Suzani Style Applique Pillows Tutorial

suzani style applique pillows

Suzani Style Applique Pillows Tutorial

by Amy

Hi guys!  I  made some new accent pillows for my living room to brighten the space up for spring and I wanted to share them with you guys today.  I have been a big fan of Suzani textiles since waaaayy back in my design school days.

What is Suzani? Suzani is a type of decorative embroidered tribal textile made in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries.  The name Suzani comes from the Persian word Suzan, which means needle.  Popular design motifs include sun and moon disks, flowers, leaves and vines.  Suzani-inspired print fabrics can be found just about everywhere and are seen all over in interior design lately.

I decided to try my hand at creating some Suzani style applique pillows and I love the way they turned out.  It takes a little bit of time, but the end result is totally worth it!


suzani design

Begin by printing out the pattern and assembling it as shown in the picture above.  This pattern makes a 12×18-inch pillow so the pattern prints in 4 pieces.  Cut the pattern pieces out along the black outlines and tape them together.

At this time, you will also want to cut a 12×18-inch piece of your canvas fabric.

felt suzani style pillow tutorial

Carefully cut the pattern pieces out of the corresponding felt colors.  I cut each individual piece out of the paper pattern then pinned it to felt and carefully cut around all the edges.  Be patient and take your time, especially with the vine/leafy pieces.  It helps to turn on a movie while you’re cutting to keep your mind off of the tedious process!  As I cut out the felt, I laid it out on the white canvas fabric so I wouldn’t get confused about where each piece went.

pillow tutorial

For my center medallion pieces, instead of trying to cut rings of each individual color that would fit perfectly together, I just cut full circles of each color and glued them on top of one another to form the medallion.

How to make a suzani pillow

Once all the pattern pieces were cut out, I laid out the pattern on my canvas backing exactly how I wanted it to look when I was finished.  You will have cut your printed pattern apart in cutting out the felt pieces, so you can either print another pattern to use for layout or just reference the picture on your computer screen and eye-ball the spacing.  Use the straight edges of the cut felt pieces to line up with fabric edges and you’ll get a good idea of how it all fits together.  It doesn’t have to be perfect!

suzani pillow tutorial

Once you are happy with the layout, use permanent fabric glue to attach the felt to the canvas backing.  Just take your time, working layer by layer, until everything is stuck down.  For the leafy pieces, I glued the center vines in place first and then went back and lifted up the individual leaves and glued each one.  Use enough glue that the pieces are securely attached, right up to the edges, but not so much glue that it oozes out everywhere.  The glue will dry clear, so don’t panic if you get a little oozing — especially at first as you are getting the hang of it.  Allow the glue to dry for several hours before proceeding to the next step!


To sew the pillow cover:

  1. Cut 2 12×15-inch pieces of your white canvas fabric for the back of the pillow. Sew a quick rolled hem down one of the 12″ sides of each piece of fabric.
  2. Cut pom pom fringe into four 12-inch lengths.  Pin a double layer of fringe down one 12-inch edge of the appliqued front piece as shown.  {I think the fringe looks too sparse if you only use a single layer.}  Attach it to the pillow front by sewing along the edge of the fringe.  Repeat for the other side.
  3. Lay the front piece of your pillow cover flat with the right side up.  Lay the two back pieces on top of it, right side down, overlapping the hemmed edges in the center.  Line up the raw edges all the way around and pin in place.  Sew around the perimeter of the pillow, making sure not to sew on top of the pom poms on each end.  When you get to a corner, just lift up the presser foot on your machine and turn the fabric.  I like to go back and re-sew the the top and bottom edges {the ones with the fabric overlapped} to make those seams extra sturdy.  Don’t ask me how many times I have popped a seam trying to wrestle a big, puffy pillow into its cover….

DIY Suzani pillow tutorial

Turn the pillow cover right side out, insert a pillow form, and you’re finished!  These pillows add a bright, fun pop of color to my otherwise pretty neutral living room.  I think that bright apple-green color is so perfect for this season.

how to make a suzani style pillow tutorial

 Happy Spring, everyone!

Have you heard of Suzani before? Are you a fan of this style?

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  1. 1
    Tammy Schick

    I am absolutely IN LOVE with this pillow! SO adorable! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pattern! So cute!

  2. 2
    Tammy H

    OK your family is certifiable. Love the burst of color. Could be I am longing for Spring near the deadly mud slide in Washington State so you draw your own conclusions. Please bring a string of good weather to this area and if not some artificial pleasantness!!!!