Reverse Appliqué Heart Pillow Tutorial

on February 7 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 134 Comments

Aunt Spicy joins us today to help you create a new heart pillow just in time for Valentine’s Day. (The same techniques can be used for a variety of shapes too!) Check out the Aunt Spicy blog and Aunt Spicy’s introduction, and enjoy her tutorial.

Hello, February.

Hello, rays-of-hope that spring is around the corner.

Hello, Sew,Mama,Sew! crafty-fun-brilliant-readers!

I have two favorite holidays, one of which is Valentine’s Day. Seeing as it is Pillow Month here at Sew,Mama,Sew!, I thought I would combine my love of Valentine’s Day and pillows, and whip up some lovelies to share with you. But if hearts are not your thing, don’t be deterred; the concepts can be applied to a whole range of styles and shapes!


  • white wool felt
  • basic white fabric or muslin (or what ever you have on hand)
  • stuffing
  • fabric scraps
  • embroidery thread and needle
  • scissors and/or Exacto knife

{one} Either freehand or using a template, cut out two identical hearts from the white wool felt. These can be as large or small as you would like. The hearts in these pictures are roughly 15 inches high and 15 inches wide at the widest/tallest points. Cut two of the same size hearts from the white fabric/muslim and set aside.

{two} Take one of the wool hearts and cut out a variety of circles in varying sizes on one of the hearts. I used a paper cutter to get an indentation of the circle and then went over it with an Exacto knife. You can also trace around cookie cutters, lids from bottles or templates.

{two +} Placement of the circles can vary, but you will want to leave enough space between each circle for the attaching the fabric.

{three} Once the circles are cut, figure out which fabrics you want for each circle. You can dig into your stash, or this is a great way to use up scraps.

{four} The fabric pieces need to be at least 1/2 inch larger than the open space– You can use the cut-outs from the wool as a guide.

{five} For the reverse appliqué, arrange the fabric, right side up, behind each opening. If needed, use pins to hold the fabric in place.

{six} Using your embroidery thread and needle, stitch around the cut-outs. I used a simple running stitch, but please don’t let that limit you. For these pillows I used three strands of embroidery thread. For instructions on embroidery stitches visit this Sew,Mama,Sew! page.

{seven} Once you have finished the reverse appliqué of the fabric to the wool, place it aside. Take the two hearts from white fabric/muslin. Place hearts right sides together and sew around the edge with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a four inch opening on one side. Turn the heart right-side out and fill with stuffing. You will not want to over-stuff the fabric heart as it needs to fit between the two wool hearts. Using a blind stitch or top stitch, close the four inch hole in the white fabric/muslim.

{eight} Now put the pillow form inside the two wool felt heart pieces and close using a blanket stitch. For instructions on embroidery stitches visit this Sew,Mama,Sew! page.

{nine} Enjoy… Or better yet, pass it on to someone you love!

Though I made the above with heart-shaped pillows, the concept can be applied to a wide variety of shapes. We can’t wait to see what you make!

Comment today for your chance to win one of these great prizes below, courtesy of Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

1 fat quarter pack of Betty Dear, 5 Kona Cotton color cards, 1 fat quarter pack of Night & Day in the Summer Colorstory, 10 sets of 5 Kona charm packs

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134 Responses to Reverse Appliqué Heart Pillow Tutorial

  1. my daughter will really like these pillows!

  2. Ginger says:

    I would SO love to win the fabrics. The pillows are lovely.

  3. Ginger says:

    I would SO love to win the Robert Kaufmann fabrics. I need some new inspiration.

  4. Betsy M says:

    Oh so cute!

  5. Sylvia says:

    I LOVE these heart pillows. The reverse applique circles are perfect, especially with the bliss fabrics.

  6. Sourkraut says:

    Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  7. Amy says:

    This is beautiful! I love all the bright colors peeking out behind that gorgeous white wool felt! Lovely.

  8. alisha says:

    I haven’t tried reverse-applique yet, but it looks like a fun technique. The hand-stitching detail on this pillow is beautiful.

  9. Monica says:

    So cute!!!

  10. WandaFish says:

    Very cute! What a lovely Valentine’s cushion.

  11. Marcia W. says:

    Aunt Spicy, thanks for the wonderful tuto as the circles are cute.

  12. My daughter loves the reverse applique projects. Thank you for the circle cutter tip.

  13. angela says:

    Love this technique! I have seen it before but it was not explained so clearly. Thanks! Maybe I can make one for the pillow contest ;)….

  14. Kelly P says:

    How lovely — maybe I’ll try this!

  15. Debbie says:

    Great pillow for Valentine’s decorating.

  16. dustbunni says:

    Ooh, what cute pillows! I think I might try my hand at making mini ones to hang as a mobile! Sweet swaying love. Thank you!

  17. amy smart says:

    You are the bomb, Aunt Spicy!! Soo cute. 🙂

  18. Tonya says:

    I love these! What a great way to use up fabric scraps.

  19. Valerie H says:

    Oo, I’m with everyone else, I love the reverse applique. Not a huge fan of the shape of the pillow, but that’s easy enough to change. You’ve sparked my creativity again, darn it.

  20. Tiffany says:

    Great idea!

  21. Jacqueline says:

    This would be great to do with kids.

  22. What a great project! I never would have thought of using felt for reverse applique.

  23. linda says:

    Thanks for the tutorial…I’m always learning from the blog!

  24. brenda says:

    This looks easy enough for me to give it a try. Thanks for the info.

  25. Jacque says:

    Wonderful pillows….makes me want to go and raid my stash and get started! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  26. I love to do applique of any kind. Reverse applique looks lovely. I must try this very soon.

  27. Nancy says:

    I have been practicing reverse applique lately. Its really simple and I love how it looks.

  28. Wendy D. P. says:

    These are so sweet!

  29. Tara says:

    Oh my, how badly I wish I were home sewing these pillows right now instead of being at work! I <3 these pillows!

  30. Becky T says:

    super cute

  31. Barbara says:

    Thanks for sharing this technique. The pillows look adorable.

  32. Karo says:

    must buy felt!

  33. Rosa in the Antipodes says:

    Thank you so much for the tips! I might give it a go this weekend! Great!

  34. Rebecca says:

    I love reverse applique

  35. Sarah says:

    So cute! Fantastic idea for a cushion!

  36. Melissa says:

    OH so cute — as is everything Aunt Spicy does. I’m going to have to give this a try!

  37. Paulina says:

    Very nice idea!

  38. stacey says:

    very sweet!

  39. Dawn S. says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of applique, but I’m loving the look of this reverse applique! What a great idea!

  40. Helena P says:

    oooh, I love everything about these pillows, have to make some for my valentines!!

  41. Joanne says:

    Very cute…would be great for a little girl’s room.

  42. Suzy says:

    Very cute idea!

  43. Susan says:


  44. randi says:

    i love this! great work aunt spicy!

  45. Kristin Orth says:

    These would be so cute in my daughter’s room!

  46. Morgan says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! So simple 🙂

  47. Maeve says:

    Such a sweet pillow design! Love those hearts!

  48. Joy says:

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  49. Jasmine says:

    Hee hee, makes me want to make a cheese pillow…

  50. Andrea M says:

    Really adorable-I think I may have to try this!

  51. Kate F. says:

    Love that the three small circles are all in the same fabric!

  52. Melissa says:

    These are wonderful!!!

  53. Cynthia I says:

    Very Sweet. I love the method.

  54. Sherry J. says:

    cute pillow! very nice with the reverse applique. thanks for the tute!

  55. Janet K says:

    Those pillows are adorable! thanks for the tutorial.

  56. Southern Gal says:

    That’s really adorable.

  57. Christine says:

    Cute pillows!

  58. Sara says:

    Super cute! I love reverse applique. Thanks for sharing!

  59. Trisha says:

    These pillows are so cute! I {Heart} Aunt Spicy, she’s the best!

  60. Jan says:

    Oh so pretty – and practical too – an ideal way to give a LOVEly lift to your decor all year round. Thanks for sharing this project!

  61. karenkay says:

    very cute…

  62. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! Great technique.

  63. Lisa uotinen says:

    How nice!!! And I have all the supplies ready at hand. love it

  64. Megan says:

    Very cute. The felt makes it so much easier than with fabric – great tip!

  65. Great tutorial! Glad to see Aunt Spicy over here, I love her work. 🙂

  66. Tina says:

    very clever 🙂 thank you!

  67. Janneke M says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I didn’t even think about reverse applique – this has so many uses!

  68. Natasha says:

    Love this tutorial! So sweet.

  69. kathyh says:

    Perfect timing for Valentine’s Day.

  70. kati says:

    LOVE this tutorial…perfect for a v-day gift for my daughter. Thanks!

  71. Jill B says:

    so cute! i love the applique

  72. Meg says:

    Cute! Perfect for a group of teen crafters!

  73. Nikki says:

    Great idea, I have some felt lurking in my stash so might just give this a go myself 🙂

  74. Robyn says:

    my daughters would love this!

  75. Those fabrics make me happy!

  76. Love these. Great tutorial too. Might try this soon (although will have to perfect my circle cutting technique as currently terrible at it!) x

  77. Andi says:

    I’ve always wanted to try reverse applique and this would be a nice project to start with. Thanks for the tutorial!

  78. Crystal says:

    I love how the handstitching compliments the circles and the hearts. Very pretty!

  79. Nicole says:

    Super cute! I think I’ll make one for my daughter.

  80. Kasey says:

    Those are so cute. I need more time in the day so I can make all the awesome projects I’ve seen just in the last week!

  81. Really cute! Love the reverse apliqué.

  82. Bethany says:

    These are soo cute! Looks like it might be a good project to do with kids too!

  83. Sharon T. says:

    Very cute!

  84. Cat says:

    i didn’t know this tool… where can you find it (after a search on internet, it seems I can’t find it anywhere) ?
    This is a very nice cushion cover…

  85. These are too cute!

  86. Sarah says:

    Those look sweet and easy! Thanks for the idea!

  87. Karen says:


  88. Linda says:

    Great tutorial! I love your fabrics and your handwork is just lovely. I’m going use your technique in a quilt I’m making for a grand-baby on the way. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  89. Laura says:

    great idea to use the paper cutter to get the shape first! Definitely plan on using that technique!

  90. LOVE these! what a fun way to use up scraps!! aunt spicy is so amazing!!

  91. Very pretty! I like the blanket stitching around the edge. 🙂

  92. Liz says:

    So cute and easy!

  93. Lynda says:

    These are great ideas, thank you!

  94. Christy Dixon says:

    Was looking at the Night and Day in the Summer and those would make awesome pillows for a sweet but wild little girl! Along with a dozen other projects for her I’ve been putting off!

  95. Christy Dixon says:

    These will be adorable all over my little granddaughter’s bed! Thanks!

  96. Desirée says:

    oh how sweet is this heart and thanks for the tutoral, mayby i am going to try it by myself!

  97. Krystina says:

    Right in time for Valentine’s day! Very cute. Thanks for posting!

  98. Laura Reich says:

    Oh, I love that. Super cute!

  99. MamaBee says:

    Very cute!

  100. Stephanie S says:

    Great Tutorial!

  101. Chrissy B says:

    What sweet pillows.

  102. Brenda says:

    Thanks for the instructions. Hope to use this someday.

  103. jm says:

    I’m quite interested in reverse applique! I really want to try this. Thanks so much.

  104. patricia says:

    Welcome Aunt Spicy. This looks like a super technique. Thanks for sharing.

  105. Vanessa says:

    How nice! perfect for a sweet Valentine’s present!

  106. Rebmara says:

    This looks great!

  107. Anna says:

    I love the idea of reverse applique! Very cute.

  108. So cute! I’ve never tried reverse applique. Thanks for the tutorial!

  109. Cat says:

    That is so neat. Gives it a totally different look.

  110. susan h says:

    lovely project – perfect for this weekend 🙂

  111. Debbie says:

    These are great little pillows and look very easy to make. Thanks for the instructions!

  112. Jennifer says:

    This is so cute! I love the reverse applique!

  113. Charlotte says:

    great idea love the use of scraps

  114. Jen says:

    LOVE that pillow! My daughter would, too!

  115. Missy says:

    Oh so very cute!

  116. Colleen says:

    Thanks for the lovely heart pillow tutorial!

  117. Relynn Dare says:

    This is so adorable! I’m going to have to add this to my ‘must make’ list.

  118. Erin d. says:

    Super cute!!!

  119. NancyJL says:

    So cute and just in time for Valentine’s day.

  120. Tong says:

    this is such a sweet pillow!!

  121. Tanya says:

    These are so sweet! I’d love to try one and think my daughter would love to help!

  122. Sonya M says:

    I’ve always wanted to do some reverse applique – it looks so simple! Thanks for the little nudge to do it!

  123. Kristin H says:

    I love the way this technique turns out!

  124. nikky says:

    I love heart pillows this is a great project to do with the girls thanks for the opportunity and great tutorial!!!

  125. Jessica says:

    That paper cutter is the best idea I’ve seen for making circles!

  126. Connie says:

    What sweet pillows! I’ve never used wool before but your pillows make me want to try this technique. Thanks for sharing.

  127. Marcia W. says:

    Cute pillow – must read again as would want to modify for all cotton fabrics

  128. Ms. Fine says:

    I never thought to do this with felt… no frayed edges–fabulous.

  129. janimal says:

    Cute tutorial. Fab giveaway. Fingers crossed!

  130. Cassandra says:

    Yay! I had just commented on how I needed to learn applique. This reverse applique is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  131. Anya says:

    Cute pillow! Thanks for the chance!

  132. Anita says:


  133. Rebecca says:

    Oh, I love the look of reverse applique! Those little circles are so sweet. Thanks for the instructions!

  134. Really sweet –

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