LOVE in your heart | Learn to use machine embroidery to make a pocket pillow with this tutorial and free design.

Bridget McPhillips in-the-hoop pillow cover tutorials zipper closure


Forget about boring cards or flowers. 
Chocolate?  Who needs chocolate! 
Whip up a super cute little pillow with a pretty little pocket, perfect for holding a little note of love, gratitude or appreciation.  If you are feeling especially nice, slip in a little something extra!  The perfect way to leave a special treat from you to someone you love!
Lets make a Heart filled with LOVE pocket pillow.
This tutorial showcases a new embroidery design I created.  The embroidery design is available for free is my shop for the month of February 2018.  Just add the design to your cart and proceed to the checkout. 
The design is approximately 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches, so you will need a hoop at least that big. 


You will need:

two pieces of fabric at least 7 inches by 7 inches to make the pocket

two pieces of fabric for the pillow ( I used denim cut to 11.5 inches square)

1 invisible zipper (and invisible zipper presser foot)

an embroidery machine and a regular sewing machine

Three colors of embroidery thread

Thread to sew together the pillow

Cutaway embroidery stabilizer


I knew I was using the color combination of aqua, navy and orange for my embroidery.  To compliment the embroidery, I decided to make my pillow out of denim.  I chose to use a grey flannel as the fabric for the pocket. 

You can embroider the design in any color combination you choose.  So get creative and personalize the design for the intended recipient by using their favorite colors!


To make this cute pocket pillow you started by making the pocket. 

After you have downloaded your design, embroider the design on the fabric you choose for the pocket on your pocket. 
Embroidered heart with the word LOVE
Once your embroidery is completed, trim the stabilizer.
I left about a half inch of the stabilizer around the shape of the heart.
Trim the embroidery stabilizer front the back of embroidery
Once the stabilized is trimmed, place the embroidered fabric right sides together onto a second piece of fabric you have for your pocket.  By sewing these two pieces together you are creating a lining in the pocket that will cover the back of the embroidery design.
Sew backing to make heart pocket
Stitch the two pieces together following the shape of the embroidered heart.
Be sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the heart pocket right side out.  I left my opening on the curved section of the heart.  I would not recommend doing this.  Later, when you have to hand stitch the opening closed, stitching along the curve is more difficult that stitch along a straight side.  Next time I would leave the opening along a straight edge. 
Stitch heart pocket
Using pinking shears, trim around the heart close to your stitch line, but be careful not to cut your stitches.  Trimming the seam with the pinking shears will help the curved parts of the heart to lay flat once they are turned right side out.
Trim with pinking shears
Once the pocket is trimmed you will turn it right side out through the opening left in the seam you just completed.  I use this bamboo tool to gently poke out the corners and points.
Turn sewn heart pocket right side out
Once you have the pocket turned, finger press around the seam straightening and flattening it as you go to shape the heart. 
Now you will need to sew the opening left in the seam to turn the pocket closed.  I used matching thread and a slip stitch to sew the opening closed.
The heart you just made will be used to make the pocket on the front of the pillow.
hand sew opening closed
Lay out the piece of fabric you cut to use as the front of the pillow and try the pocket in different places until you find a spot you like. 
I decided to place my pocket in the lower right corner at a slight slant.  I like the way this looked when the pocket was empty and I also liked that when I added something to the pocket it was still held within the front of the pillow.
Chose placement for pocket on pillow front
Once you have decided on the placement of the pocket, pin it in place, marking the space to be the opening at the top of the heart pocket.
Mark heart pocket for opening
Next  just top stitch along the edge of the heart between the two pins to create the pocket.
Stitch heart pocket ti pillow front
Now you have the front side of your pillow with the pocket stitched in place.  Next you will install the invisible zipper. 
I love to use invisible zippers on pillows.  I will walk you though installing the invisible zipper next.
This step is not necessary.  If you prefer, you can just put the two pieces of your pillow right sides facing together and stitch around the edges.  Leave an opening to turn and stuff the pillow and then hand stitch that opening closed.
add a zipper to the pillow front and back
This is an invisible zipper foot.  This foot makes installing an invisible zipper a breeze.  if you do not have one, don't worry, you can use a regular zipper foot.   You just need to iron the zipper flat first and then sew as close to the zipper teeth as you can using the regular zipper foot. 
invisible zipper foot
The invisible zipper foot fits right over the teeth of the invisible zipper as you sew.
Sew the first side of the zipper as shown in the picture below, with the right side of the invisible zipper facing the right side of the fabric.  Then repeat for the other piece of the pillow fabric. 
Installing an invisible zipper
The installed invisible zipper will look like this.  Be sure to open the zipper part way before you sew the side of the pillow together so that you can turn the pillow right side out.
invisible zipper sewn to front and back of pillow
To finish your pocket pillow,  stitch around the remaining three sides.
stitch perimeter of pillowclip corners
Before turning the pillow right side out, I always clip the corners so they will look crisp.
stuff pillow
All that is left is to stuff the pillow.  I used wool fluff to fill my pillow.  I love wool because it is a natural fiber that is mold and mildew resistant, a natural fire retardant, and an unfriendly environment for dust mites.  If I ever need to wash the pillow, I would simply remove the wool fill and wash and dry the empty pillow.
heart pocket pillow with a card
That's it!  A cute little pillow with a cute little pocket for a note or gift.
Heart pocket pillow with a gift
Heart Pocket Pillow
If you didn't want to make the whole pillow, use the design and follow the instructions until you have constructed the pocket.  Before you stitch the opening closed, fill the heart with the wool fluff and make a mini pillow.
Add some essential oils or fragrant potpourri and make a sachet for your drawer. 
Add a ribbon at the top and the embroidered heart can he hung over a knob.
Stuff the embroidered heart
I am sue you can find  so many uses of this pretty little design!  I hope you can use it to make all the people you love smile. 
Happy sewing!

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