Millionayres | 12 Days of Christmas DIY Giveaway Day 7: Reverse Applique “Joy” Pillow!

12 Days of Christmas DIY Giveaway Day 7: Reverse Applique “Joy” Pillow!


***UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Caimbrin! Thanks for entering everyone. Be sure you enter all the other giveaways that are live while you still can!

Did you love this pillow and are bummed you didn’t win? Well you can still get one by going to my etsy shop! Use coupon code JOYPILLOW and get it for 50% off. But hurry, there are only 4 available!***


Hey and welcome to day 7 of our 12 Days of Christmas DIY Giveaway! Today I wanted to change it up a bit and bring you a sewing project. Pillows are a great starter project for anyone who fears the sewing machine lurking in their bedroom closet in a long forgotten corner. Be bold! You CAN do this! I’ll go easy on you…AND if this kinda project just isn’t up your ally, enter to win it. I already did all the work for you!

 Step 1: Grab your supplies

Not pictured:

  • sewing machine
  • pins
  • thread
  • hand sewing needle
  • iron
To make it easy on you, I’ve created a PDF you can download (just click the link) to get your “Joy” word template.
Step 2: Cut out your pillow pieces. I made mine 15″ x 15″, you’ll need two.

Step 3: Find a spare scrap piece of fabric, mine was from a previous project, that is slightly larger than the area your “JOY” letters will occupy and pin it in place to the backside or “wrong” side of one of your fabric pieces.

Step 4: Cut out your letters and line them up so that the word is centered on the fabric panel that has your applique fabric pinned to it. The letters in the template are 4″ tall so I knew that on my 15″ panel, the bottom of the letters would need to be 5½” from the bottom.

Tip: Letters like “J” and “O” that are curved are actually slightly bigger than 4″. Your eye does not perceive the difference, but if you were to make them each individually 4″ tall the “Y” would appear larger. Now you know.

Step 5: Carefully pin the letters in place making sure that the fabric isn’t being shifted and skewed as much as possible.

Step 6: Begin sewing around your templates as close to the edge as possible. Make sure to back stitch (go forward, then backward a few stitch, then forward again) when you begin and finish so that the thread does not unravel but is locked in place. When you reach the “O”, begin first with the center area. This will help prevent to much shifting when you move on to the outside edges.

When all is done, it’ll look something like this.

And, here is the backside. Go ahead a trip away the excess fabric surrounding your letters.

Step 7: Using a straight pin, try to lift up the top layer of fabric and snip it with sharp fabric scissors. Begin cutting out the negative of your letters. For righty’s cut in a counter-clock-wise direction. This will allow you to get closer to the line of thread. The goal to shoot for is somewhere around 1/8″ all around. If you are left handed and you have left handed scissors, work around clockwise. The only difference is when cutting around the inner circle of the “O”; cut in the opposite direction as you did when cutting near the outside edge.

Now doesn’t that look joyful?

Step 8: With your newly appliqued pillow panel in hand, grab it and it’s mate. Line them up and pin them together, right sides together (pretty sides of the fabric should be touching).

Begin sewing all the way around leaving a ¼” edge until you reach the last edge. Leave a large gap. This is where you’ll turn your pillow inside out and later fill with fiber fill.

Step 9: Before turning your pillow inside out, clip the corners.

This will make it easier to define the corners when the pillow is turned out.

Grab that Iron and give your pillow a good pressing, especially on the edges that are not sewn shut.

I purposely left the open edges along the side of the fabric that contained the selvage. According to my good friend the internet and Wikipedia,

The selvage (US English) or selvedge (British English) is the term for the self-finished edges of fabric. The selvages keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying.

That’ll come in handy later.

Step 10: Now, get to stuffing. Make sure you get into those corners you so carefully crafted. When you think it’s done, give it a bit more. Fiber fill tends to settle, and no one likes a lumpy pillow.

Step 11: Now we’re going to sew the open area shut. You can cheat, pinch the edges together and run it through the sewing machine, or you can make it look more polished looking with the invisible stitch.

To achieve the invisible stitch, start with your needle and thread poking through the top flap of your opening so that the knot and tail of your thread are hidden inside. Pinch the opening shut and begin sewing. You’re going to make a small stitch from the top into the bottom, back out through the bottom and into the top, back out the top and into the bottom, etc etc etc, until your hole is completely closed. See pictures below for a demonstration.

When that is all sealed off, you’ll want to tie a double knot at the end. Grab a scant bit of fabric with your needle and thread the needle through the threads loop as it tightens in on itself. Repeat.

Step 12: Before you get too eager with those scissors. Thread your needle back down through the seam and out through the pillow a few inches. Pull tight and snip the thread there. Now the tail to your thread is not exposed but rather trapped inside the fiber in the pillow!

You did it! Now cosy up to the fire, if you have one and take a well deserved snooze on your pillow. Don’t forget to enter today’s giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




  • Caimbrin

    07.12.2012 at 09:38 Reply

    Such a cute pillow


    07.12.2012 at 10:22 Reply

    I love this project. I have some santa material I will try this with.


      07.12.2012 at 10:35 Reply

      Silent Night

  • Natalie

    07.12.2012 at 10:36 Reply

    Oops, total entry fail the first time. Sorry for the multiple entries. Anywho, super cute and over my non-domestic head.

  • Deanna

    07.12.2012 at 12:40 Reply

    Good job, Michelle! And my fav Christmas song is Frosty the Snowman. Less Than Jake version!

  • Ashley

    07.12.2012 at 22:48 Reply

    I love this! I totally want it for my living room!

  • Falon

    08.12.2012 at 00:12 Reply

    I don’t know that I have one.

  • Lena

    11.12.2012 at 19:21 Reply

    Love this

  • Katie mantor

    11.12.2012 at 19:30 Reply

    I love this!

Post a Comment