Super Comfy I LOVE U Pillow

January 30, 2020By Joanne BankoAmbassador, Home Decor, Sewing 2 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Finished pillow measures approximately 16” X 32” including ruffled edge.

What could be more fun than a bright and beautiful pillow with “textspeak,” otherwise known as the abbreviated form of I Love You spelled out in patchwork and appliqué? Your Brother sewing machine and serger are the perfect pair for putting together this pretty pillow. Use the serger to whip up a gathered ruffle and the sewing machine to sew all the pieces together. The sewing steps are easy to accomplish and you’re sure to enjoy the outcome. Are you ready? Let’s go sew!

Please read this important information before you begin: It takes just a few simple steps to put this pillow together. You’ll need to use a consistent ¼” seam allowance for sewing the pieces together. One method for sewing a ¼” seam is to select standard presser foot “J” and a straight stitch. Change the width setting to 5.5 and sew with the fabric right along the edge of the presser foot for a ¼” seam. For an alternative method, consider purchasing optional foot SA185, the ¼” piecing foot with guide. With this foot you select a center needle straight stitch and sew with the fabric against the guide for a ¼” seam.

Here are the basics for making the pillow:

  • Appliqué heart on center block of fabric C.
  • Create I block with three strips of fabric B and two strips of fabric C.
  • Create U block with three strips of fabric B and one strip of fabric C.
  • Sew the three above blocks together, adding strips of fabric A to make a pillow panel for the pillow front.
  • Create ruffle with rolled hem edge and gathered edge and machine baste to pillow front.
  • Prepare the back pieces to make an overlapping back piece.
  • Layer the back with the front, sew together, and stuff with finished pillow insert.

Materials and Supplies

Material for gathered ruffle in contrasting fabric:

  • 1/2 yard of lightweight batiste fabric cut into five strips measuring 3” W X 40” L, cutting across the cross grain of the fabric.

Materials for pillow insert:

  • Two pieces of muslin or similar fabric cut to measure 12½” W X 28½” L.
  • Fiberfill for stuffing pillow form. Note: I prefer fiberfill labeled 100% Cluster Fiber Fill. This is often sold in 16 oz. packages. You will need approximately one and a half 16 oz. packages to fill the pillow form.

Materials to create front pillow panel, pillow back, and ruffle:


Fabric A – (1/4 yard)

  • Two pieces 2½” W X 28½” L for Top and Bottom borders
  • Four pieces 2½” W X 8½” L for Side Borders and Center Sashing

Fabric B – (1 yard)

  • Two pieces 2½” W X 6½” L for Top and Bottom of Letter I
  • One piece 2½” W X 4½” L for Center of Letter I
  • Two pieces 2½” W X 6½” L for Sides of Letter U
  • One piece 2½” W X 6½” L for Bottom of Letter U
  • One piece 6” square for Heart Appliqué. Note: Add medium weight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of this piece.
  • Cut two pieces measuring 32” W X 12½” L for overlapping style pillow back.

Fabric C – (1/4 yard)

  • Two pieces 2½” W X 4½” L for Sides of Letter I
  • One piece 2½” W X 6½” L for Center of Letter U
  • One piece 8½” square for Center of Pillow Panel which is the base for the heart appliqué.
Note: In this example Fabric A is the flower print, Fabric B is the dotted print, and Fabric C is the checked print. Label all your pieces and stack them together to avoid any mix ups while making the pillow. See labeled pieces for fabric A, B, and C in Figure #1a, Figure #1b, and Figure #1c below.
Figure #1a – Fabric A
Figure #1b – Fabric B
Figure #1c – Fabric C

Steps to Create Pillow Insert

1. Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the two 12½” W X 28½” L pieces of muslin together, leaving a six-inch opening for stuffing.
2. Fill with fiberfill, making sure to thoroughly stuff the corners. Close opening with small hand stitches to finish.

Steps to Create Pillow

1. Set up machine for sewing with the included wide table.
2. Print heart template and use the pattern to cut a heart from the 6” square piece of fabric B. See Figure #2.

Figure #2

3. Center heart on 8½” square piece of fabric C. Attach foot “N” and use an appliqué stitch such as stitch No.13 to attach the heart to the base fabric. Practice on a remnant of fabric and decrease the width and length of the stitch to easily sew around the curves while completely catching the raw edge of the heart shape. See examples in Figure #3a and Figure 3b.

Figure #3a
Figure #3b

4. Set up for sewing a ¼” seam. Create I block by sewing two 2½” X 4½” pieces of fabric C to one 2½” X 4½” piece of fabric B, with fabric B in the center. Next, sew a 2½” X 6½” piece of fabric B to the top and bottom, forming the letter I. See Figure #4.

Figure #4

5. Create U block by sewing two 2½” X 6½” pieces of fabric B to one 2½” X 6½” piece of fabric C, with fabric C in the center. Sew one 2½” X 6½” piece of fabric B to the bottom edge, forming the letter U. See Figure #5.

Figure #5

6. Complete each block, adding one 2½” W X 8½” L piece of fabric A to each side of the heart, one piece on the left side of the I, and one piece on the right side of the U. See Figure #6.

Figure #6

7. Sew the three blocks together. See Figure #7.

Figure #7

8. Select remaining two pieces of fabric A, cut to measure 2½” W X 28½” L. To complete the panel, sew one to the top edge and one to the bottom edge, creating the top and bottom borders. Layer the piece on top of the low loft batting. See Figure #8.

Figure #8

9. Using the standard foot and a narrow zig zag stitch, secure the batting to the fabric, catching the raw edge of the panel with the right-hand swing of the zig zag stitch. Trim away the excess batting. You can choose to stitch around the borders and blocks like you would for traditional quilt blocks if you wish, but the extra stitching isn’t necessary for the pillow top.
10. Set up the serger for a three-thread rolled hem and finish the one edge of each of the ruffle strips, forming a neat and decorative hem. Next, create one continuous length by sewing the strips together using a French seam so that the raw edges are fully hidden. Change serger thread to match ruffle fabric. Set up the serger for a standard, balanced four-thread stitch. Change setting to create gathers using the highest number for the differential feed and the longest possible stitch length, and then increase the needle tension two to three numbers to create full gathers. Gather the edge opposite the rolled hem, beginning and ending with a long chain of threads to allow for adjustment of the gathers. See Figure #9.

Tip: Practice on remnants of the lightweight batiste fabric until you achieve full gathers, loosening the needle tension for less gathers and tightening it for more. It is easy to ease off some of the fullness when fitting it to the pillow panel, so more gathers are better than less.
Figure #9

11. Start pinning the ruffle to the front pillow panel, starting near the center of the lower edge. See Figure #10.

Figure #10

Continue pinning ruffle all around the panel, rounding the corners slightly. See Figure #11.

Figure #11

When you reach the point where you started, trim the excess ruffle, leaving enough fabric for a double turned ½” hem on each short end, and allowing for a slight overlap. See Figure #12a and Figure #12b.

Figure #12a
Figure #12b

12. Fold each of the two 32” W X 12½” L back pieces and press so each one equals 16” W X 12½” L. To complete the pillow, layer and pin pieces together, overlapping back pieces, and then adjusting them so they are centered over the front piece and all raw edges are even. See Figure #13.

Figure #13

Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew through all layers, rounding the corners slightly. Trim corners slightly to remove bulk. See Figure #14.

Figure #14

Turn pillow right side out, press lightly. Hand sew the turned ends of the ruffle to hem the ends. Place pillow insert inside through the opening at the center.

You are finished! Enjoy!

Options and Ideas:

  • Turn each block into its own pillow to create three separate toss pillows.
  • Add additional blocks of fabric and turn this idea into a wall hanging.
  • Create additional, smaller pillows using fabrics A, B, and C for a virtual pillow parade!
  • Click here to download a PDF file of this blog.

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