sewing: patchwork heart pillow tutorial

this pillow tutorial incorporates reverse applique and quilt-as-you-go techniques to make a perfect stitchy valentine.

patchwork heart pillow header

materials required:

  • 1/2 yard main pillow fabric
  • fabric scraps
  • 17″ square of fleece or batting
  • freezer paper
  • sewing machine and notions

front of pillow: main fabric

1. cut pillow fabric into three pieces: one 17″ square for the front, and two rectangles measuring 12×17″ (for an envelope-style back).

patchwork heart pillow 1

2. mark a 17″ square on piece of freezer paper. draw heart, making sure to stay within boundaries of seam allowances, and cut out.

patchwork heart pillow 2

3. place freezer paper shiny side down on wrong side of pillow front and iron. (the freezer paper will adhere to the fabric until you peel it off.)

4. cut out heart shape from pillow front, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance around cut-out in freezer paper. clip seam allowance.

patchwork heart pillow 3

5. fold back seam allowance along freezer paper cut line and press well to hold crease.

patchwork heart pillow 4

patchwork heart pillow 4b

6. peel off freezer paper and press again.

patchwork heart pillow 5

front of pillow: quilt-as-you-go patchwork

7. use freezer paper to trace heart shape on to piece of batting or fleece. (make sure to trace with shiny side up so that the image isn’t backwards.)

patchwork heart pillow 6

patchwork heart pillow 7

8. place first scrap right side up and quilt with straight lines.

patchwork heart pillow 8

9. place second scrap right side down, aligned with raw edge of scrap one. stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

patchwork heart pillow 9

10. press and quilt second scrap.

patchwork heart pillow 10

11. repeat with additional scraps until entire heart shape is covered.

patchwork heart pillow 11

patchwork heart pillow 12

pillow front: reverse applique

12. place the front main pillow fabric on top of patchwork and pin.

patchwork heart pillow 13

patchwork heart pillow 14

13. topstitch main pillow front close to the heart outline.

patchwork heart pillow 15

finish with an envelope back, and your pillow is complete!

patchwork heart pillow 16

patchwork heart pillow 17

fabrics used: Luxe in Bloom by Sarah Watson for Art Gallery Fabrics, Floressence by Art Gallery Fabrics, Oval Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics, Bloomsbury Gardens by Liberty Lifestyle, Out to Sea by Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller Fabrics.

*update* you can now find a Slovak version of this tutorial here from Zuzana.

happy stitching!
xo, rachael

Rachael Gander

I am a sewist, mom, wife, designer, blogger, and fabric enthusiast. I learned to sew alongside my mom, but lost interest in the craft until my early twenties, and I've spent the last fifteen years making up for lost time! I've experimented with modern quilting, accessories and garment sewing, hand-printed fabric, and textile design, I have found my love in pattern design, and sell my original sewing and embroidery patterns in the imagine gnats shop.

Latest posts by Rachael Gander (see all)

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37 Responses to sewing: patchwork heart pillow tutorial

  1. Sally January 27, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    This is really adorable! I am thinking I might have to make one or two of these. I’m not much for decorating, but I’ve been thinking that some holiday/seasonal pillows would be a quick and relatively easy way to add some cheer to the house :)

    • Rachael Gander January 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      agreed! though if you’re like me… you find them still on the couch in april ;)

  2. Debbie January 27, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    This is darling – and looks like a very usable tutorial – thanks!

  3. Anne January 27, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Awesome!! I’ve linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip:

  4. Terry January 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Super cute! And such nice instructions – thanks!

  5. Pam January 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Great tutorial!! Love the detailed pictures in your instructions. I can’t wait to get started.

  6. Cathy E January 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    This is really cute!! Definitely pinning this.

  7. Emily January 28, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    oh that is gorgeous!!!! Also… I’m loving the blog makeover… before Christmas you had made changes but were still on blogger… now I see you’ve switched over to wordpress ;o) Im moving in mid feb… I might be coming for help ;o) Looks great!!! Emily

    • Rachael Gander January 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

      i was! though it didn’t last long. obviously ;) i had some amazing help though. Sarah from Spunmonkey is totally super fabulous!

  8. Kellie January 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Oh my gosh, this is so cute!!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  9. Sherri | Thread Riding Hood January 30, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Thank you for this. It is very straightforward, but of course the best projects are simple and amazing looking. I’m pinning this one for when my machine is back from the shop!

  10. Vera February 14, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Thanks, for nice inspiration.

  11. Alison March 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    This is gorgeous, my thing is bag making but I can’t resist this, I’ve already ordered my freezer paper and can’t wait to get started. Thank you !

  12. Alison March 22, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    I am just about to make this pillow proper after a dummy run but I found it hard to make the outline of the heart neat, smooth without sharp edges. Do you have any tips for snipping the half inch seam allowance evenly on the inside of the heart so that the outline appears smooth and even on the right side ?

    Thank you !


    • Rachael Gander March 22, 2014 at 11:15 am #

      i definitely snip a lot more where the curve is sharper, and i think that pressing the edges back while the freezer paper is still in place helps. you could also cut the shape out of some stiffer paper and use that to help when pressing.

      • Alison March 22, 2014 at 11:21 am #

        Thank you very much for your help! Your tips are really useful

        Kind Regards


  13. farah January 25, 2015 at 4:29 am #

    Hi there do you have a template for the heart please

    • Alison Heath January 25, 2015 at 5:34 am #

      I drew my heart freehand, no template

      • Rachael Gander January 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

        I did my heart freehand as well. maybe do a google image search for heart shape?

  14. Jane January 31, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    How do I print it. I would love to try this.

  15. Zuzana February 1, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Hi Rachael! I love this pillow and your tutorial, and would like to make a Slovak version of it. I would use my own photos. But the idea is yours, so I would like to ask for your permission first. Thank you! Zuzana

  16. BARBARA February 19, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    I love peeking at then going back to slowly savour each of your talented designs. You go girl!

  17. Linda August 26, 2015 at 6:08 am #

    Thank you,thank you! Can’t wait to try this :)

  18. Eda Barros March 15, 2016 at 11:43 am #

    I loved his work


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