The complete guide to no-sew home decorating. Tips, tricks & techniques for the DIY decorator who wants to make affordable decor for their home without the need of a sewing machine or a big decorating budget.
Do you like to DIY decorate, but don’t own a sewing machine?
You are not alone – I have decorated my house with many no-sew decorating projects from curtains to placemats.
The No-Sew Home Decorating How-To Guide
This No-Sew Decorating Guide is the primer to the no-sew techniques you can use to decorate your home in style. Plus, the links to all the no-sew home decorating projects here on my blog, In My Own Style that may inspire you to begin making and decorating your home in the style you have been dreaming.
Many of us never learned how to sew, others simply do not own a sewing machine. Many of us are also not happy with the color, pattern or style choices of ready-made home decor items sold in decorating catalogs and stores or their price tags.
If any of the above sounds like you, then I have the answer.
I have been using these no-sew home decorating techniques and methods I have outlined here for over 30 years to make home decorating items like window treatments, linens, and accessories using the latest fabrics and so can you! I do own and know how to use a sewing machine, but find no-sew methods are just as good, faster and easier when making many home decorating items.
Learning a few simple no-sew techniques using fabric glues, fusible web, staples, grommets and more along with a few basic tools that you probably already have on hand.
Learning these tips and techniques will allow you to make real drapes, pillow covers, tablecloths and even slipcovers for your chairs without the need of a sewing machine that in many cases will last just as long as sewn projects.
Once you have created one decorative treatment for your home without the need for a sewing machine, you will come to realize just how easy and budget-friendly no sew decorating can be. Before you know it you will be making customized decorating projects for every part of your home.
Basic No-Sew Decorating Tools To Have On Hand
Iron – Pressing fabric is the key to avoiding the “home-made” look. In no-sew decorating, your iron not only makes your fabric crisp, but also fuses seams and secures trims. Some fusible tapes require steam, others a dry iron, so make sure your iron can do both. A “burst of steam” feature is great for creating firm folds and creases on the edge of your fabric.
- Use a scrap piece of muslin or cotton for a pressing cloth to protect the iron when working with fusibles and fabric glue. If the adhesive gets onto your iron, use an iron cleaning product to remove it.
Ironing Board – When fusing or gluing fabric, an ironing board will become your work table. For projects that are too large to manipulate on an ironing board, it’s simple to create a larger ironing surface. Arrange a large, thick, towel, blanket, or comforter on a large table or the floor to use and your ironing board work surface.
Scissors – A good pair of scissors that are 8”- 9” long are designed to cut through several layers of fabric at a time. Keep them sharp.
Staple Gun – A staple gun is needed for projects such as chair seats, ottomans and headboards. Stapling fabric allow to to pull it firmly and secure it to a wood surface.
Hot Glue Gun – A hot glue gun and glue sticks are used where fusible tapes are not right, such as applying buttons or cording.
Fusible Web – Fusible web tape is used for seaming, hemming and applying trims. It is sold by the roll in a variety of widths and strengths. The type backed with paper is the easiest to work with.
The product is placed in the fabric, fusible side down and ironed on the paper backing. The heat of the iron melts the fusible web and makes it stick to your fabric, but not the paper which is then easily peeled away. The exposed web is then fused to another fabric or trim.
To determine which product to use for your project, think about the product’s end use. If you are adding ribbon to the edge of drapes, use fusible web with the strongest bond. If you are hemming a sheer fabric, use a softer fusible that won’t leave a stiff edge.
- Directions for using fusible webs and tapes can vary by manufacturer, so be sure to follow the directions that come in the packaging.
Adhesive Tape – Adhesive tape is like fusible web and used for seaming, hemming and applying trim, but does not need to be pressed with an iron. I have found that when you do press it with an iron you get a stronger bond.
Fabric Glue – There are many on the market and all work well, but just make sure it says that the fabric can be washed. to create a stronger bond when using fabric glue, I always press with an iron just as you would when using fusible web tape.
Safety Pins – Safety pins come in very handy when making chair and bench cushions. Keep a supply of the 2”-3” long size. These work the best.
Liquid Fray Preventer – This colorless plastic liquid prevents fraying by stiffening the fabric slightly. You can also use Fabric Stiffener or watered-down white glue like Elmers. It may darken some colors, so test before using and apply carefully as you only need a little. It dries to a permanent finish that can be washed or dry cleaned.
The Basics: No-Sew Techniques
- Before starting any no-sew home decorating project: Practice using the glue or fuse on a piece of scrap fabric first to get the hang out of using the product and the technique.
- Read the product labels to see if you need to pre-wash fabrics before you begin.
How to Use Fusible Web Free Printable Instructions
Here are two free printable cheat sheets from my no longer in print book, Instant Decorating, that you can print and use as a reference when you first start creating no sew decor for your home.
Get the free printable no-sew technique sheets here:
Fusible web sheets are sold where fabric is sold. It is sold in packages as well as by the yard. You will need to use fusible web sheets when you want to line any of your fabric projects. Lining drapes, curtains and valances will make them look professionally made.
The yardage of fabric and fusible web sheets will be determined by the size of your project.
- iron and ironing board
- fusible web sheet
Prepare a work surface for fusing (ironing board) and gather all supplies before starting.
- Set your iron to the temperature for your your fabric and fusible web.
- Place adhesive side of the fusible web on the wrong side of face fabric to be fused. Press evenly over the entire piece for a strong bond, let cool. (photo 1)
- Remove paper backing.
- Position lining fabric web side down, on project.
- Press to fuse pieces together
How to Use Fusible Web Tape or Fabric Glue
When using fabric glue or a roll of fusible web tape, the steps are the same as when you use fusible web sheets, but use a roll of tape or glue instead.
- Iron and ironing board
- Fusible web tape of fabric glue
- Ribbon or trim
- Set your iron to the temperature for your fabric and fusible web.
- Place adhesive side of fusible web tape on wrong side of ribbon or trim to be fused. Press evenly over the entire piece for a strong bond, let cool.
- Remove paper backing.
- Position fusible item web side down on right side of your fabric project.
- Press to fuse the pieces together.
- TIP: When using fabric glue, I use a small paint brush to evenly apply the glue on the back of a ribbon or trim. Then I use a warm iron to press it to seal. Then let it cool.
How to Make a No-Sew Hem or Finished Edge With Fabric Glue
- Fusible web tape or fabric glue
- Iron and ironing board
- Fabric – yardage need will vary for your project
- If selvage edge of your fabric is puckered, clip the selvage at 2″ to 3″ intervals and press flat or trim off.
- Fold and press raw hem over at least 1/4″ -1/2″
Apply a line of fabric glue or place a strip of fusible web tape along folded line in fabric.
Press and fold fabric over to adhere.
How to Use Safety Pins
Safety pins can be used to gather fabric into pleated or folds on window treatments and also to make new fabric covers for any seat cushion in your home in 10 minutes.
See the window treatment and cushion cover posts listed later in this post for more on how to use them for no-sew decorating.
How to Make No-Sew Finished Edge Fabric Trim
If you would like to add trim using the same fabric as your project you can still do this the no-sew way. For instance, covering cording for a pillow.
I suggest you use a lightweight to medium weight fabrics for making fabric trim – cotton fabric works best. Cutting your fabric strip on the bias allows it to stretch and go around curves. If you have never done this, you can learn how here:
- fusible web tape
- Cut a strip from your fabric (width needed x length needed) – you can make these measurements any size you need for your project. You can also cut fabric on the bias to make your own bias trim tape.
- Fold the strip in thirds lengthwise so that the raw edges meet. This will be the back of the trim.
- With the raw edges meeting at back, press the fabric strip flat; unfold strip, then fuse web tape along each long edges on wrong side of fabric strip. Remove paper backing, refold strip and fuse in place.
- Fuse lengths of web tape along edges of wrong side of trim. Remove paper backing and fuse to project.
How to Attach Ribbon or No-Sew Fabric Trim to Your Project
If you made your trim or are using ready-made ribbon, you can then add fabric glue or fusing tape to the back and then use an iron to attach it to your project.
How to Attach Grommets to Fabric
You can use grommets to hang drapes and shower curtains and more.
- See this post where I show how to attach grommets to fabric.
No-Sew Decorating Projects By Category
Below you will find links to all the no-sew decorating projects here on my blog that will make it easy to find the step-by-step photo how-to tutorials by category.
Browsing through these posts you will learn quite a few of easy no-sew techniques.
CHAIR CUSHIONS AND SLIPCOVERS
How to Make No-Sew Chair Seat Cushions
- How to Make a Seat Cushion Without Sewing a Stitch
- How to Make a No Sew Seat Cushion Cover
- Cushion Covers Made From Drapes
How to Cover a Bench or Dining Room Chair Cushion Using a Staple Gun
How to Make No-Sew Dining Chair Slipcovers
How to Make No-Sew Area Rugs
TABLECLOTHS and TABLE RUNNERS
How to Make No-Sew Tablecloths
How to Make No-Sew Drapes & Window Treatments
- How to Add a Lining to a Fabric Window Treatment
- No Sew Gathered Window Valance
- No Sew Relaxed Roman Shades
- No Sew Drapes
Affordable and Easy No-Sew Window Valance Ideas
- Recycled Cardboard No Sew Window Valance
- Make a No Sew Window Valance Using Styrofoam
- No Sew Window Valance Made Using a Fitted Sheet
- Easy No Sew Valance in an Hour
- Quick & Easy No Sew Valance
- Tablecloth Valance
How to Attach Ribbon Ties to Hang Window Treatments
How to Attach Curtain Hooks to No Sew Drapes and Curtains
PILLOWS & PILLOW COVERS
How to Make No-Sew Pillow Covers
- No Sew Pillow Cover Tutorial
- No Sew Large Pillow
- Napkin Covered Pillows
- Dishtowel Pillow
- Outdoor Pillow
MORE No-Sew Home Decorating Projects
- No Sew Round Ottoman
- Padded Headboard
- How to Make a Covered Fabric Covered Paint Bucket Waste Can
- Colorful Folding Screen
- Fabric Wrapped Frame
If you would like to see all my no-sew decorating projects in chronological posting order, you will find them on my: No-Sew Home Decorating Projects Category Page