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How to Measure & Cut for a No-Sew Pillow

Learn how to make a no-sew pillow with designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast video, part 2 of a 5-part series.


So the first step is we need to cut our fabric down to the right size. So to do that, we need to do a little bit of math. We're working with a 20 inch by 20 inch pillow, and we want to leave some room for seam allowance on either side. So with your fabric, fold it in half, just like it comes off the bolt from the fabric store. You want to take a ruler and you want to measure 12 inches from the fold of your fabric. And you might wonder why 12 inches. Well, we want to keep two inches of seam allowance on either side of the pillow, and since our fabric is folded in half, once we open the fold we're going to be at 24 inches.

So you can take a water-soluble marker, these things are great. They can draw on fabric and they disappear with a little bit of water. And you want to take your ruler and just measure the 12 inches and make some lines to guide yourself. Always measure from the folded edge. You can fold your fabric up, move it down.

Okay. Now once you have your line marked, you're just going to go ahead and cut right down that line. It's helpful to not have your fabric hanging off the edge of the table because it'll weigh your fabric down and as you're cutting things might shift a little. So lay your fabric out nice and flat and then go ahead and start cutting on the line that you made.

As you go, you can just roll your pieces out if you're working on a smaller table.

Also important, as you're cutting, if you're cutting the way I am, with the fabric bunched up on one end as you move it, be very careful that you're not accidentally cutting the bottom layer here as you're going, or you'll ruin your project. Perfect.

So you take your excess fabric and set it aside for another fun project later. We're going to simply take our fabric and open it up, and lay our pillow on top. And here you can see where we have a little extra on either side for our seam allowance.

Now what you want to do is take the fabric and fold it over the top of your pillow so that it hits about two-thirds to three-quarters the way from one side of the pillow. You're going to take your other side and wrap it going the other way to cover the entire pillow. Now we want this raw edge to be about the same spot, about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way past the opposite side of the pillow. But, because these edges are raw, we want to finish them so our pillow looks very professional. So we want to give an extra two inches, about, on either side, which would be four inches total for turning under our raw edges. So we'll just estimate about four edges, and as you can see with our yard and a half of fabric, we really don't have that much extra left. So if you want you can cut this off, or it's really not that big of a deal. You could leave it if you don't want to cut it.

So that's it. We've measured and cut our fabric, and now it's time to finish off our raw edges.

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