Monday, February 06, 2012

"Je t'aime" Pillow Tutorial

While unpacking my fabric into my sewing room, I was inspired to use up some bits of French General fabric I have. This little pillow was the result. Designing pillow covers to fit the season is one way to add a little (but not too much) seasonal decor. 

This sweet pillow sends a message of love on Valentine's Day or any day.  Here's what you need to make it:

Fabric for front and back: (I used an oatmeal linen)
 1 piece 12 1/2" x 10"
 2 pieces 10" x 10"
Fabric for contrast 1 and 2: (I used fabrics from French General's Maison de Garance)
 2 strips 10" x 2 1/2"
 2 strips 10" x 1"
Quilt batting (I used Warm and Natural)
 1 piece 17 x 10"
5 buttons
embroidery floss (I used DMC 815)
thread, needle, sewing machine, pins, measuring tape
pillow insert, 17 x 10 (approximately)

1.  Begin by transferring the design to what will be the front of your pillow. I wrote it freehand, lightly, in pencil, but have included a photo at the bottom that you can enlarge and transfer, if you like.

2.  Using a whipped chain stitch, embroider the letters. For the dots above the "j" and the "i" I did a free hand satin stitch. Here is a link to a tutorial for the whipped chain stitch. I used the same 2-strand floss to do both the chain stitching and the whipped stitch over it. I like the corded effect of this stitch.

3.  To the edges of the embroidered front, with wrong sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the 1" contrast strips to each 10 inch side. Press. Sew the 2 1/2 " contrast strips to the first strip, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press.

4. Layer the quilt batting against the back of the front. Here you can see the batting folded back to show the back of the embroidery. 

5. Stitch 5 buttons below the stitching, through the front linen and the quilt batting. Set aside while you complete the back of the pillow.

6.  Hem one 10" side of each back panel by turning under 1/4 inch, and pressing, then turning again. Stitch. Press. You will be creating an envelope style opening in which to insert the pillow form.

7.  Stitch the layers together. On the bottom is the quilt batting, then the front embroidered piece, one back piece and then the second back piece. The two back pieces will overlap. The hemmed sides are in the center of the pillow. The above photo shows the layers staggered. Make sure to align everything neatly, and pin the layers together before stitching a 1/2 inch seam, all the way around the pillow.

8.  Trim any jagged edges, cut the corners at an angle and zigzag around the edge to finish the seam. Turn pillow right side out through the opening left by the overlapping back sections. Press lightly. Insert a pillow form. 

Et voilĂ , enjoy your pillow! 

Here is the handwriting I used. Print this on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. Of course, you could write I love you in any language - or another sentiment.

There are more Valentine's Day-inspired tutorials over at Pink Chalk Fabrics.   


  1. This is so pretty, Lorrie! I am "pinning" it on Pinterest for the future when I hope to have some mre free time to do more crafts.

  2. i love this little pillow!!!

    thanks for dropping by.

    xo terri

  3. That is beautiful! I admire your creativity and ability to sew!

  4. That pillow is so sweet - perfect for next week!

  5. Your pillow is delightful but I had to smile.......use a whipped chain stitch, you said.
    What in the world is that, I said!
    I am embroidery challenged you see.
    I think I'll just admire yours from afar.

  6. So sweet, Lorrie! Your did a lovely job and your tutorial is perfect! Pretty pillow!

  7. Good Morning Lorrie!

    That pillow is really pretty. You do exquisite hand work!

    Hope you have a great productive week!

  8. J'aime your lovely pillow, Lorrie!

  9. So sweet! I love when you sew!!! I have packed away most of my fabric for my move.... but I will print this out and put it in my To Do stack!!! Thank you!

  10. A beautiful combination of linen, prints and handwork! I LOVE the hearts above the i's, just perfect.

  11. Ohhhh, how did I miss this? It's so darling. Love the sentiment in French, the design, everything.

  12. That is so attractive, Lorrie. I love the fabrics you have used on the borders.

  13. This is so pretty and such a lovely way to use your French fabric.

  14. A lovely cushion - the colours all work so well together!

    Pomona x

  15. How fun! I love the tutorial and the stiching is perfect! Thanks for the inspiration.


  16. so darling..Thank you for the tutorial....I made a couple of "wild" pillow covers the other but cute way to introduce a splash of colour....

  17. Thank you Lorrie for taking time to share this tutorial - it's such a delightful pillow andI love your choice of fabrics. I used to embroider so much and must start up again - I've missed it!

    BTW, joining you as a Follower today, I just can't miss all these great posts!

    Hugs, Mary

  18. This pillow is really really cute! You made me want to make it!
    Monica x

  19. Lovely pillow, I want to do this. Thanks for the tutorial. ~ Abby


Thank you for your comment. I read and value each one, cherishing the connections we can make although far apart. Usually, I visit your blog in return, although if you ask a question I try to contact you directly.

Days Not at Home

  Last Wednesday morning we boarded a plane for The Netherlands, landing midday on Thursday, Amsterdam time. After figuring out our e-sims a...