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.

Sweet Stitches for Valentine’s Day



I love Valentine’s Day!  Truly, I do.  When I was a girl, my mom made a big deal of Valentines with special treats, gifts, decorations and my grandmother’s sour cream cookies.  I never considered it a romantic holiday until I was much older and met my would-be spouse at a Valentine’s Day dance.  Lucky, lucky me!

So there’s a little backstory for you.

Especially here in the dreary Midwest, I find Valentine’s Day decorations the perfect remedy for the post-holiday, wintertime blahs.  You can’t go wrong with cheerful colors, candies and kind wishes for our friends!  For the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some Valentine’s day favorites and a few tutorials, too.  If you want to be sure you get every post, please subscribe (“Sew With Me”–to the right)!

Reverse-Appliqued Heart Pillow

Using one of my favorite applique techniques, I made this pillow last year.  Some of you may remember it from class.  Tutorial next week!


Valentine’s Day Appliques

I love making appliqued shirts for the me and my boys.  Of course, you can applique a simple heart, but it’s fun to make an applique that uses hearts to replace another object.  Here are the boys’ Valentine’s Day shirts from last year.  You’ll see I replaced the dump truck rubble and leaves with hearts.  This year we may do Pac Man, replacing the pellets/pac-dots with hearts or some sort of robot.


Tree of Love

In our foyer, we keep a little “tree” of twigs the boys have gathered on our adventures.  The addition of these hearts make a cheery greeting for all.  I saw something similar on Pinterest.  It was from a round-up and I couldn’t find the original source.  Perhaps it’s Martha? Regardless, I loved that i could do this project quickly and had all the supplies at hand.  (The original photo I pinned shows twine and a blanket stitch instead of the embroidery floss and whipstitch I used.  While I like the twine better, that would have required a trip to the store…and the blanket stitch would have taken a bit longer. Lazy me!)  Find the tutorial soon, although I doubt you need one!  These little hearts have a secret, though…


Valentine’s Day Mini Birdhouse Garland

Find the tutorial here at my other blog.  I love this garland so much, I believe it will stay up through spring.  Sure, there isn’t any sewing (unless you replace the roof with felt), but it was so sweet I wanted to share.


I’d love to hear from you and know what Valentine’s decorating plans you have for 2013!

Tooth Fairy Pillows

A recent rash of lost teeth prompted me to make my own tooth fairy pillows.  (I often sew them with my youngest students, but these are merely one pocket sewn to two squares.)  As I was sewing mine, I quickly realized how this project would be a great project for beginning sewers.

The front features the recipient’s initial and a little pocket for holding the tooth/money/gift.  There is a little tooth appliqued on the pocket.  The back has a little envelope–the perfect size for any tooth fairy correspondence.  When I give these pillows, I include a note from the tooth fairy.  The poem inside reads:

Dear [name],

In the pocket, place your tooth that fell out

And in the morning you will shout!

For I will visit and you will find

I’ve left a surprise for you behind!

And for the teeth that are not in a rush,

Don’t forget, you still need to brush!


The Tooth Fairy

Since these pillows are small, you can easily practice with remnants you already have.  While I am not going to give you a precise tutorial, I will let some photos do the talking.  The skills you will develop by sewing tooth fairy pillows are:

  • continuing to develop cutting and straight-line sewing skills
  • adding a pocket
  • applique
  • inserting a basic handle

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • 7″ x 7″ squares of fabric (one plain, one printed)
  • Heat n Bond (for applique)
  • 4″ x 6″ (wide x high) rectangle for pocket
  • 5″ x 3.5″ (wide x high) piece of white felt
  • another small fabric remnant (for initial) and white felt remnant (for tooth)
  • 8″ of ribbon

Ideas for future:

Add buttons, ribbons, ric rac, ruffles and more to add even more dimension.


(You can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Have fun experimenting–I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

A ribbon handle is perfect for looping over a bedpost or, more importantly, a door knob. It’s a nice touch for the tooth fairy who may not want to risk waking the child!

Close up of the front. A little pocket on the left is the perfect size for not only teeth, but also can hold money, lipgloss, a small toothpaste or toothbrush. An appliqued initial personalizes the pillow, but isn’t necessary.

Close up of another style–have fun with placement of extras like buttons and trim!

A close-up of the envelop on the back of the pillow. You stitch the “flap” on first–before you sew the pocket onto the pillow back. If you don’t it won’t be a pocket!

Adding a note from the tooth fairy is a nice touch!