How to Make an XO Valentine's Pillow from Drop Cloth

How to make a look-alike neutral Valentine's pillow cover with drop cloth XO letters

neutral Valentines pillow

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Hello, hello! I'm so excited to share this project with you today! I have a sew and no-sew version of this cute XO Valentine's pillow. I was going to share them both with you today, but decided to split them up into two separate posts. I like to share a LOT of details, and this post would have been way too long!

So if you are looking for the no-sew version of the XO pillow, watch for that to post early next week! Get updates in your inbox here! You can see a preview of the no-sew pillow on my Instagram feed.

If you know how to sew, this project will be a piece of cake! Even if you're a beginner (or novice) seamstress, you can do this! I consider myself pretty much a straight-line seamstress, with the occasional curve thrown in just to make life interesting! 😉 Bottom line, this is straightforward sewing, nothing too difficult!

Let me share the pillow that inspired this project before we get to the DIY.  My friend Amanda shared this picture on Instagram recently. I love her style and am always inspired by her decor! It's obvious by scrolling through our accounts that we like many of the same things! If you're looking for an awesome account filled with bright beautiful images, make sure you follow Amanda! Her Instagram handle is @farmhouse165.

inspiration pillow
Amanda found her XO pillow at Marshall's for $20. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed another pillow in my I headed out to the store, looking for it. I would have gladly paid the $20, but obviously I didn't find it...which is why we're making one today!

How to make an XO Valentine's pillow from drop cloth

Supplies Needed:
  • pillow form and cover, 12"x20" (here is a set of two (covers only) in the right color) or check stores like HomeGoods and Marshalls
  • drop cloth (pre-washed)
  • XO pattern
  • sewing machine
  • straight pins
  • sharp scissors
  • embroidery scissors (not necessary but very helpful bc they're very sharp, have a fine needle-nose point and are perfect for detail cutting)


Let's talk for a sec about the actual pillow. I love that the original is elongated. I found a feather pillow with removable case at HomeGoods for only $9!

clearance pillow

oblong pillow

As you can see, it's elongated too and I love the blue pattern on the front. The reason I bought it is because the back was just the color I wanted! But I also don't hate the front!! So win-win, this turned into a reversible pillow for me!

You can certainly sew your own pillow cover, or even purchase just a cover. However, I found that buying a ready-made pillow was more cost effective because inserts can get pricey (especially elongated, feather inserts!). Make sure if you go this route that you buy a pillow with a zipper so you can remove the cover (absolutely essential for this project!).

Step 1: Make XO template and cut out letters

I enlarged the letters so they'd each fill up a sheet of copy paper, and printed them out in grayscale so not to waste all my printer ink! If you'd like a free copy of my templates, just let me know in the comments and I'll send that to you!

cut out pattern from paper

Step 2: Pin pattern to drop cloth and cut out 

Make sure you have pre-washed and dried the drop cloth!! And when you cut, leave about 1/4" for a seam allowance. I found it was helpful to lightly draw a cutting line with pencil! And see my tips below for cutting out the center of your 'O'.

trace pattern and cut out drop cloth

Step 3: Pin drop cloth XO to pillow cover

Remove the pillow from the cover and insert a piece of cardboard or a cutting mat so you only pin through the top layer. Lay your drop cloth letters where you'd like them and pin them to the pillow cover, making sure the zipper is at the bottom! Use lots of pins so letters are securely in place.

pin to pillow cover

Step 4: Sew letters to pillow cover

I used the widest stitch on my machine (yep, I have my mom's vintage Pfaff...still works great!)

sew drop cloth letters with machine

Some sewing tips:
  • Take it slow! It's a little awkward because you're having to sew with the other side of the case attached! Before stitching, and every time you turn your fabric, just make sure you're not accidentally catching the other side!
  • I found it helpful to turn the pillowcase edges almost inside out, to keep that bottom from getting caught!
  • Remove the pins one at a time only as you get to them so the letters don't shift
  • Use a backstitch at the beginning and end to secure stitches


Step 5: Fray the edges

The beauty of drop cloth is that it frays really well. In fact, if you have a machine-washable pillow cover, you can now throw it into the wash and the agitation will do much of the work for you!

Unfortunately, when I checked my label, it said the fibers were 'undetermined'. That's not a problem, it's easy to fray by hand!

check label

The thing about drop cloth is that it can continue to fray if you don't do it all now. Not a big deal, but it's not fun to stand up from the sofa and find a long thread hanging off your leg!!

Here are some tips for fraying the edge, and YES, we want to fray right up to the stitching lines!!

fray edges
You can either use something sharp to get the fibers started, or just drag your nail across it! The 'O' was a little more difficult because of the curve, but just take your time! It will look a hot mess when you're done because you'll be left with fibers of all different lengths!

That's where the embroidery scissors come in very handy!

Step 6: Trim the edges

trim frayed edges

You can see here that I've already trimmed the X but the O needs some work!

That's it! The end result looks pretty much exactly like the inspiration, wouldn't you say?? And I saved money by making my own XO pillow!

inspiration pillow and my $10 DIY pillow
I am loving this sweet pillow everywhere I put it, but for now it's living with the other neutral pillows on my cottage daybed in the sunroom!

You aren't limited to XO and Valentines! Why not make a number pillow to represent your family, or your initial, or the year you were married? There are lots of ideas here and these would make thoughtful gifts!

cozy pillows

cottage daybed

XO pillow tutorial

I'd love to know if you're inspired to make this cute XO Valentines pillow! I'll see you back here next week with the no-sew version!

how to make XO Valentines pillow

p.s. because I know many of you will ask about that beautiful ruffled chenille throw, you can find it here 💗

bringing beauty to the ordinary,

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This blog's content is for entertainment purposes only and is not professional advice. By reading this blog and attempting to recreate any content shared on it, you assume all responsibility for any injuries or damages incurred. Read my full disclaimer here.


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  1. It is adorable and I love the throw with the ruffle. Where did you get that?

    1. Thanks Di!! You'll find a link to the throw in the p.s. of my post ;)

  2. Was wanting the XO pattern but didn’t find it in my email, or the post I sent yesterday. Did you happen to get my message? I’m new at this! Lol!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, just seeing this now. Please reply with your email and I'd be happy to send!

  3. so cute! I would love the xo pattern. Thanks a bunch!

  4. Was hoping to find a link to the "XO" pattern in your blog. Didn't see it... are you sharing via email? if you are. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Stephanie, I emailed you the templates yesterday!

  5. Can I have the link for the XO? My email is Thanks!

  6. Please send me the XO templates Thank you!

  7. I would love the XO templates!


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