HOME DECOR DIY: Spooky Halloween Applique Pillows

I made these spooky pillows with custom Halloween appliques, in a jumbo size that's perfect for lounging on my bed. My bedroom has dim lighting, which is great for snoozing, but not for photos. I photographed these in my living room, which is often covered in pillows and gets heavy lounge use. I'm full in Halloween project mode, because it's my favorite holiday and I have spooky decor year round. If you're a fellow goth, you know this is new home decor season. I have you covered with these chic pillows that don't scream Halloween and can be used year round. The appliques are made with Fairfield World Stick Fusible Interfacing. The pillows are inner lined with Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing, to give the fabric more stability. The pillows are filled with Poly-Fil stuffing. I recommend buying a couple 25 pound boxes of stuffing, because these are jumbo pillows.

Fairfield World provided me with their products for this project. They paid me to create this project and tutorial. All photos, instructions, and opinions are my own.
  • 4 Yards Fairfield World Stick Fusible Interfacing
  • 4 Yards Fairfield World Smooth Fusible Interfacing
  • Fairfield World Poly-Fil Stuffing - I went through three 10 lb boxes of Poly-Fil making these jumbo pillows, and that really wasn't enough
  • 4 - 1 Yard cuts of Halloween print cotton fabric
  • 3 - 1 Yard cuts of different black on black print cotton fabrics
  • 1 Yard white print cotton - Mine has a silver polka dot print
  • Black thread
  • White thread
  • Tan thread - I had creme colored printed fabric, so I needed tan thread for the quilting on that fabric. Match the thread to the fabric background as close as possible
  • White chalk or pencil
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Parchment paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Hand sewing needle

1) Cut the 1 yard prints in half along the selvage/longways. This makes matching front and back pieces for each pillow.

2) Using the white chalk or pencils and ruler on the solid fabrics, draw a crow, spider, bat and skull. For the symmetrical drawings, I folded the fabric in half before drawing. I looked up images for reference and only did outline, as the details are added with stitching. You could pick other motifs, if desired. The drawing size should be a few inches smaller than pillow fronts, so they can be centered with plenty of pillow seam allowance later. Cut loosely around the drawings.

3) Cut 1 piece of Stick about the same size as each drawing. Cut two big pieces of parchment paper. Turn the iron to cotton and the steam off. 

4) Work one drawing and Stick piece at a time. Lay a parchment paper sheet on the ironing board. Lay the drawing faced up on the parchment paper. Lay the Stick over the drawing. Lay the 2nd parchment paper sheet onto the Stick. Starting in the center, working outwards and moving slowly, iron the layers together. Let the layers cool for a few minutes. Peel back the top parchment paper layer to reveal the fused Stick and fabric pieces. The drawing should still be visible. Remove the fused fabric from the parchment paper. Repeat this step with each drawing and Stick piece, until each pair is fused. With scissors, cut out the drawings.

5) Cut a piece of Smooth to fit each printed fabric rectangles. Match the rough side of the Smooth to the wrong side of the printed fabric rectangles. Turn the iron to cotton with the steam on. Working on the fabric side, moving slowly, fuse the fabric and Smooth together. This step takes a while, since there are 8 printed fabric rectangles and 8 Smooth rectangles.

6) Center a drawing applique onto a printed fabric rectangle. With the iron on Cotton and steam on, fuse the drawing applique to the rectangle. Repeat with each drawing and coordinating rectangle. In the end, you'll have

7) At the sewing machine, load the machine with thread that matches the drawing applique. Carefully stitch around the applique 1/8" from the edge to secure it to the rectangle. Stitch details onto the applique. The bat and raven had the most details added. The spider had no details added, and the legs are very thin. The skull had minor face shaping details. Switch the thread colors out when needed.

8) At the sewing machine, load the machine with thread that matches your printed fabric background. Following the shape of the print, or just doing straight lines, stitch across the rectangle fabric, making sure not to stitch over the applique. This will be easier on the pillow back pieces, as you don't have to work around an applique. This quilting helps the fabric and Smooth stay together over a lot of use.

9) Pair up the pillow fronts and backs right sides facing, making sure the print is going the correct direction. Pin around the sides. Load the machine with thread that matches the fabric. Straight stitch around all 4 sides, 1/2" from the edge. Leave a 6" gap along one side, backstitching at the gap edges.

10) Cut the corners at a diagonal, making sure not the cut through the thread. This helps shape the corners later.

11) Turn the pillowcase inside out through the gap. Shape the corners with something bluntly pokey like a chopstick.

12) Stuff the pillows with Poly-Fil through the gap. I like the stuff the bottom corners tightly before filling the pillow body, so the corners don't sag. When you reach the top, tightly stuff the top corners and fill in the gap section nicely.

13) Fold the gap edges in to match the sewn seam. Close the gap with straight pins. Cut a long piece of thread that matches the pillow fabric. Thread a hand sewing needle. Match up the two thread ends and double knot them. Using an invisible stitch, hand sew the gap closed. The pillow looks nicer when the gap is closed with this stitch, as it blends into the machine sewn seam.

14) Give the pillows hugs and celebrate your hard work.

I used Halloween motifs in neutral colors. You could certainly make them more Dia de los Muertos style in bright colors and prints. Or you could make these for regular decor in any colors with any other motifs. I made these jumbo, but you could certainly scale these down for your needs. Whatever you're making, have fun with it. Happy Makery!


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