Quilted Pillow Project

on April 30 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 79 Comments

Katie from Sew Katie Did teaches sewing classes and never lets a day go by without some sewing. Did you check out her introduction? Today she shares a fun, quilted pillow project on the blog… Enjoy!

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Ahhh…the gratification a small project can deliver.

Patchwork pillows are my favorite improvisational projects. There are no rules, not a huge commitment, don’t require a lot of space to create, eat up scraps, allow you to see on a small scale how fabrics interact, and lend you an opportunity to dig into fabrics you have been dying to use.

I encourage you to improvise by following these directions loosely!

Please note: Covering a pillow requires that your finished block be roughly the same dimensions as the pillow form, plus an inch. Keep this in mind though out your process. You can always cut the finished block down to size. My pillow form is 14×28 inches, so being that I like my pillow cover rather fitted in look, I cut my pillow block to a measurement of 15 by 29” in preparation for installing an invisible zipper.

All seams are pressed open and a ¼ inch seam allowance is used in patchwork construction.

So let’s make one!

Making the Pillow Block:
Fabric Selection:

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My favorite part, pick a bunch of delicious fabrics!

Prepare your strips:

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Cut a strip of each of the prints your desired width and roughly 18 inches in length. I measured 2 inches, but feel free to vary your strip widths for a more improvisational look. You will likely have leftovers.

Cut the same number of strips in the solid a width you like and 18 inches in length. Mine measure 1 ½ inches.

Display them in the order you wish to sew them, beginning with a print and ending with a solid, or vice versa.

Sew and press strips:

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Now it’s time to strip piece. Piece your strips right sides together and sew.

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Press seams open from the back as you add strips.

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Then turn and press the front of the piece. Your piece should lay nice and flat.

Cut strips:

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Trim the top edge of the sewn strips to give it an even clean edge.

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Cut across the sewn strips to produce the inserted lengths for the pillow. I cut a mix of widths. *See note below.

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*If your strips need to be a few inches longer for your pillow design, then cut and sew two strips the same width together, or sew two together and improvisationally re-cut the edges to produce a clean seaming line.

Audition your design:

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Drape your background fabric on your pillow form and audition the strips for placement. I went with a more minimalist look, but add as many strips as you like. Consider the addition of another fabric like the white flannel I used if the prints need some pop.

Cut background fabrics and sew pillow top together:
Now that I have an idea for the placement of my design I cut the background strips.

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You can improvisationally cut the strips. Keep in mind that seams will eat up some of your width with this horizontal design. Consider adding a ½ inch or more to the width of the strips. Their length should be a few inches beyond the dimensions your pillow form too.

My cuts in width are:

  • Prints strips were about 1 ½ inches and 2 ½ inches
  • White flannel strips 1 inch
  • Beige middle 2 ½ inches
  • Beige top and bottom strips about 6 inches

This should give you plenty of wiggle room for cutting down your pillow block to size.

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Start with the top background strip and sew to the next strip in your design right sides together. Press as you go. Continue in this manner until all strips are sewn together in a stacked design.

Quilting Prep:

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Cut the block down to the pillow form dimensions PLUS AN INCH in both width and length.

Time to make a quilt sandwich. Layer on a smooth surface in this order:

  • Sandwich bottom/ A piece of muslin larger than the pillow top.
  • Filling/ Batting cut the same size as muslin.
  • Sandwich top/ Pillow top, right side up.

Smooth it all out from the middle and pin/baste to hold it together while you quilt.

Quilt as desired:

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Quilt as desired.

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I liked the simplicity of a triple stitch, but choose a quilting style that suits you and your pillow.

Finishing the Pillow:
Cut sandwich to size:

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Before moving on to your choice of pillow closure, cut the muslin and batting to the finish pillow top size. I generally serge or over lock my edges to produce a professional look.

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I did the same with the fabric I choose for the back.

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Pillow finishing techniques:

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You’re almost complete! Go ahead and refine your skills by learning one of these easy pillow closure methods:

Yeah! The joy a pillow can bring. Now go make a bunch! Katie

Thanks to my friend Chara of SewClickCreate for her laughs and photographic talents! All photos used with permission of Chara Michele Photography.

Last day to enter to win win one of these fabulous prizes!::

Win one of THREE $25 Gift Certificates to Connecting Threads; Color Your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric; Win one of TWO copies of 200 Quilting Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensable Reference of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips

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79 Responses to Quilted Pillow Project

  1. There are a lot of strange comments on here. People must be using SCRAPEBOXLIST.COM

  2. Sherrisa says:

    Love the look of this pillow!

  3. raajia says:

    I love this pillow! It is very beautiful, and I love this fresh colours.
    many Thanks for sharing the how to

  4. Ramona says:

    I love the simple modern look of this pillow and a great zipper tute to boot.

  5. Aparna Mulgund says:

    How Pretty!

  6. Maureen says:

    This pillow idea will use scraps and give you a pillow to use.

  7. Ruth Tillman says:

    What a lovely project. Inspires. Love the colors.

  8. aicha says:

    Aghhh, too cute!!! I never patch-worked, but dying to try!

  9. Sheetal says:

    all of today I kept waiting for a post…just realized that quilting month is over, and no more new posts 🙁

  10. PeachRainbow says:

    It looks so beautiful, thanks for the tutorial!

  11. Rachel says:


  12. Christine says:

    Great tutorial for zippers.

  13. Marcia W. says:

    This is such a crisp, clean look! I like this pillow.

  14. Moira says:

    lovely – I’m so going to start making pillow covers now 🙂

  15. Lora says:

    Those are really cute. I love small projects, just because they are so do-able for me. I have some pillow that need new covers. Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Michelle says:

    Love how-to posts. I learn something everytime.

  17. Lisa Eichholtz says:

    What a lovely pillow!

  18. jana says:

    This is a great project!

  19. Rochelle says:

    I’ll have to put this on my to-do list. I like the invisible zipper idea, as well as the patchwork.

  20. Oh cute! Now I have to find some space to make some 😉

  21. Marcelle says:

    This would be a great project to try quilting for the first time. Hope I’ll find some time. Thanks!!

  22. Annabel says:

    This looks wonderful! I love the look of the fresh citrus colours next to the natural-looking background colour.

  23. Aniza says:

    i really like katie’s pillow!! 🙂

  24. Ethne says:

    Love it, thank you – and I can’t beleive that this quilting month is now over
    Thank you all for your gift of inspirition and guidance

  25. --ginger. says:

    You all are making me want to quilt. And I didn’t see it coming.

  26. Julia says:

    Pretty!! and looks fun to me! Thanks!!

  27. Sara says:

    I have made pillows and pillows, but none quite lovely as yours Katie!

  28. Leah says:

    Very fun and sounds freeing to just have a basic size you need to end up with with no stringent requirements on how to get there!

  29. Megan Presley says:

    You make it look so easy! I must try making a pillow soon!

  30. Cristi says:

    I can’t wait to make one!!

  31. ~Helena~ says:

    Such a nice project, Thanks for sharing the how to.

  32. Margaret says:

    Looks great, what a beautiful pillow.

  33. sharonj says:

    Great pillows and really like the tutorial with the hidden zipper. I may actually attempt it now that I have had a good lesson about putting one in! Thank you Sharonj.

  34. Rose L says:

    Such a nice, simple idea. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Munaiba says:

    That’s really fresh and modern looking. Very Spring.

  36. Carrie L says:

    This has been such a fun month. Thanks for all the ideas and inspiration!

  37. alisha says:

    So lovely.

  38. Kristy says:


  39. marg says:

    thats great and so easy must try.

  40. Melissa says:

    What a fun project!

  41. susana says:

    What a great tutorial. I love both the easy strip-piecing and the thought of using small scraps with a solid or two for great impact. Thanks!

  42. Kim S. says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Love the pillow!

  43. I AM going to go make a bunch of pillows! Thank you so much for the great tutorial Katie!

  44. Michelle Balletti says:

    I really loved the fabrics you chose. I swear, I have so many projects in my head at this moment it’s ridiculous! And my sewing machine doesn’t even work yet! Hopefully I will get a new one for Mother’s Day!! Thanks for the tutorial, it was great!

  45. What a nice pillow!

  46. Cheryl says:

    I like this idea, as I always liked different pillowcases. I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks

  47. Katrina H says:

    Great fabric choices! I love this project, thank you.

  48. val miller says:

    I love this pillow!!!! It is beautiful.

  49. Mary says:

    Such a cool project! I’m a garment sewist, and have been wanting to branch out into a quiltingish project, and I think I just found it!

  50. Jeni says:

    Very cute project!

  51. Debbie Bishop says:

    Great pillow, and thank you for the tutorial!

  52. Salma says:

    wow! It looks fantastic! Better than I would have imagined. I will definately give it a try but might use ‘cathedral Window’ patches.

  53. Great tutorial. I’m itching to get started.

  54. Rebecca says:

    Very nice!

  55. Tracy T. says:

    I’m a big fan of this color scheme – my last (finished) quilt shared those lovely blues, aquas and greens. Beautiful work!

  56. Kate says:

    Every year at work we have a “creative fair” as a Relay for Life fundraiser. This gives me a great idea for a project…a pile of fun pillows! Wonderful tutorial.

  57. Morgan says:

    Ooh great ideas. I’m gearing up for a living room re-decoration (well, just pillows) and this will help!

  58. Fawn says:

    Thanks for posting this! In high school, my friend Kim and I cut 4X4″ squares and made best friends pillows using a mix of our fabrics:) The front I did crazy quilt style and we each did a doily envelope place where we placed letters to each other to be read 5 yrs down the road (after we each finished college). It was a great project, finished up quickly; and to this day, that pillow sits on my loveseat. The letter has long since been read, reread, and eventually tossed but the pillow still sits beautifully:)

  59. qsogirl says:

    Very pretty. You make it look so easy!

  60. Megan says:

    Saw this pillow on her blog and immediately put it on my “to make” list. My list is getting very very long.

  61. Katie says:

    So cute! I’m loooooving that fabric!

  62. bruinbr says:

    What a fun and adorable project! Thanks for the tutorial!

  63. amy says:

    Love it!

  64. Pepie says:

    this is a very great tutorial.

    thanks for sharing it :).

  65. H30mel says:

    LOVE this website, April has been so inspiration. Too many projects, not enough time.

  66. shayne says:

    very nice. last weekend I took my daughter to a 4H sewing day and we(she) did a quilt as you go quilted pillow. Because the even was put on by my Mom I was able to snag a kit for myself and will be getting to it this weekend

  67. Chris says:

    What a fun project. Thank you for sharing!

  68. Becca says:

    I love it! I want to make one right now!!

  69. I love it. I am totally making one of them.

  70. Tong says:

    Great tutorial, and the pillow is lovely! Thank you!

  71. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for sharing, Katie. This looks like fun!

  72. katie says:

    This is beautiful!

  73. Upstatelisa says:

    Beautiful pillow! I love the strips!

  74. Andi says:

    The finished pillow looks great! Hmm…maybe the family room could use some new pillows…..

  75. Krista says:

    Very cute. I have gotten so many UFOs done thanks to quilting month that I have time AND scraps to do a pillow. yay!

  76. Thanks for the invisible zipper tutorial!!

  77. Krystina says:

    That is really pretty! I love quick projects like pillow cases.

  78. Andi says:

    Cute! I love it. I need to make some pillows for my sofa.

  79. Lauree Myler says:

    what fabric line is this? i love it… thanks for the inspiration and how to!

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