This is a fairly simple project that includes strip piecing (improv or planned) and fusible applique. Follow my steps to make yours look similar or change the fabrics, the layout or leaf size to make your pillow different and unique! Adding a button to the center would be cute. This would also make a pretty block for a quilt!
- Leaf Template (download below)
- 36 strips of fabric, 12” long and cut into 1-1/2” widths. I used 8 different fabrics and cut 4-5 strips of each one.
- Lightweight, double-sided fusible adhesive (has paper backing)
- Base fabric for pillow front – four squares, 9” x 9”
- Fabric for pillow back using your favorite method
- Thread, of course. :)
Seam allowances are 3/8", but 1/4" will work, too.
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Print leaf template onto 8-1/2” x 11” paper or cardstock (cardstock will work better).
*Botony Lesson: This is an ovate leaf, which is an egg-shaped leaf where the base is broader than the tip, and the tip tapers to the end.
Strip piece 1-1/2” fabrics in random arrangements to make panels, using 9 fabric strips per panel (sample above shows only 8). Make 4 strip-pieced panels like this.
Above: Cut 2 panels into 3” strips, at a 45-degree angle from top left to bottom right.
Below: Cut 2 panels into 3” strips, at a 45-degree angle from top right to bottom left.
- Rotate and pair strips so that the matched-up pair forms a straight seam running down the center, and the 45-degree angles of the pair form a “V”. Just like the veins on a leaf. Sew strips together at the center seam. Make 4 pairs – one for each leaf. (You will have extra, unmatched strips.) Double-check that your leaf template will fit each pair you put together BEFORE you sew the strips together. Also, try to avoid having 2 fabrics in the same print lining-up evenly on opposite sides of each pair. Adjust your strips up or down as needed or swap strips out with other pairs.
- Trace the leaf template onto each of the 4 pairs of strips. Before you cut, double check the directionality of each leaf. Are all the "veins" going the same direction on each leaf? If not, turn the template around and re-trace.
- Trace the leaf template onto double-sided fusible adhesive. Cut out 4 of these & iron fusible adhesive to the back of each fabric leaf. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Trim as needed.
Diagonally & accurately fold a fabric base square (for the front of the pillow), finger press. Lightly mark 1-1/2” from 1 corner, dot on the crease. This will be your inside corner.
Line-up the center seam of a leaf with the crease on the base fabric. The tapered edge of the leaf will be pointing toward the inside, with the tip of the leaf on the 1-1/2” mark you just made. Fuse into place.
Satin stitch (aka: zig-zag stitch) around the outside edge of your fused-leaf applique with a thread color that will work well with your fabrics. IMPORTANT: Test widths and lengths of your satin stitch on scrap fabrics first! I exaggerated the satin stitch in these images so you could see it; my stitches were much tighter than what is shown.
Repeat on the other 3 fabric squares.
Sew together the 2 top squares of fabric. Repeat with bottom squares. Then sew the top half to the bottom half to complete the quad front.
Keeping the center seams centered (say that 10 times fast), trim the edges of the pillow front down to 17” square.
The pillow front is complete! Complete your pillow using your favorite method. Maybe an envelope closure? Maybe a hidden zipper? Whatever you like!