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How to Make Heart Cushions from Fleece Scraps

I often use fleece to back my quilts and I end up with long strips of leftover fleece after trimming.

So when I was looking for a quick and easy sewing project to do with the kids for #sewasoftie month (a blogger collaboration led by Trixi Symonds that hopes to encourage young people to learn how to sew) I decided to do something with all that leftover fleece!

I asked the kids what we should make and they said rather bafflingly – hearts!

So we made hearts! Here’s how.

Materials Needed: Fleece Heart Cushions

fleece scraps from quilt backs
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
  • Long(ish) strips of leftover fleece fabric. No set size you can make these hearts any size to suit your scraps.
  • A piece of paper and a pen.
  • Round object for tracing the curvy bit of the heart.
  • Leftover quilt batting the same size you would like your cushion x 2 (optional)
  • Batting trimmings, fleece trimmings, fabric trimmings – for stuffing
  • Ribbon (optional – as hanging for smaller hearts)

Step 1:  Sew Fleece Scraps together in rows

fleece fabric scraps cushion tutorial
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I often have long strips of fleece leftover from quilt backings.  They are usually between 4” and 8” wide. 

If they are much bigger I would probably use them for another project like a scrappy quilt back.

You don’t need to measure your fleece scraps just decide if you could use them for a bigger project or not.  

If not then sew them in strips right sides together over and over until you have one or several large pieces.

fleece scraps sewn together
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Step 2:  Trace a Heart Template

You can make your hearts whatever size you like to suit the size of your scraps. 

I made a medium-sized one (about the width of my forearm) and a small one (about the width of my palm).

You don’t need to measure anything ‘properly’ for this project! Things like measuring are extra steps that give kids a chance to get bored when you are doing projects like this – so I skipped the measuring to try to keep them engaged!

bowl for tracing a heart shape
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

The easiest way to trace a heart shape is to take one piece of regular printer paper and find something like a bowl or a mug that you can use to trace the top of your heart. 

how to draw a heart shape template
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Starting from one edge of the paper, trace the circle 2/3rds of the way around and then either use a ruler or freehand draw a line to the edge of your paper for the bottom of the heart.

drawing a heart template
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

You are only trying to draw half a heart here as you are going to cut your fleece folded to make it whole.

how to draw a heart template
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Step 3:  Cut your Fleece Fabric & Batting (batting is optional)

folded fleece fabric
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Fold your fabric over at one end, just folding it enough so the template covers all the fabric when the straight side is placed along the fold.

cutting out heart shape using template
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut around your template but don’t cut along the straight edge where you started and ended your drawn half a heart.

cutting out heart shape for cushion
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Repeat to cut as many hearts as you can out of your scraps. 

Use two sizes of template if needed to get the most out of your fabric.

fleece hearts
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Make sure you cut an even number as obviously you need two hearts for each stuffed heart you will make – somehow I ended up with an odd number and had to piece more scraps to cut another one!

using batting scraps
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Optionally you can also cut scrap batting to make your heart extra squishy and to use up leftover bits of that too.  I didn’t use batting on the small hearts but I did on the bigger ones.

If you are using batting scraps use the same template but cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside so that your batting is a bit smaller than your fleece heart.  You don’t need to be precise here!

batting and fleece for cushions
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Step 4:  If you are using Batting – Quilt it in place

quilting fleece heart cushion panel
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

If you are going to use batting to line your heart secure it to either side of your heart with a few quilting lines.  I used straight stitches on one side and wavy stitches on the other.

Step 5:  Sew your Hearts

Place your two hearts right sides together (don’t stress if they are not exactly the same size!). 

sewing right sides together
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Sew a 1/4” seam starting just before the bottom tip of the heart on one side and going all the way around but stopping 2-4” before the place you started – I use a wonderclip to tell me where to stop sewing!  This will be your turning and stuffing gap!

If your hearts weren’t cut to exactly the same size just use the smaller of the two hearts as your guide for your 1/4” seam and cut the excess off afterward.

cutting off excess bulk around the seam
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

As well as cutting off any excess fleece around your seam allowance you may want to give some small snips around the curvy bit of your heart to help the seam round properly when you turn it right side out.  Be sure not to cut through your stitch line though!

Step 6:  Optional Ribbon Hanging

ribbon hanging
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

If you want to add a ribbon hanging you need to add it before you sew your hearts together. 

Take a length of ribbon that is large enough for your hand to slip through when folded and place it raw edge to the top at the mid-top point of your heart. 

The bulk of your ribbon should be in the middle of your heart.  

adding a ribbon hanging
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Pin the ribbon in place so that it doesn’t get caught in your seam line when you stitch your heart closed.

Place your second heart on top, right sides to right sides.  Sew all the way around as before, being sure to leave yourself that turning gap.

Step 7:  Turn your Hearts Right Side Out

turn right sides out
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Turn your heart right side out and use your finger to adjust the seams from the inside until it looks heart-shaped.  

Step 8: Stuff!

stuffing the cushion
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Stuff your heart with the rest of your fleece scraps, batting scraps or fabric scraps and trimmings from your thread catcher bin.

close turning gap
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

When it feels as full as you want it, push the raw edges of your turning gap in towards the stuffing and sew shut either by hand or by machine. 

I forced mine through my machine but only do that if you are confident yours can handle the bulk!

Finished Fleecy Hearts from Scraps

fleece heart cushion from scraps
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
heart cushion - sewing with kids
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
small fleece heart ornament
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I really like how these hearts turned out. 

Are they polished and fit for sale at a craft fair?  No. 

Do my kids love them and like cuddling and playing with them?  Yes!  So that is good enough for me.

heart cushion made from fleece
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
heart cushion - sewing with kids
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I am sure you could give a polished finish to these if you spent more time on them but this project was conceived as part of #sewasoftie month which is all about encouraging kids to sew and showing them easy projects to get their feet wet. 

So maybe this is one to try with your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews?

Sew a Softie is hosted by Trixi Symonds over at Go check it out for even more fun sewing projects to do try with kids!

Happy sewing!

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