I'm not huge into lace and ruffles and frilly hearts, but I do love a good heart shape element (who doesn't?) and I really enjoy playing around with appliqués while watching TV with the husband or spending a quiet afternoon feeling creative.
But I don't think this heart pillow will be retired after this Valentine's Day! I think it works in the living room any time, don't you?
Follow along for the simple tutorial!
DIY Heart Appliqué Pillow Tutorial
You will need:
- Pillow form
- Main pillow cover fabric (two pieces the size of your pillow form)
- Zipper (I prefer invisible)
- Scrap fabric in one or more colors (this is a great scrap-buster project for those extra little pieces you have stored!)
- Iron-on adhesive like Heat N Bond Lite (Kollabora sent some to me for my book projects)
- Contrasting thread (optional)
- Basic sewing tools
1. Cut two pieces of main pillow cover fabric. Tip: professional-looking pillow covers fit very tightly to the pillow, so I normally cut them exactly the size of my pillow form (in this case 16"x20") and use 1/2" seam allowances. You can cut 1" larger in width and length to allow for a little more ease if you like, e.g. 17"x21", but much larger than that will look a little loose on the pillow.
2. Mark the centers of the pillow cover pieces (front and back sides) by folding it in half and clipping at an angle. I also marked the absolute center of the pillow with pins (you can use pins or a fabric marker) horizontally and vertically, with the intersection of the pins being the true center. You'll use this when you place your hearts in a symmetrical pattern, if you choose to do it that way (randomly placed hearts would also be cute!).
3. With paper scissors, cut out a heart shape from the iron on adhesive. Copy it as many times as you need for your heart pattern (I used 8 hearts).
4. Iron the paper hearts down onto your contrast fabric, sticky side down, and press them down carefully. (You can see I did this efficiently, fitting the hearts in close, although this is not necessary since you're using scraps!) With fabric scissors, cut out the hearts around the edges of the paper.
5. Now the fun part. Peel the backs of the fusible adhesive off the hearts and place them in a pattern you like on the front piece of the pillow cover. I did this by measuring along the grain of the fabric and placing my hearts equidistant from each other, splitting the distance between the center lines of the pillow cover. Do whatever pattern you want!
Iron the hearts down onto the pillow cover piece; they will adhere but can't take a lot of wear and tear, so be gentle.
6. At the machine, top stitch the contrasting hearts onto the front pillow cover piece. You can use a tight zigzag (like I did with only moderate patience in this appliqué project and with better effect but worse close-ups in this project), which perfectly hides all the raw edges but takes forever, so depending on how many hearts and how big (I had 8 tiny ones, so no way was I gonna cover all their edges with a short length zigzag!), you may want to do what I did and do a simple straight stitch. Tip: a shorter stitch looks neater and is a little easier to manipulate as you sew.
7. Assemble the pillow cover the same way you would any front and back of a pillow cover. (Insert zipper, match centers and sew front and back right sides together, clip corners.) (I detail this process in this tutorial and this tutorial if you want more detailed photos.)
8. (Optional) Depending on your fabric and how much you plan to open the pillow cover!, finish the inside edges with a serger, zigzag stitch, or pinking shears. My fabric was raveling a ton, plus I love the sound of cutting through crisp fabric with pinking shears. ;)
9. Press seams open and turn right side out. Put on pillow and admire!!
Ta-da! I said this would work for any time, not just Valentine's Day, and look--it goes so many places! I have a lot of grey and pink in my living room, so it works anywhere.
On my recovered Louis XV chair...
On the vintage slipper chairs with the white slipcovers I made (next to the pink curtains I made)...
On our grey sofa with the black/white pillows I made and the painting I did!
Hooray for appliqué scrap projects!