Use flannel scraps to create bird, nest, egg, and berry appliqué pieces. Fuse the pieces to a pieced pillowtop to make a handmade nature scene.
Fusible Applique Bird Pillow
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Inspired by Nesting Instinct from designer Lisa DeBee Schiller

Quilt tester: Laura Boehnke


  • 10" square green tweed (stem appliqué)
  • 1/3 yard cream print (appliqué foundation)
  • 4x8" rectangle dark purple print (bird appliqué)
  • 4x6" rectangle purple plaid (wing appliqué)
  • 5x12" rectangle green check (vine appliqué)
  • 4--5x7" rectangles assorted brown and gold prints (nest appliqués)
  • Scraps of tan check and purple check (egg appliqués)
  • Scrap of red print (berry appliqués)
  • 1/4 yard light purple herringbone (scallop appliqués)
  • 1-1/2 yards black floral (border, pillow back)
  • 5/8 yard muslin (lining)
  • 22x36" thin batting
  • 14x28" pillow form
  • Lightweight fusible web

Finished pillow: 28x14x1-1/2"

Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics.

Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" for patterns. To use fusible web for appliquéing, complete the following steps.

1. Lay fusible web, paper side up, over patterns. Use a pencil to trace each pattern the number of times indicated in cutting instructions, leaving 1/2" between tracings. Cut out each fusible-web shape roughly 1/4" outside traced lines.

2. Following the manufacturer's instructions, press each fusible-web shape onto wrong side of designated fabric; let cool. Cut out fabric shapes on drawn lines. Peel off paper backings.

From green tweed, cut:

  • 1--3/4x13" bias strip

From cream print, cut:

  • 1--10x24" rectangle

From dark purple print, cut:

  • 1 of Pattern A

From purple plaid, cut:

  • 1 each of patterns B and H

From green check, cut:

  • 1 of Pattern C

From assorted brown and gold prints, cut:

  • 1 each of patterns D, E, F, and G

From tan check, cut:

  • 1 of Pattern I

From purple check, cut:

  • 1 of Pattern J

From red print, cut:

  • 9 of Pattern K

From light purple herringbone, cut:

  • 2 each of patterns L and M

From black floral, cut:

  • 2--16x35" rectangles
  • 2--43/4x32" border strips
  • 2--43/4x18" border strips

From muslin, cut:

  • 1--22x36" rectangle

Appliqué Pillow Center

1. Fold under 1/4" along each long edge of green tweed 3/4x13" bias strip; press to make stem appliqué.

2. Baste or use a chalk marker to mark a 21x7" rectangle in center of cream print 24x10" appliqué foundation. Referring to Appliqué Placement Diagram, lay out stem appliqué and appliqué pieces A–K on appliqué foundation, keeping them within basted or drawn line.


3. Following the manufacturer's instructions, fuse all pieces in place. Using black thread, machine-blanket-stitch around each shape.

4. Trim appliqué foundation to 21-1/2x7-1/2" including seam allowances to make pillow center.

Appliqué and Add Border

1. Fold each light purple herringbone L and M scallop in half; lightly press fold to mark center, then unfold. Repeat to mark center of each black floral border strip.

2. Referring to Diagram 1, align long straight edges of a light purple herringbone M scallop and a black floral 4-3/4x18" border strip, matching center folds. Fuse in place. Using black thread, machine-blanket-stitch along curved edges only to make a short border strip. Repeat to make a second short border strip.


3. Using light purple herringbone L scallops and black floral 4-3/4x32" border strips, repeat Step 2 to make two long border strips.

4. Beginning and ending seams 1/4" from pillow center edges, sew short border strips to short edges of pillow center. Add long border strips to remaining edges, mitering corners, to complete pillow top. (For details, Click on "Download this Project" and see Miter Borders section.) The pillow top should be 16x30" including seam allowances.

Quilt Pillow Top and Finish Pillow

1. Layer pillow top, batting, and muslin 36x22" rectangle; baste. Quilt as desired.

2. Trim quilted pillow top to 30x16" including seam allowances.

3. With wrong side inside, fold each black floral 16x35" rectangle in half to make two 16x17-1/2" double-thick pillow back rectangles.

4. Overlap folded edges of pillow back rectangles about 5" to make a 30x16" pillow back (Diagram 2). Baste top and bottom along overlapped edges.


5. With right sides together, layer pillow top and pillow back; pin or baste edges. Sew together through all layers to make pillow cover.

6. To give the pillow cover flat corners, at each corner match side seam with adjacent seam, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 3). Measuring 3/4" from point of triangle, draw a 1-1/2"-long line across triangle. Sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric.


7. Turn pillow cover right side out through opening in pillow back. Insert 14x28" pillow form to complete pillow.