Etsy.com at The Boomin Granny. She stuffs a single tie with poly filler, glues or whipstitches the opening shut, and then adds button eyes, a ribbon tongue and a “rattler,” usually a plastic bottle filled with beans. If you’re making the toy for a child, she says, be sure to stitch on the accents securely rather than gluing.

Sweater Pillow

Etsy shop owner Denise DuBois (House on the Hill Quilts) loves making pillows from her old sweaters and her stash of fabric remnants and notions. “Cotton sweaters work the best for me,” she says. “They don’t stretch as much as polyester or wool and, best of all, they won’t pill!” Cable-knit sweaters in particular make smart-looking contemporary designs. Here, DuBois machine-quilted a panel cut from an old sweater to a piece of cotton batting and some fabric backing so that the pillow retains its shape.

Cylinder Cushion

Instead of covering your bed with a pile of throw pillows, try the simple, fuss-free look of a single bolster. They’re easy to make and provide comfy support when working in bed or just curling up with a good book.

Felt for Color and Personality

To add a memorable pop of color, felt a favorite old sweater or baby blanket, cut out an unusual shape and stitch it onto a plain pillow.