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Proudly display your passion with our set of clever appliquéd pillows. They break down the craft into three easy steps: Pin, Cut, Sew! Gee… maybe our instructions are way too detailed! 

We chose a soft faux suede for the main fabric; it’s a great surface for appliqué. We recommend using the same fabric for all three pillows so the attention is drawn to the appliquéd words.

The Pin, Cut, and Sew appliqués are a standard quilting cotton in a small print. We used the bright primary colors of Pezzy Beans by American Jane for Moda Fabrics. This is an older collection we had in our stash, and is no longer readily available in-store or online. However, any small, repetitive motif would work well. You want something that will show up well within the letter shapes. You could even look for a fabric with a small sewing motif.

Using the same print in three colorways gives our pillow trio great continuity, but you could also mix and match motifs from different collections. Just be aware you don’t want to get too busy with pattern and/or colors or the words won’t be as instantly recognizable.

Change out the appliqué thread to match each print, as we did, or pick a single color that coordinates with all three.

We offer a PDF download below for each word, but of course, you could create your own templates in the font of your choice. There are lots of free font options online. You could even change the words.

We provide a nice step-by-step appliqué summary below, but if you’re brand new to this technique, you may want to check out our full tutorial on How to Appliqué like a Pro.

Make this set for yourself, and one for your favorite sewing pal. They help remind us all to keep things simple. After all… it’s just: Pin, Cut, and Sew!

Our pillows finish at (and our templates are sized for) 16″ x 16″.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies shown are for THREE pillows

  • 1½ yards of 54″+ wide faux suede or similar smooth mid-weight substrate in a solid color for the pillow fronts and backs
  • ¼ yard EACH of THREE coordinating 44″+ wide quilting weight fabrics for the appliqué; we dove into our stash for three cuts of Pezzy Beans by American Jane for Moda Fabrics, this is an older collection that isn’t readily available, but as mentioned above, any small, random print could work well.
  • 3½ yards of 20″+ lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon ShirTailor
  • THREE 16″ x 16″ pillow forms
  • ¼ yard of fusible web for appliqué; we used Pellon Wonder Under
  • All purpose thread to match main fabric, and to highlight the three appliqué fabrics; we used cream for the pillow constructions plus green, black, and red for the appliqué
  • Bobbin thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started and Template Download

  1. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: Pin, Cut, and Sew appliqué templates.
    IMPORTANT: Each word is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. These three sheets have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. From the main fabric for the pillow fronts and backs, cut the following:
    THREE 17″ x 17″ squares for the pillow fronts
    THREE 17″ x 12″ rectangles for the pillow back overlaps
    THREE 17″ x 11″ rectangles for the pillow back underlaps
  3. From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
    THREE 17″ x 17″ squares for the pillow fronts
    THREE 17″ x 12″ rectangles for the pillow back overlaps
    THREE 17″ x 11″ rectangles for the pillow back underlaps
  4. The fusible web will be cut to fit within the construction steps below.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

NOTE: Our instructions show construction of the “Pin” pillow; the steps would be exactly the same for the other two pillows with just the changes in the appliqué template and thread color.


  1. Place the appropriately sized interfacing panel on the wrong side of each exterior fabric panel. All edges of both layers should be flush. Following manufacturer’s instructions, and using a pressing cloth to protect the faux suede, fuse the interfacing in place.


NOTE: If you are brand new to appliqué, check out our full tutorial: How to Appliqué Like a Pro.

  1. Place the appliqué design template right side up on your work surface.
  2. Cut a piece of fusible web a bit larger all around than the word. Place the fusible web over the design template, fusible side up.
  3. Trace the word onto the the fusible web.
  4. Trim around the word so it’s a manageable size.
  5. Following manufacturer’s instructions, adhere the fusible web to the wrong side of the appropriate accent fabric.
  6. When you place the word fusible side down on the wrong side of the fabric, it will read backwards. This is just what you want in order for the word to read correctly from the right side of the fabric.
  7. Carefully cut out the design. There are a lot of twists and turns when you are working with letters. Go slowly. With our template, the first letter is separate, as is the “dot” of the i, then the body of the i and the n are one unit. Cut and separate your elements.
  8. Carefully peel away the paper backing from all the letters.
  9. Use your cutting mat grid and/or the original printed template to confirm the placement and spacing of the letters.
  10. Find one of the pillow front squares. Place it right side up on your work surface. Place the word at the pillow’s center. We used our see-through ruler in combination with a tape measure to double check our center points. The center, top to bottom, of each word should be determined using that word’s tallest letter. The bottom line of of the letters should be about 6¼” up from bottom raw edge of the fabric square.
  11. Don’t forget to check side to side as well. These letters should be about 4½” in from each raw side edge. We say “about” because each word will be slightly different based on its letters, but all three should be centered.

    NOTE: The tackiness of the fusible web should grip onto the suede without slipping, but to be extra sure, you can lightly pin the letters in place as you confirm their position; just make sure to remove the pins prior to pressing.
  12. Take the pillow front to the ironing board.
  13. Following manufacturer’s instructions, and using a pressing cloth or fabric scrap (what we did), fuse the appliqué to the pillow front.
  14. Thread the machine with the appropriate appliqué thread color in the top and bobbin thread in the bobbin.
  15. Select a zig zag stitch and adjust for a small stitch (we used 3.0 mm width, 0.9 mm length).
  16. Position the appliqué under the foot so the right swing of the needle is off the edge of the fabric and the left swing of the needle is into the appliqué.
  17. Stitch around the appliqué. This first round of stitching simply creates a smooth edge for the final stitches that follow. Letters have lots of twists and turns. Go slowly, pivoting as needed (with the needle down and the swing to the right – into the base fabric).
  18. Prepare to stitch all the way around again. This second round of zig zag stitching is the finishing satin stitch. Set the machine for a tighter stitch (we used 3.0 mm width, 0.35 mm length).
  19. We stitched the combined letters first, then the capital letter, and then the dot of the i letter.
  20. Repeat to appliqué the other two words in place on the remaining pillow fronts.

Create the pillow back panels

  1. Find the 17″ x 11″ panels for the pillow backs. On each, press in a ½” double fold hem along one long side of each panel. To do this, fold back one 17″ edge of each panel ½” and press. Then fold back an additional ½” and press again. Pin in place. Re-thread with thread to best match the main fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set for a straight stitch and slightly lengthen the stitch.
  2. Edgestitch the hem in place, staying close to the inner fold.
  3. Repeat with the 17″ x 12″ panels, but with a wider hem. Fold back one 17″ edge of each panel ½” and press. Then fold back an additional 2″ and press again. Pin in place. Edgestitch in place close to the inner fold.

Layer front to back to finish

  1. Place the appliquéd pillow front right side up on your work surface. Place the panel with the wider hem right side down on the pillow top, aligning the raw edges. Pin in place.
  2. Place the panel with the narrow hem right side down overlapping the first panel until you create a perfect fit to the 16″ x 16″ square. Pin in place.
  3. Stitch around the entire perimeter of the pillow cover through all the layers, using a ½” seam allowance.
  4. Trim the corners, and finger press the seam allowances open.
  5. Turn right side out.
  6. Insert your pillow form through the envelope opening and fluff it out into the corners.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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