A Valentine pillow will make its recipient feel especially loved. Fused, machine appliquéd heart flowers and embroidered letters embellish this token of affection.
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Designer: Elizabeth Scott


  • 1⁄2 yard of tan floral for appliqué foundation
  • Scraps of assorted red, pink, and green prints for heart and leaf appliqués
  • 1⁄2 yard of red floral for pillow back
  • 18×22" piece (fat quarter) of red check for binding
  • 1⁄2 yard of lightweight fusible web
  • Pigma pens: .01 fine-point, red and green
  • Embroidery floss: red and green
  • 18" square of quilt batting
  • 14"-square pillow form

Finished pillow: 14" square

Quantities specified for 44⁄45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics.

All measurements include a 1⁄4" seam allowance. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut the Fabrics

To make the best use of your fabrics, cut the pieces in the order that follows. Click on "Download this Project" above for embroidery pattern and pattern pieces. To use fusible web for appliquéing, as was done for this project, complete the following steps. Note: If you choose an alternate appliqué method, the patterns need to be reversed before you make templates.

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

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

From tan floral, cut:

  • 1--15" square for appliqué foundation

From assorted red and pink print scraps, cut:

  • 1 each of patterns A, B, C, E, F, and G
  • 2 of Pattern D
  • 3 of Pattern H

From assorted green print scraps, cut:

  • 2 each of patterns I, J, and K
  • 1 each of patterns L, M, and N

From red floral, cut:

  • 2--14-1⁄2×20" rectangles

From red check, cut:

  • Enough 2-1⁄4"-wide bias strips to total 60" in length for binding

Appliqué and Embroider the Pillow Top

1.     Fold the tan floral 15" square in half vertically and horizontally. Lightly finger- press each fold to create a foundation square with appliqué positioning guides; unfold.

2.     Referring to Diagram 1 and the Sweet Hearts Full-Size Placement Diagram for placement, position pieces A through N on the appliqué foundation; fuse in place. Machine-blanket-stitch around the shapes using matching thread. Note: Designer Elizabeth Scott used a thread color that matched the appliqué pieces to minimize contrast between the fabric and the thread. If you prefer more noticeable stitiching, use contrasting colors of thread for the machine blanket stitching. Or use perle cotton or embroidery floss to blanket-stitch around the shapes by hand. To blanket-stitch, pull your needle up at A (Blanket-Stitch Diagram), form a reverse L shape with the perle cotton, and hold the angle of the L shape in place with your thumb. Push your needle down at B and come up at C to secure the stitch. Continue in the same manner.


3.     Using a light table and a fine-point red Pigma pen, trace the Sweet Hearts Embroidery Pattern onto the tan floral 15" square appliqué foundation, referring to Diagram 1 and the Sweet Hearts Full-Size Placement Diagram for placement.

4.     With two strands of red embroidery floss, stem-stitch the letters. To stem-stitch, pull your needle up at A (Stem-Stitch Diagram). Insert your needle back into the fabric at B, about 3⁄8" away from A. Then, holding the floss out of the way, bring your needle back up at C and pull the floss through so it lies flat against the fabric. The distances between points A, B, and C should be equal. Pull with equal tautness after each stitch.


5.     Using a fine-point green Pigma pen, draw a stem line for each heart vine onto the appliqué foundation.

6. With two strands of green floss, stem- stitch on the pen lines to complete the pillow top.

Complete the Pillow

1.     Layer the pillow top and batting. Note: Designer Elizabeth Scott chose a needle-punched cotton batting that can be quilted without adding a fabric lining. If you use a different type of batting, cut an 18" square of muslin for pillow lining.

2.     Quilt as desired. Designer Elizabeth Scott machine-stitched around the appliqué shapes and embroidered stems, and quilted a 1-1⁄2" diagonal grid over the tan floral background.

3.     Trim the pillow top to a 14-1⁄2" square, including the seam allowances.

4.     With wrong sides together, fold the two red floral 14-1⁄2 ×20" rectangles in half to form two double-thick 10×14-1⁄2" pillow back pieces. Overlap the folded edges by about 5-1⁄2" (see Diagram 2) so the pillow back measures 14-1⁄2" square. Stitch a scant 1⁄4" around the entire piece to create a single pillow back. (The double thickness makes the pillow back more stable.)


5.     With wrong sides together, layer the pillow top and the pillow back; baste in place. Use the red check 2-1⁄4"-wide bias strips to bind the pillow cover. Insert the pillow form through the back opening.