I'm not terribly into cutesy Valentines Day decor. I'm not against it; it's just not my style. I did want to make something fun for Valentines that wasn't over the top cutesy. I hung onto every tiny scrap of the Oakshott Cottons I received last year, and have been saving them for a fun, small project. They were perfect for this pillow.
To make this pillow you need:
(2) 20.5" squares linen (I used Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax)
(2) 20.5" squares heavyweight interfacing
20" invisible zipper
1 piece heavy weight interfacing the size of your shape
First, draw your heart (or any shape you want). I wanted mine to fill only the lower quarter of my pillow so I went fairly small. Start piecing those scraps together. When I'm improv piecing, I tend to begin by sewing smaller pieces together to make strips or sections. I then sew those together with the larger scraps. Don't overthink it. Just have fun.
Keep adding to your improv block until it's about a 1/2" larger than your shape, all the way around.
Attach the interfacing to the back of your linen squares as well as the back of your pieced block. (I forgot to attach my interfacing until I had already sewn my block down so the pictures don't reflect this).
Decide how to position your shape on the pillow.
Now layer all the pieces. Each piece will be right side down. First place the linen square, then pieced block, then paper shape. Pin all layers together well.
Carefully stitch around the shape on the back. Before stitching, use the top thread to pull the bobbin thread up through your fabric to the top. Hold both threads out of the way and begin stitching. This will prevent a bird's nest from forming on the front of the pillow.
Trim the excess. I left about 3/8" - 1/2" around my stitching.
Very carefully separate the two layers and begin cutting out the linen inside the stitching lines. I choose to sew two stitching lines to add strength.
Now make your pillow by inserting the invisible zipper and sewing around the perimeter of the pillow. Check out The Busy Bean for a tutorial on invisible zippers if you haven't done one before. It's my favorite way to finish off a pillow cover.