Hawaiian Inspired Applique Pillow



So recently I took a trip to Hawaii to visit my grandparents. They live on the island of Oahu. On our trip we decided to learn as much as we could about Hawaiian Quilts. They are just amazing. A traditional Hawaiian quilt is made using a technique called appliqué.

Applique is when you sew one piece of fabric onto a larger piece of fabric. Almost like putting a sticker on a piece of paper. It’s a fabric sticker!

The designs of traditional Hawaiian quilts are usually symmetrical (the same on both sides) and are inspired by nature or the animals of the area.

Check out some beautiful examples of Hawaiian Quilts here.

So my mom and I bought some patterns and want to make a Hawaiian quilt but that’s going to take a while so we decided that it would be fun to try and make a simplified version of a Hawaiian appliqué and make a pillow.

It was pretty easy and SO much fun.

Try it out!

The supplies you need for this project are…

background fabric (we used white)- you decide how big your pillow will be.

fabric for applique. a piece about the size of a piece of paper is enough.

fusible appliqué paper- use lightweight paper. (basically this is two sized sticky stuff that you iron onto your fabric to make it stick together. – fabric stickers!)

1 sheet of paper and scissors

stuffing for your pillow


here’s a separate picture of the fusible fleece/webbing we used.


First thing we need to do is to make the pattern for our design.

Take a piece of printer paper and fold one edge up to the other side. (we’re trying to make a square piece of paper instead of a rectangular one)

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once  you have that done then cut off the little rectangular extra bit.

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take your big triangle and fold it in half to make a smaller one.


now take a pencil and draw curvy line (anything is fine but the simpler the better for this project) from one corner to the next.

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make sure you’re drawing on the long side (the open side) not the folded sides.IMG_8824

now cut on your line, open it up and see your design! We made 100 of these it was SO fun.

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Okay now we get out our fusible webbing paper and make sure you have a big enough piece.


read the directions on the package on ours you peel off one side of the paper, lay it down on the wrong side of the fabric and then iron it on.

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now cut out your fabric to the same size of your paper and fold it just like you did the paper in the beginning. Use the pattern you made (folded up) to trace onto your fabric paper and then cut on the line.


It should look like this.


Alright then, cut your pillow fabric to the size you want and make sure it’s big enough for your design to be placed on it. Cut two pieces! You need a front and back. We made ours a little bit of a rectangle.


Once you have your pillow pieces cut out you’re going to iron on the appliqué piece. Peel off the other paper and place it on your fabric (right side), iron it on and take a look!

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Now we get to sew! You could just leave your appliqué on the pillow just like it is but it will probably start to peel off with time and use. The best thing to do is to stitch it down.

I used a really small zig zag stitch and went really slowly to stitch it on. This is where the design can make things hard. If you have a design that has too many turns in it it will take a while to sew it on.

Take your time with this and use your presser foot to help you with the corners!


Once you have it stitched on you’re ready to sew up your pillow!

Place the right sides of the fabric together (your design will be on the inside!) and stitch around leaving a space for stuffing open. We always use a 1/4 inch seam allowance (which is the width of your presser foot) to make things easy. Ohh and make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end so your stitches don’t come out.

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Once you get it sewn flip in inside out. Time to stuff it!

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Stuff it pretty tight, no one likes a lumpy pillow! I use my fingers to press the stuffing into the corners.

Once you have it all stuffed you need to stitch it up by hand. Take breaks if you need to, this can take a little time.


Now admire your work! Here’s my sister and I holding it up. She wanted to show you her watch.


Hope you enjoy! Make a bunch!


3 responses »

  1. That is FABULOUS! You are so very clever and talented. Love the Hawaiian print fabric and the way you centered the flower. :0) Can’t wait to see what you make next!

  2. Pingback: Superhero Capes! | sewkidsew

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