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How to sew letters onto a pillow

how to sew letters on to a pillowWith the seasons changing soon, it’s a perfect time to swap out your home decor! I’m excited to share a free ‘cozy’ applique file and tutorial for how to sew letters onto a pillow. Envelope backed pillows are my favorite because they’re so fast and easy. Use this same tutorial and brainstorm your own words to add something for every holiday and season!

This post was sponsored by JOANN, which means they supplied materials and compensated me for my time, but all opinions are my own.

If you’re new to applique, check out my post with tips for how to machine applique for beginners! I used super soft fabric begging to be snuggled with (corduroy & flannel!) but this tutorial would work well with any woven fabrics.

fall pillow sewing tutorial

If you like this tutorial of how to sew letters on to a pillow, you might also like these posts!

cozy applique pillow diy

I have to admit, this was my first time working with corduroy. It is so soft! This is my kind of fall; cozy textiles with pops of bright color. There’s nothing better than curling up under a soft blanket with a comfy pillow and reading a book.

Save this post for later by pinning it with this link or the collage image below!

how to sew a pom pom trim pillow

Ready to make your own?

Round fabric basket tutorial



Step 1: I cut my Heat N Bond so it would fit in the printer and printed my pattern! You can also print the pattern on to printer paper and trace it on to the Heat N Bond with a pen, if you’d prefer. If you’re using a product like this, you have to reverse any text or directional image for it to work properly. The free file also includes it the correct way, in case anyone is using it to freezer paper stencil instead. Cut roughly around the design and use the iron to adhere it to the WRONG side of the fabric, as directed on the packaging.


Step 2: Carefully cut around the letters and peel off the paper. There should be a shiny film still stuck on to the fabric.

Step 3: Use a ruler and rotary wheel to cut a 16″ square of corduroy (pay attention to which way the wales are going so you can match the back rectangles to go the same way), and then  use the ruler to lined up the letters evenly spaced and centered.

Step 4: You will use the iron again to press/adhere it into place. Corduroy can be misshapen by high heat, so I used a pressing cloth (just plain cotton in between the project and the iron).

Step 5: Once it’s cooled, stitch around the letters’ edges! I like a bit of fraying so I straight stitched but you can also satin stitch around the edges if you prefer a cleaner finish.


Step 6: Use a ruler and rotary wheel to cut two rectangles of corduroy, with the wales going the same direction as each other and as the front of the pillow. 1 measuring 16″ wide by 8.5″ tall and 1 measuring 16″ wide by 14.5″ tall. Then use the hot hemmer to fold a hem along the 16″ sides of each; 1/2″ folded up, pressed, and then another 1/2″ folded up again, and sewn along the edge. Repeat so both sides are hemmed along one long side.

Step 7: Clip the pom pom trim around the front of the pillow and sew with 1/4″ seam allowance to secure, all the way round. Trim any excess.

Step 8: Lay the pillow front right side up and then layer the plain rectangles right side down, with the bigger piece down first and the smaller on top, overlapping so they match up with the front. Stitch all the way around the 4 sides. Turn right side out, gently poke out the corners, and add a pillow insert, you’re done!

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Tuesday 20th of August 2019

Stephanie, you labelled this tute the Round Basket Fabric, oops, the Pom Pom Trim Pillow. I love the idea of raw edge of the letters and using whatever fabric appeals. Thanks for your many inspirations.. Now can you grant me more hours in my day?🙃

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 21st of August 2019

I wish that I could give everyone that, myself included :) :)


Tuesday 20th of August 2019

LOVE this project.!!! Do you think this method and flannel would work on a t-shirt??

Regardless, thanks for the pretty inspiration! :)

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Tuesday 20th of August 2019

Hey Staci! Thanks for the kind words! This method would 100% work on a tshirt, you can see an example here: Flannel would work but I think the edges would really fray a lot if it was washed weekly - if your heart is set on using that as the applique I'd recommend washing on delicate & hang drying :)

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