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Fleur-de-lis Appliqué Pillow: Our French Pillow Trio

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This dramatic pillow with its bold fleur-de-lis design is what is traditionally called a "statement" pillow; it's the member of a pillow grouping with the strongest flair, the one that anchors the collection. Although instances of the fleur-de-lis floral emblem have been found as far back as the third millennium BC, it is most strongly connected to French royalty as of about the 12th century and is said to signify perfection, light, and life. We use it on our pillow as a grand appliqué in a warm charcoal and milk white color combination. 

Our appliqué design is offered as a four-page download, so it does require some assembly. It is also precisely sized for our 16" x 16" sample. 

We outline our appliquéing steps below, but if you are new to the process, we have a full How To Appliqué tutorial, which shows tools, options, and styles. There are a number of curves and points to the fleur-de-lis design, but by going slowly and carefully, you can maneuver the path for a beautiful finish. 

We originally created this as part of a trio of shabby chic pillows done in a French style. You may also like the whimsical word pillow with its fun accent poms. Use it to display your mood: "Oui" – "Yes! it's a great day." or "Non" – "No, perhaps you should sit this one out." Then, add the striking rectangular pillow that features a lovely pleated front embellished with thin belted accents and a sweet bow. 

Our statement pillow finishes at approximately 16" x 16" and is designed with a loose fit to allow a "karate-choppable" softness. A  pillow form in 100% down or a down/poly blend will help give the finished pillow the best soft slouch.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ¾ yard of 54"+ wide 7 oz canvas or similar for the pillow back panel and the appliqué; we used 54" 7 oz Duck Canvas in White by James Thompson
    NOTE: ½ yard is the minimum amount of fabric needed, but we recommend ¾ yard to give you a bit more to work with for your appliqué. As we always say, better a little more in case of mistakes than not enough. 
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide linen fabric or similar for the pillow front panel; we used 44" Essex Yard-Dyed Linen Blend in Graphite by Robert Kaufman
  • ONE 16" x 16" pillow form
  • ¾ yard of 20"+ wide paper-backed fusible web for the appliqué; we used Pellon Wonder Under
  • 1 yard of 20"+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used 20" Pellon ShirTailor
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the FOUR appliqué template pages, which have been bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier: Fleur-de-lis Template 1, Fleur-de-lis Template 2, Fleur-de-lis Template 3 and Fleur-de-lis Template 4.
    IMPORTANT: Each template is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
    NOTE: You'll notice the very bottom of the Fleur-de-lis image runs off the template. This is on-purpose. The template will be positioned so this part of the design is hidden in the seam. Sizing it as we did allowed us to create just four template pieces, each able to print on a standard 8½" x 11" sheet of paper.
  2. Cut out each template along the dotted line. Butt together the four pieces to form the full Fleru-de-lis. Do not overlap. Tape together. 
  3. Carefully cut out the final design. 
  4. From the back pillow and template fabric (white canvas in our sample), cut the following: 
    ONE 17" x 17" square
    ONE 18" x 18" square or slightly larger - you want a piece large enough to accommodate the full Fleur-de-lis template. Since we had enough fabric, we used a 20" x 20" piece.
  5. From the pillow front fabric (gray linen in our sample), cut ONE 17" x 17" square.
  6. From the interfacing, cut TWO 17" x 17" squares. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Appliqué

  1. If you are new to appliquéing, review our How To Appliqué tutorial prior to starting this section.
  2. Find the assembled appliqué template, fusible web, and appliqué fabric.
  3. Cut a piece of the fusible web large enough to completely cover the full Fleur-de-lis design. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the web to the wrong side of equally-sized square of the appliqué fabric.
  4. Pin the trimmed Fleur-de-lis template to the right side (the non fused side) of the appliqué fabric, making sure you are within the fusible web area.
  5. Carefully cut out the design.
  6. Peel away the paper backing from the fusible web to reveal the fusing material.
  7. Find the front panel. Position the Fleur-de-lis on the square at an angle as shown in the diagram below. Remember, it should run off the bottom edge as shown. 
  8. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the Fleur-de-lis in place on the right side of the front panel.
  9. Find the two squares of interfacing, following manufacturer's instructions, fuse an interfacing square to the wrong side of both the front and back panels. Set the back panel aside.
  10. Thread your machine with thread to match the appliqué fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  11. Select the stitch for your appliqué. We used a traditional tight zig zag/satin stitch for our design. The finished look is entirely up to you: use a loose or tight zig zag, a straight stitch, or even a decorative stitch. Whatever your choice, take the time to accurately set your stitch width and length, testing first on scraps. 
  12. Start your stitching on one of the straightest parts of the design.
  13. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to appliqué. We like the Janome Satin Stitch foot, which is see-through and has a handy red arrow you can use as a guide to insure your stitching stays even along the edge of the template. The Janome Open Toe Satin Stitch foot is another great option with a wide opening at the front of the foot so you can clearly watch your appliqué stitches forming. Don't be afraid to stop, with your needle in the down position, and adjust your fabric as you move around the curves.
  14. Hold on to the base fabric from both the front and back to keep it moving smoothly. Don't pull or force it through the needle, but be an active participant, guiding it at all times.
  15. Watch the edge of your appliqué as you turn, turn, turn. Pick a point on your presser foot (if you don't have an arrow like our Janome foot) so you can keep the appliqué's edge moving along the guide line at all times.

Stitch front to back

  1. Pin the pillow front and back right sides together, matching all raw edges. Leave an approximate 6" opening along the bottom edge for turning and inserting the pillow form.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the opening. 
  3. Trim all four corners at a diagonal. 
  4. Turn the cover right side out through the opening and press flat, turning in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  5. Insert the pillow form through the opening. Gently fluff it into each corner, working from the farthest side out toward the opening. 
  6. Pin the opening closed. 
  7. Thread a hand-sewing needle with thread to best match the pillow, and slip stitch the opening closed. Use small stitches to keep your work as unnoticeable as possible. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand

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Comments (2)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Shirley - Thanks! It such a great, dramatic look 

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