Easy Custom Appliqued Pillows

Last week I ran across a store having a huge remodeling sale. I picked up a few solid red pillow covers I though would work well in the “man cave.” They are nothing fancy but they were a steal at 50% off. I added them into the room and they looked fine but I thought they needed a little perking up. So I decided to give them a quick applique update. The final result took less than an hour and cost me under $10.  Here’s how it works!

CustomPillows What you’ll need:
•Pillow cover
•Contrasting fabric (Twill works great, the tighter the weave the less it will fray)
•Heat N Bond (or similar Iron on adhesive)
•Exacto Knife(optional)
•Sewing Machine (optional)

1. Measure the existing pillow sham and cut out a square of fabric and heat and bond that are just slightly larger. Lay the iron-on adhesive, sticky side down and paper side up, on the back of your fabric. Press with iron following adhesive instructions as different products may vary.

2. Once this is done you can begin you design. Design option are endless and limited only by your imagination but the two I chose were a Greek key design and a Monogram. If you are doing only a design simply draw your design right onto the paper side of the Heat N Bond which is now attached to the fabric. (I will give you details on how to do the monogram a little later to be sure you don’t have a backwards letter.) Once I have drawn my design I like to shade the parts that will be cut out with a pencil so I can see what the result will look like.

3. Using scissors or an Exacto knife cut along the lines you have drawn out for your design. For straight lines the Exacto and ruler are definitely the best way to go but for curves like my monogram I just use scissors.

CustomPillows4.Once you’ve cut out your design, peel off the paper backing so the adhesive shows.

5.Place the design adhesive side down onto the pillow cover. Again, ironing on following adhesive instructions. Let the adhesive cool and then gently pull on the edge to make sure it is secure. If not, press a little more.


At this point your project is complete and you can insert your pillow form but if you have any sewing skills I like to take the process one step further.

6. Using my sewing machine and a tight zig zag stitch I stitch around all the edges as you would an applique.  I simply slide the pillow form onto the free arm of my sewing machine going through the zipper opening. This way if I ever need to wash the sham I have no worries about fraying edges or my design coming loose.

Now for my monogram secrets…

To create the letter use Microsoft Word (or similar program) to create the largest letter, any font you want upper or lowercase. If you set your margins to “0 ” and keep adjusting the font size you can go right up to the edge of the paper.  Then to save ink set the font setting to outline.screen Once you have your letter all set print it out and place your copy over the fabric side of your iron on. Pin together and cut along the line using a pair of scissors. For my “C” I used a lowercase bold “c” in Century Gothic at 725 pt.

Once you have you letter cut out you will follow the same 2.-6. just as you did before.

The end results very perky pillows!



  1. Maggie, I only recently discovered your blog and have spent this morning, with my cat, reading and reading. I’ve really enjoyed myself. I’m just about to try to do my first recovering of the seat and back cushions on my cane couch. I am a good sewer but have not tried this before; I’ve always relied on my trusty upholsterer. You say it’s relatively easy and that’s what I’ve told myself, so next week I hit the sewing room. Thanks for the inspiration. I like the style of decor you have in your house: relaxed and comfortable … my style.

    http://llibbyslifestyle. blogspot.com.au


  1. […] Custom Appliquéd Pillows by Maggie Overby Studios […]

%d bloggers like this: