{Eco-Tutorial} From Picnic to Pillowcase: Napkins Reinvented

Does Spring give you that itch for change? Are you aching to give your pad a face-lift? Do IKEA catalogs and the latest issue of Home & Garden fill you with decorator’s lust? Well toss aside those consumerist temptations and grab your nearest needle and thread to redecorate Ecoetsy style!

One of the simplest ways to change the look of a room is to reupholster surfaces – and there’s no easier way than sewing a cover for that tired pillow on your couch. If you’re anything like me each time you do a load of laundry you end up losing a fabric napkin from that set you bought for a picnic way back when. Well now – with five easy steps – you can give those orphaned table settings new life as eccentric and oh-so-soft pillow covers!

Supplies Needed: Pairs of Napkins, Throw Pillows, Needle, Thread, Scissors

Step 1) Gather a variety of single fabric napkins from your kitchen cupboard. Try to create a color or style theme so that your finished look is unified. You’ll need at least two equally sized napkins per pillow.








Step 2) Give your napkins a quick press or steam. Once they’re sewed on it will be impossible to get out the wrinkles!

Step 3) Arrange each pair of napkins around your existing pillow. If you need to, pin the napkins on to make sewing easier.

Step 4) With your machine threaded (or a needle if you’re working by hand) begin to sew around the edges of your pillow – leaving a lip of about 1/2 an inch.








Step 5) Once you get all the way around backstitch to secure the thread before cutting it off. If you’re sewing by hand be sure to tie a tight knot so that your stitches don’t come undone.

And there you have it! A quick, easy and eco-friendly way to freshen up the look of your living or bed room for the Spring. And if you don’t have fabric napkins available, try using a stained tablecloth, old duvet cover, or even that embarrassing pair of acid wash jeans you’ve been hiding from the eighties.

Do you have a suggestion on another way to reuse a fabric napkin? Have you made pillowcases from other household fabrics? Share your eco-friendly redecorating ideas in the comments below!


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  1. I love the designs on these napkins–mine are much plainer! I have reused napkins to make gift bags.

  2. These are adorable, what a clever way to extend the lifecycle of the napkin. So many options for colors & patterns too. I might even add velcro to one edge so they can be removed and washed.

  3. Thanks Karen!

  4. Love the idea of using napkins that are already cut in the size of the pillows. Cool idea. I sometimes use napkins to make utensil holders. But it would be pretty to embellish these pillows with vintage doilies or laces in corners or in the middle too.

    Congrats on your first post Lydia!

  5. Linda – neckties are a brilliant idea! I also love the sound of the wool…that would make such a cozy pillow fabric.

  6. These are so pretty! Awesome colors! I have made similar pillow covers with whatever scrap fabric I have on hand, including old jeans, plaid wool, curtains, etc. And of course neckties!