Introduction: The Proposal Pillow

About: "Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion."~Michael Jordan... “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodore Roosevelt..."Greater love has no one than this:…

So you want to get married, huh?

You want to give your special someone your heart (pun implied), but you need a sentimental and unique way to do it? In my opinion the best sentimental gift is one you make yourself.

Now, you could do the usual dozen roses and a ring...but where's the heart in that?

INSTEAD, IMAGINE THIS... 445 roses, a ring, a sentimental picture (or other memory) framed in a studded "diamond" ribbon, and a secret pocket to add a hidden surprise for the love of your life (if you and the ring weren't enough)! Not to mention the practicality of a forever, heart-shaped pillow...what's not to love?

CAUTION: This pillow will make your special someone, fall deeply asleep...I mean, in love.

Note: This is my very first Instructable. Thanks to my mom, Meglymoo87, for sharing her love of Instructables with me!


  • Sewing machine
  • Ballpoint machine needle
  • All-purpose machine needle
  • 2 yards of fabric (I used a polyester curtain from Goodwill)
  • Matching thread
  • Poly-fil (or any filling)
  • Hot glue gun with lots of glue sticks
  • 50 sheets of red felt 9" x 12" x 2 mm (23 cm x 30 cm x 2 mm)
  • Pins
  • 7" gold jeans/coat zipper (on white backing)
  • Fabric marker
  • Fabric scissors
  • Gold and "diamond" ribbon
  • 1/8 yard clear vinyl
  • Scrap poster board, card stock, thin cardboard, or thick paper (must be at least 20" x 12")
  • Circle object for tracing around (3" in diameter)
  • OPTIONAL: Rotary cutter

Note: I was going to use the black felt for something, but chose to go a different route. So you will not need that.

Step 1: Iron Fabric

We found this awesome curtain (fabric) at Goodwill for $2.99. I am thinking of using the grommets for another project later.

The fabric I used was 100% polyester, so I set the iron to setting #3.

After ironing, I noticed that there were a lot of deep creases that wouldn't come out. If you have the same problem it's all good, because the creases won't show up in the completed pillow.

Step 2: Make a Heart

Using your scrap poster board, fold it in half (so that it's even on both sides once it's cut).

Draw a heart shape that's roughly 10" wide from the center fold to the edge, and 12" tall.

Cut the heart shape out, and unfold to reveal the heart pattern.

Step 3: Cut Heart in Fabric

Place the heart pattern on your fabric. If needed, cut the fabric down to a workable size (leaving enough fabric so that it is more than double the length of the heart width, so 42" or more).

Fold the fabric in half (so it will make two pieces with one cut).

Using your fabric marker, mark 1/2" seam allowance around the heart. Cut the fabric along this line.

After your done, trace the heart onto the fabric (so you can have a reference line for sewing).

Step 4: Zipper & Settings

The zipper I used was a gold 7" long jeans zipper on a white backing.

The sewing machine settings you will use for this entire Instructable are:

  • Straight Stitch
  • Length of stitch = 2.5
  • Width of stitch = 3.5

Now, these settings are specific to using 100% polyester fabric, like I did.

However, I highly recommend testing stitch settings on a scrap piece of your own fabric either way before continuing with this project.

Use a thread that matches your fabric. You will see I ended up having to use a white thread because for some strange reason the matching thread kept bunching up in my machine's bobbin area. I have no clue why.

And to attach the zipper, you will need a zipper foot (however, you can do it without a zipper foot, if necessary).

Step 5: Mark Zipper

On the heart piece that will be your back piece, place the zipper wrong-side-up on top of the wrong-side of the fabric.

Mark where the zipper itself (the gold part, not the white backing) begins and ends.

Step 6: Cut Opening

Use a ruler (or a straight edge) to cut a straight line between your marks.

I like to use a rotary cutter for this, but you can use scissors if you don't have a rotary cutter.

Make sure not to cut it too long or there will be gaps on either end.

Step 7: Pin Zipper Side 1

I'm not going to lie, I'm not the best at installing zippers.


But, I can tell you what I did, and if you know a better way to do it, please share in the comments.

Also, here's a link to a different Instructable that may be of more help: click here

To install the zipper, I didn't use a basting stitch (maybe I should have?). I simply folded the fabric back as I pinned (see pictures).

Note: I unzipped the zipper to pin one side at a time.

Step 8: Sew in Zipper Side 1

Next, I sewed with my zipper foot over the right side of the fabric as close to the zipper teeth as I could.

Step 9: Repeat

Then, I repeated on the other side, sewing straight lines across both short sides of the zipper to finish it off.

Again, my thread was white, but if yours matches your fabric, it shouldn't show very much.

Step 10: Measure for Pocket

To make the pocket on the inside of the back of the pillow, you will need to cut out 2 pieces of fabric.

First, measure the distance from end to end, plus 1/2" on each side. This will make sure you cover the whole zippered area with the pocket.

Then, measure the distance from the middle of the white backing's top, to the middle of the white backing's bottom. The distance between mine was 5/8" (see the second picture for clarity). This distance will be the distance between the top of the shorter piece and the top of the taller piece.

Using your measurements, make a plan for your 2 pieces.

Mine were 7-1/2" x 5" and 7-1/2" x 4-3/8."

Add 1/2" seam allowance total (to use 1/4" seams), so the final dimensions are: 8" x 5-1/2" for the taller piece, and 8" x 4-7/8" for the shorter piece.

Step 11: Measure, Cut, Pin

Measure those dimensions onto the fabric, cut it, and pin it right sides together.

Step 12: Change the Machine Needle

If you are using 100% polyester fabric, silk, satin, or knitted fabric, you will need to follow this step. If you are using a tougher fabric like cotton, wool, or even denim, you can skip this step.

Whenever you are sewing fabric on fabric, you will need to change out your all-purpose sewing machine needle to a ballpoint needle.

This helps the fabric not make little tears when sewing because the needle has a softer tip.

Whenever you are sewing fabric on any other material, switch the needle in your machine back to the all-purpose needle.

Otherwise, the tougher material could break your ballpoint needle.

Step 13: Sew Pocket

Sew around the three sides of the pocket, leaving the top side open.

Step 14: Trim Corners

After you are done sewing the three sides, trim the corners.

This makes it so when you turn the pocket right-side-out you will have nicer corners.

Step 15: Flip Pocket Right-Side Out

Flip the pocket right-side out.

Change your machine needle back to all-purpose.

Step 16: Sew Short Side to Zipper

Pin the short side only to the bottom white backing piece of the zipper.

I used pins to hold the longer piece down so I didn't sew over it.

Sew the shorter piece to the zipper backing.

Step 17: Sew Long Side to Zipper

When complete, unpin the longer piece and pin it to the zipper's top white backing piece.

Sew the fabric to the zipper piece.

Step 18: Make an Outer Picture Pocket

To make the outer clear pocket for holding a picture or a card, first measure the clear vinyl.

I wanted to be able to fit a 4 x 6 photo in it (or smaller), so I measured my vinyl to be 4-1/2" x 6-1/2."

On the right side of the fabric, pin the vinyl to just under the zipper.

MAKE SURE your pocket underneath is pinned up so you don't pin to or sew the vinyl to the inside pocket.

Sew the pocket on all three sides except the left side (so on the top, right side, and bottom).

Step 19: Add a Decorative Frame

Lay your decorative ribbon between the top of your clear pocket and the zipper (it should hide the bottom zipper stitches and the top of the vinyl's stitches). I centered the ribbon so that it was as long as the clear pocket, plus one extra square on each side.

Glue down the ribbon. Glue each square individually.

Continue around the pocket, lining up the squares the best you can, until it looks like a frame.

NOTE: When you add the decorative ribbon to the left side (where the vinyl opens) leave about 1/2" of space between the opening and the ribbon. That way, you can still easily slide pictures/cards into the vinyl pocket.

Step 20: Sew the Pillow Case

Switch your machine needle back to a ballpoint needle.

Pin the two heart shaped pieces right sides together.

Sew around the heart along the line you made when you traced the black poster board on to the heart. This leaves roughly a 1/2" seam.

Be sure to leave a gap to turn your pillow case right side out.

Step 21: Turn Right-Side Out

Simply place your hand inside the gap you left open, and start turning it right-side out.

Step 22: Trim Poster Board

Trim the original poster board down to the size of the sewn heart.

Step 23: Roll It Up

Roll up the poster board, insert it into the pillow case, and flatten it out to the proper shape.

This will protect the fabric from gluing shut when you add the roses. It will also help the final pillow keep a nice heart shape when it's complete.

NOTE: It doesn't add any stiffness to the final pillow (you don't even know it's there in the end).

Step 24: Cut Rose Circles

Place your 3" circle object down onto the felt. Trace around it with a fabric marker. (I had to use a washable marker because my fabric marker ran out, but I would highly suggest using a disappearing ink fabric marker).

First, trace three circles lengthwise from left to right, with the first circle on the farthest left nearly touching the edge of the felt (see picture 3 for clarity).

Next, trace ONE circle on the far right, nearly touching the farthest right nearly touching the edge of the felt.

Then, trace the THIRD ROW of circles along the bottom edge of the felt from right to left, matching them up with the first row of circles.

Lastly, fill in the middle two circles.

NOTE: It's important to only put one circle in the middle row and then finish the bottom row because not all felt pieces are the same exact size. To get 9 circles from each piece, you sometimes need to alternate where the middle row's final two circles sit.

Stack the finished marked sheet of felt on top of 5-6 other pieces of felt. Make sure they are the same size!

Place a pin through the inside of each circle, so the pieces stay together when cutting. (This technique makes cutting out 445 roses super fast! I highly recommend it!)

Cut out the circles. Repeat until all sheets are cut.

Step 25: How to Make a Rose

Unpin all the felt stacks.

To make a rose, do the following:

  • Take a circle and fold it in half, leaving about 1/4" space between the two ends (see second picture).
  • Flip the folded circle over.
  • Starting in the corner closest to you, roll tightly away from you to create the rose affect, but leave a small end of felt unrolled at the end (fourth picture).
  • Put a small glue dab on the unrolled felt nearest to the rolled rose.
  • Continue rolling the rose over the glue to adhere.
  • Hold for about 5 seconds to allow the glue to dry.

Voila! Now just make 444 more of them! Or however many is needed to fill the front of your pillow.

Step 26: Start in the Center

Glue a felt rose in the middle of the pillow (start in the center and work your way out).

Glue another rose right next to it, and repeat to have three total (see second picture).

Pull the roses slightly apart to add a dab of glue to each, then squeeze them back together (or add glue to the backs of the new roses as your adding them). This keeps the roses together (just be sure not to pack them too tightly...only just enough so there isn't visible gaps)

NOTE: Alternate the direction of the roses, and the different sizes of roses. This adds visual interest and texture to the piece, and gives the roses a bouquet look.

Step 27: Continue Adding Roses

Continue adding the roses until you fill up the entire pillow, except for a space near the gap area so that you don't glue the gap closed (see picture two).

Step 28: Stuff It

Fill the pillow with the Poly-fil, starting in one hump, then the second hump, and evenly spreading it through towards the open gap.

Make sure that there are no lumps or "air" bubbles (places of no Poly-fil).

Step 29: Pin the Gap

Pin both sides of the gap to make a hem.

Step 30: Blind Stitch

Blind stitch the closure shut.

To blind stitch:

  1. Thread the needle.
  2. Pull the needle from the underside of the fabric hem to the right side (use the first picture for clarity). This will hide the starting of the stitch.
  3. Pull the needle over the gap, and into the middle of the hem of the other side (use the second picture for clarity).
  4. Pull the needle back over the gap directly across from the stitch you just made and go through the middle of the hem of this side (use the third picture for clarity).
  5. Continue crossing over the gap (back and forth), and going into the middles of the hem fabric in a directly across from each other way until the thread starts to resemble the rungs of a ladder (see the sixth picture).
  6. Pull the string taut to make an invisible seam.
  7. Continue crossing the thread over and pulling it taut every few stitches until the entire seam is stitched.

Step 31: Finish It Off

To finish it off:

  1. Come up through the underside of the fabric and make a knot.
  2. Go through the exact same spot a couple more times, making knots each time (like you did the first time).
  3. To hide the tail of the thread, push the needle into the body of the pillow (through the seam where your knot is) and pull it out of a random part of the fabric.
  4. Snip the thread with scissors.

Step 32: Finish Adding Final Roses

Now that you have the pillow filled and the gap sewn, add the roses over the empty space above where the gap was.

Step 33: Fill in Gaps & Clean Up

You will find that filling the pillow created some additional gaps between roses that need filling. Simply add a dab of glue in the gap (onto the fabric if you can) and insert the rose.

There will also be hot glue strands lingering about. Find them, and pull them off. Additionally, you can use a lint roller to make it nice and clean.

Step 34: Add a Photo or Card

Add a memorable photo or a card into the clear vinyl pocket.

I found this photo of my parents when they were dating--the old farts!

Just kidding, love you Mom and Dad!

Step 35: Complete!

Voila! You just completed the perfect proposal pillow that will amaze your special someone!

Plan your proposal--and pray she says yes!

NOTE: You can add the ring to the pocket or in the roses when presenting it.

I enlisted my brother as my proposal model. Don't worry, he's not getting married anytime soon!

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