Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Make an Applique Pillow

You are just gonna love this post.  I know I loved making this project.  You just gotta love an easy and cheap pillow project.  Hee hee hee.  I just love making myself giggle.  You are probably just thinking I am a big dork but that is okay.

If you have been following me on Pinterest you know I have a board dedicated to pillows.  For some reason I really like pillows.  I think it is because I know they are so easy to make that I have hopes that in between kid stuff, house projects, and life I will actually sit down and make some.  Well, this weekend I did.

I had never done an applique before and it was really easy and turned out so well I am going to share it with you.  Now this technique can be used on any piece of fabric that you want to decorate. Most often I have seen it done on pillows and clothing but you could use it to make wall art or to jazz up a plain backpack or whatever.  

How to Make an Applique Pillow

Step  One:  Cut out your pillow pieces.  To do this you need to decide on size of pillow.  I went on, looked at some of my faves, and just used one of their popular sizes - 16" x 26".  You also need to decide if you are making a pillow cover or a stuffed pillow with a closed side.  I decided to make a stuffed pillow so I only needed to cut 2 pieces of fabric in my desired size adding a 1/2" on each side for a seam allowance.  

I am not going to go into the nitty gritty of sewing together a pillow as there are numerous tutorials on the web but if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment.  

Step Two:  Choose a design for the front of your pillow.  This can be endless.  You could do a word or a shape or both.  Keep in mind if you (like me) don't have a fancy schmany Silhouette or Cricut machine that you will have to cut out your design by hand.  It may be difficult to get a nice sharp result if you pick a design with many intricate or tiny cuts.

Once you decide on your design you need to make a stencil or pattern.  For mine I just used Word and played around with different fonts and font sizes until I ended up with a look I liked.  I used a font called Penshurst at 600 for my letters.  If you are looking for some neat fonts check out Emily's blog.  She has collected some really great fonts together in one spot.

HINT:  If you use Word set it to print in just an outline form so that you don't waste a lot of printer ink.  

Step Three:  Cut out matching pieces of fabric and iron-on adhesive.  Using your stencil decide how much fabric you will need to apply the iron-on adhesive to.  I just eyeballed this part.  

Step Four:  Follow the package directions and adhere the iron-on adhesive to the wrong side or back side of your fabric.  I used Heat-n-Bond and there is a plastic-feeling side and a paper side.  You start by putting the plastic side down on the wrong side of the fabric.

You can see in the picture below that the paper side of the iron-on adhesive is up so the adhesive side can be adhered to the wrong side of the fabric.  I folded the fabric over so you see the right side versus the wrong side. 

Step Five:  Trace your stencil onto the iron-on paper backing.  Now remember the paper is on the wrong side of the fabric so you have to place your stencil so that when you cut out the fabric your design will read the right way.  So for my letters it meant I had to put the backwards.  So to be able to see the stencil I outlined it on the front of the printer paper with a thick black sharpie.  

Once I placed it on the fabric I traced it with a ball-point pen with firm pressure.  This gave me an outline on the iron-on paper to cut around.

Step Six:  Cut out your design and remove the paper backing from the fabric pieces.  The picture shows the paper backing on the left and the back of the letter on the right.

Step Seven:  Arrange your design on the front piece of your pillow fabric.  You may want to pin the design in place until right before you iron it.

Step Eight:  Iron-on your design following the package instructions.  The picture shows one of the letters right after if has been ironed on to the pillow front.

Step Nine:  If desired add any extra embellishments to the front of your pillow now.  I decided to outline my letters with a subtle top stitch using my sewing machine.  You could do a zig-zag stitch or hand-stitch around the letters.  The possibilities are endless.

Step Ten:  Complete your pillow.   Sew right sides together leaving a small opening for stuffing.  Turn pillow right side out, add stuffing, and then slip stitch close the opening.  

All done.  I will say that in the future I will probably not make a pillow this size.  It is really big although it will probably live on our bed so it won't seem as large against the bed pillows as against the couch pillows.

This cost not a penny because I already had everything on hand.  Gotta love that.  However, I did purchase these materials at one time so I will estimate the total cost at less than $10.  Way better than the $49 for some of the Pottery Barn versions. 

I used less than a yard of white linen-like cotton fabric for the pillow cover and probably about 1/4 yard each of a cotton print fabric and iron -on adhesive for the letters.  I did use a whole bag of polyfil to stuff the pillow.

I had been wanting to make something lovely for Valentines, and this pillow was perfect in that I can continue to use it all year round while paying homage to this sweet time of year.  What do you think?  Does anyone else have any good Valentines ideas?

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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  1. Great pillow and great tutorial! Pillows are on my list to make-your tutorial was very helpful!

  2. Hello Alissa.
    I am Brazilian, I do not speak your language. I use google translator.
    I loved her pillow, and I appreciate the tutorial. The letters are beautiful and I would like others to do the same font names. But I'm not.
    You could send the alphabet for me?
    I thank you.
    A hug.

  3. Oh .... I forgot to leave my email, if you can send me letters.
    Thank you.
    Mary (Maria)


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