Cards are swell, but fabric is obviously my material of choice. And this Valentines Day I have very special plans that call for gifts that are a bit out of the ordinary. This isn’t the first time I’ve made heart-shaped potpourri pillows, but I went with a different aesthetic this time, simpler and hand-stitched.
Gather your materials and cut out fabric pieces.
- Colorful fabrics (I used leftover bits of Akonye Kena hand-dyed fabrics from Uganda )
- Heart-shaped template that’s about 5 1/2″ at it’s widest point (I printed mine on card stock)
- White fabric
- Scraps of batting
- Crushed walnut shells (available for cheap at pet supply stores)
- Lavender buds
- Sewing machine (or a hand-sewing needle and patience) and thread
- Pearl cotton thread in a variety of colors
Trace the heart template onto a piece of fabric and cut it out along the drawn line. Also cut out 6″ squares of white fabric for the pillow interiors, and 6″ colorful squares for the pillow backs. Cut out however many hearts and backings you need for the number of pillows you’re making.
Add the hand stitching. First, make a sandwich of the white fabric, an approximately 6″-piece of batting, and the colorful heart top. Pin the layers together. Pick out two shades of pearl cotton that contrast with the top fabric color. I picked two shades of the same color thread for each pillow. Stitch six lines in the upper left portion of the heart as shown. I just eye-balled it, starting the first line at the inverted point at the top of the heart, then stitching each of the next lines about 1/4″ inch apart.
Sew the pillow together. Cut away the excess batting and white fabric. Remove the pins from the little pillow top, place it right-side down so it is facing the backing color of your choice (right sides facing). Pin through all layers, then stitch all the way around the perimeter using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving about 2″ open for turning. Turn the pillow inside-out through the opening. (You may find it helpful to trim into the heart’s inverted point for a cleaner fold.)
Stuff the pillow. Mix crushed walnut shells and lavender buds, about a one to one ratio. I mixed mine in a glass measuring cup. You’ll need about 1 cup total of the mixture for each pillow, or a bit more. Roll a piece of sturdy paper to make a funnel, insert it into the pillow opening, and pour the walnut shells/lavender mixture into the pillow through the funnel. Keep going until the pillow is very full. Slip stitch the opening closed with thread that matches either the top or bottom fabric colors.
And voila! If you know the recipient of each pillow, you could also embroider initials or a short message to the back fabric before stitching the top and bottom together, but I wanted to let people pick their colors.