10 No-Sew Crafts That Are Easy, Quick, and Seamless
In arts and crafts, you may feel somewhat constricted by not owning a sewing machine. And while it's often still the fastest and most reliable method for many projects, there are still great alternatives. The three basic no-sew methods—fabric glue, fusible bonding tape, and iron-on appliqué—are all easy to tackle. In these projects, you'll be introduced to each technique, with some step-by-step photographs to illustrate them. Adhesives like Aleene's Permanent Fabric Glue ($3.69, michaels.com) and Dritz Liquid Stitch ($4.99, michaels.com) are fabric glues that also provide a permanent bond. These glues are non-toxic, clear upon drying, and machine washable as well as dryable; they're also best used in fabric work that involves smaller details. Fusible bonding tape is a two-sided bond that adheres two pieces of fabric together by melting when ironed to adhere fabric together. This is a simple way to create a permanent bond that isn't at all messy and doesn't require drying time. Made of adhesive backed with removable paper, fusible web is used to attach designs by the iron-on appliqué technique. This method is especially useful when working with templates that have multiple pieces. All of these methods are also used when you don't want sewn stitches to show, like on curtain hems. Practice any of them beforehand using patches of fabric, small amounts of yardage, or remnants.
You can use these techniques in all kinds of applications: clothing and accessories, home décor, gifts, and more. Try your hand at one of our fabric-based ideas that don't involve a stitch of sewing.
Add soles to warm wool socks to give you solid footing at home. To do this, trace both of your feet with a pencil onto cardboard. Then, use a sewing pencil to trace the templates on sueded fabric and fusible webbing, a material that bonds fabrics together.
Made with a quick tie and dab of fabric glue, headbands instantly elevate a daytime hairstyle with a pop of personality. The one shown here features a lightweight front knot design in supple fabrics like velvet and silk that are gentle on your hair.
Tea Towel Apron
When splatters, drips, and dustings threaten to stain your wardrobe in the kitchen, reach for this adjustable apron. To craft this one, grab a tea towel, a grommet kit, and two yards of twill tape.
Striped-Trim Appliqué Pants
To give your comfiest chinos a speedy refresh, apply contrasting trim à la track and tuxedo pants. All you need is a few strips of ribbon—velvet, preppy grosgrain, subtle metallic, or twill—and a way to adhere them with fabric glue or iron-on bonding.
Leather Phone Pouch with Strap
Keep this pouch within reach, and it lets you field calls and texts while running around. Carve out a template from leather that's customized to fit your phone—following our ultra-simple design—and fold it together with leather glue.
Leather Drawstring Bags
One of these drawstring bags is perfect for corralling loose on-the-go essentials: jewelry, trinkets, headphones, or lip balm. Simply trace out a round piece of lambskin leather with a circle cutter, and assemble with a screw punch and faux leather tape.
Trompe L'oeil Shirts
Dress up children's (or fun-loving adults') T-shirts with cat's-eye glasses, a charm necklace, or a Peter Pan collar and placket. If ironing onto a colored shirt, print the clip-art on heat-transfer paper specifically for dark fabrics.
Adorned with shimmering sequins, a basic sweater becomes special enough for a dinner party. Making the elbow patches—as well as the heart emblazoned mittens and statement necklace—requires little more than sequin strands, fabric backing, glue, and scissors.
Print our templates; trace onto iron-on patches and cut out. Using fabric glue, attach a 6-millimeter sequin strand around perimeter. Continue wrapping toward center, overlapping each row slightly. When you reach center, cut the strand. Let dry 30 minutes. Pin embellished patches where desired on your garment. Turn the sweater or mittens inside out, and iron over patches according to package directions. (Do not iron directly on sequins.) Or, if using a loose-knit sweater, stitch the patch on instead.
Blackout fabric has the distinctive quality of naturally blocking out the light from preventing a good night's sleep. Once you've purchased your fabric, it's simply a matter of cutting it down to size (first, measure for hanging a set of curtains), placing an iron-on adhesive strip, and bonding the backing with heat.
One of our go-to strategy for adding texture and color to bare walls employs wooden artist's panels, typically used to mount paintings. They can be quickly wrapped in fabric, including scraps from other projects, to create wall art. Measure a piece of fabric that's 2 inches wider and longer than your panel; cut out fabric. Spray the front of your board with a light coat of adhesive. Lay panel on the back of fabric, pull it taut, and fold in the edges, securing with staples every few inches. To maximize the impact, cluster multiple panels covered in complementary prints.