‘Joyful Noise’ Machine Appliqué Project

Adorable Free Pillow Applique Pattern - - Joyful Noise Pillow Project
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joyful noise pillow

My favorite holiday memories always seems to revolve not around what my sisters and I were actually supposed to be doing, but all the contagious giggles we often had instead.

This little pattern is all about sister time like that. (Download the pattern here.)

For this project, I made a quilted pillow, but these happy gals can brighten up any project. Here is a photo tutorial on how to use the pattern and apply it to your project. To give you an idea on the size of these applique pieces, the finished pillow I made was about 13 x 20 inches.

What you will need for this project:

Felt in a few colors. I used black, green, and an alabaster colored felt for the faces.

At least 3 patterned cotton fabric pieces and one solid color. I purchased about 1/4 yard of 4 different fabrics (plus white fabric I already had) to make the entire pillow. For just the applique, you can use much less…get out that bin of scraps! 🙂

Steam-a-Seam or Heat and Bond fusible backing. Choose the lightest weight available. (One has a “featherlite” version that is fabulous.)

Embroidery Thread in pink and black to make eyes and lips.

Pins, thread, fabric and embroidery scissors, and all the other usual sewing suspects. I used a sewing machine to applique here, but you could certainly hand sew. It will just take a bit longer.

How to apply the applique for this project:

Using a small scissors (embroidery scissors do the job precisely,) cut out the shoes, hair, faces, and mittens from felt. You can use embroidery thread to applique the eyes and lips on now or wait until right before you sew them on to the whole project. At this point, set all the felt pieces aside.

IMG_3943.JPGNow prepare your other fabric to cut out the dresses, hats, and legs by sticking the Steam-a-Seam to the back of the fabric piece you would like to cut. Push firmly to adhere well enough until it is time to iron.

Doing it this way has two major benefits.1. You are able to iron all the pieces in place so sewing them couldn’t be easier. 2. It helps stop the edges from fraying once ironed on and eliminates the need to do a paper-pieced method. I still love the look and feel of paper pieced applique on a quilt, but for projects like this, a quick and east method is the way to go!

IMG_3893.JPGNow pin the pattern piece you intent to cut to the fabric as shown. (Aw man, is that seriously a dog hair in this photo? Yes. Yes, it is.)

(Oh well…Going with it!)

IMG_3940.JPGOnce you have the pieces all cut out for each person, line them up to make sure you didn’t miss anything or mis-cut a piece.

Applique planning before sewingCut out all of the pieces and lay them out on the backing piece you will applique to. Once you are happy with their placement, apply a hot iron and press firmly, following the instructions on your fusible backing (Steam a Seam or Heat ‘n Bond.) Don’t move the iron around when you’re applying heat, just press straight down for about 7 seconds, lift up, and move to the next section.)

The felt pieces will not stick obviously, but that is ok. Set them aside again until you have sewn all of the other pieces in place.


Yay! Sewing time! You can use a straight stitch or a blanket stitch. Here is the setting/stitch I used.


Carefully and slowly sew around all of the edges of your fabric. Check out the positioning here…if you are doing a blanket stitch, keep the fabric edge in the center of the presser foot. There is a convenient little mark there that you can keep your eye on. Go slow and turn the fabric often. (If you are a sewing beginner, By turning I mean stop your needle, lift up the foot, turn, put the foot back down.)


When you are finished sewing around all of the edges, you will have lots of little hanger offers like these. Just cut them close to the fabric to clean things up.


As you can see, I did the fabric pieces by machine and ended up doing the smaller felt pieces by hand. With small applique pieces this is just easier sometimes.

IMG_3965.JPGNow hand sew the felt pieces in place with a needle and thread. A Milliners needle is the popular thing to use for this kind of thing. Its a very thin needle that doesn’t poke a bunch of big, distracting holes in your work.

I made a pillow with coordinating fabric. It is basically a quilted “sandwich” on top, patchwork and a zipper on the back, and fabric-covered piping around the edge. You can make something from scratch or apply to a store-bought throw pillow instead to save yourself time.