The Maltese cross is a beautiful fabric accent at the top of pleats or horns in swaged or pleated window valances, or used to dress up tiebacks.  The usual size is about 6 to 8 inches across with a covered button in the center.  This version is mini-size, only 3 inches across and perfect for a pillow decoration as shown here, in the center of  a tufted pillow or on the ends of bolsters.

The instructions below are for one large rectangular pillow, but you can adjust for a square or rectangular pillow or pillow sham.  I used Phoomph for fabric to make the crosses.  Phoomph is a double sided adhesive sheet specifically made to be used with fabric for no-sew projects.  I used the soft version of phoomph for more flexibility.  Because of the small size of the crosses, traditional sewing and turning would be very difficult.  Phoomph worked great!


Make a pattern for the mini-Maltese cross by drawing a 4 inch square and dividing into four sections from corner to corner. Draw a leaf shape 1-1/2 inches at the widest point along one line, then copy this for the other three lines.


Cut out your pattern. You can adjust the size as needed.


Cut 6 inch circles of fabric for the Maltese crosses. I used burgundy velvet for one side, and copper color faux suede for the other side. The velvet will be the “outside” of the crosses. Cut three circles of Phoomph (adhesive stiffener) 5 inches, and cut a 3/4 inch hole in the middle


Peel the paper backing off one side of the phoomph circle and stick to one of the fabric circles, centering it on the back side.


Peel the paper backing off the other side of the phoomph circle and smooth the other fabric circle over the sticky surface.


Draw the cross pattern on one side of the fabric-phoomph circle.


Cut out the cross and cut a small hole in the center. Note that the very tips of the cross, and the center do not have phoomph. This allows for hand stitching in the next steps; you can’t sew phoomph.


Fold over each point of the cross to the center and hand stitch with a needle and thread. Now you can see the pretty Maltese cross shape!


To make the pillow, cut fabric for the center and side pieces. This pillow was divided into thirds, but you can adjust the proportions for your pillow and fabric combination. The center section should be at least 7 inches wide. Sew the fabrics together and press the seams to one side.


I like to add lining to pieced pillows, especially when different weight fabrics are being used like this linen and velvet. After the lining is cut, pin together and serge the edges.


Sew one Maltese cross in the center of the middle section on the pillow front. Sew through the front to the back, including a button in the stitching. The hole that was cut in the phoomph allows for stitching to the pillow fabric.


Sew on the other two crosses above, and below the first cross.


Place the fabric for the pillow back over the pillow front, face to face. Pin in place leaving the bottom unpinned for sewing-in the zipper.


Prepare the invisible zipper by pressing the teeth flat.


Sew the invisible zipper to the bottom edge using a zipper foot. Continue sewing around the other three edges – completing the pillow.


Turn the pillow cover rights sides out, insert the pillow form and zip closed.


The finished pillow with beautiful mini-Maltese cross accents on the front.


This style of pillow is perfect as an accent on a sofa, or as part of a bedding ensemble. Imagine how different and beautiful it would be with solid, or print fabrics in other colors!



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  1. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors at Nov 13, 2013 10:24:26

    Susan, the pillow is beautiful! Thanks for a great tutorial!

  2. Rosa Harvan at Nov 14, 2013 12:31:16

    Susan, great job. The pillow turned out beautiful

  3. JoEllen Reinwart at Nov 14, 2013 01:57:30

    Beautiful, Susan, and so simple with the poomph! Since it is cut all in ine piece there is no problem getting them all perfectly sized. Lovely, as always, thanks for sharing.

  4. Ruth Zahler at Nov 21, 2013 11:37:28

    Very, nice work. I love the product phoomph used to make the maltese cross. I’ll have to experiment with this product a bit.

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