Valentine’s Day Reverse Applique Pillow

Image This is a fairly simple pillow to make.  You can make it with a zipper (as I have) or sew a simple pillow. What you’ll need:

  • basic sewing supplies
  • pillow form (size of your choice)
  • two rectangles or squares cut 1″ larger than form (for example, if you have a 12″ square form, cut two 13″ squares; if you have a 16″ x 10″ rectangle, cut two 17″ x 13″ rectangles)
  • a paper heart cut to about 1/2″ larger than the size you want to show on your pillow
  • a scrap of fabric a little bigger than the paper heart you’ve cut

Steps 1 and 2: Trace and Place the Heart Using the paper heart you’ve cut, trace the heart onto the WRONG side (back side/unprinted side/side you don’t want to show) of the scrap of fabric. Then place the fabric RIGHT side down onto the WRONG side of your pillow fabric.  Place it where you want the heart to show.  Pin in place. Be sure your heart is at least two inches in from the sides and top to avoid it curving too much or being sewn into the seam allowance. You’ll see from the photo at the top, I placed mine at an angle off to the side. Step 3: Sew on Heart Sew heart onto pillow fabric.  Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.  Begin sewing a couple of inches above the “point” at the bottom of the heart.  If you start and end at the point, you risk missing a couple of stitches, thus creating a weak spot that will open over time. If you have an applique foot (clear, plastic presser foot), use this–it will help you see better as you curve around the heart. DSC_0032     Step 4:  Trim Excess from Front and Back Remove pins and cut away the excess fabric from the heart (in my case, the red fabric).  Then, turn over the fabric and carefully snip a hole in the center of the heart only going through the pillow fabric, not the fabric underneath.  Cutting away the pillow fabric will expose the reverse applique heart shape you see on the finished example above.  Do not cut against the stitching, but aim for about 1/4″ or more away.  For mine, I trimmed it with shears and then cut away the shape with pinking shears for an additional decorative effect. Now you have a plain back panel and a front panel with a reverse applique ready to turn into a pillow.


Trim away excess from the heart.  The stitches on the opposite side will help guide you to cut away the center of the heart an expose the fabric underneath.

Step 4: Turn Panels into a Pillow Now, using your favorite method, adding a zipper or not, turn these panels into a pillow.  I like to add a zipper and make all of my holiday pillowcases the same size because I have one pillow form I recover for each holiday instead of having loads of little pillows I can only use for a short time each year.


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