Birdcage Pillow Pattern

on February 16 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 97 Comments

Rebecca from Chasing Cottons shares her lovely Birdcage Pillow Pattern today. She makes curved seams look easy! Learn more about Rebecca in her introduction where you can also see two of her beautiful quilts.

From Rebecca: Thank you Sew,Mama,Sew! for having me today! I am very excited about this tutorial. It is my first pillow tutorial… I’m a quilt girl; I can’t get enough of them! But I secretly found making this pillow so enjoyable. It’s a quick, easy project. Instant gratification! I have had this birdcage block buzzing around in my head for a few months now and had plans for a quilt pattern, but I’m excited to turn it into a pillow. It has a few curved blocks… Don’t be scared! They are easy once you know how to pin properly. I can teach you how so you can experiment with all sorts of curved designs in the future. So… My 20″ x 20″ Bird Cage Pillow tutorial, for you:

Choose four contrasting fabrics for your Birdcage Pillow. For all of my sewing I use the standard 1/4″ seam allowance.

You need:

  • 9.5″ Background fabric (Echino Woodcut flowers in Eggplant)
  • 7″ Birdcage fabric (100% Linen)
  • 2 1/2″ Birdcage trim (Kona cotton)
  • 18 1/2″ Door and backing fabric (Echino Woodcut flowers in Natural)
  • 22″ x 22″ Square of muslin or scrap fabric
  • 22″ x 22″ Batting
  • Template
  • Template plastic (makes it easier, but not necessary)
  • Hand quilting thread (Pearle Cotton No.8)
  • Other general sewing supplies: rotary cutter, pins, sewing machine, etc.

Cutting
(Note: When cutting, cut strips selvedge to selvedge.)

From your background fabric (Mine is Echino Eggplant.):

  • Cut one strip 4 1/2″ wide. Cross cut, to give you 2 pieces each measuring 4 1/2″ x 20 1/2″.
  • Cut one strip 1 1/2″ wide. Cross cut, to give you 2 pieces each measuring 1 1/2″ x 12 1/2″.
  • Cut one strip 3 1/2″ wide. Cross cut, to give you 6 squares each measuring, 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

From your birdcage fabric (Linen):

  • Cut one strip, 3 1/2″ wide. Cross cut, to give you 4 Squares 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and one piece measuring 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.
  • Cut one strip 4 1/2″ wide. Cross cut, to give you one piece 4 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and 2 pieces measuring 4 1/2″ x 9 1/2″.

Door and backing fabric (Echino Natural):

  • Cut one piece 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
  • Cut one strip 14″ wide. Cross cut, to give you two pieces each measuring 14″ x 20 1/2″.

Birdcage trim fabric (Blue Kona Cotton):

  • Cut one strip, 2 1/2″ wide, Cross cut to give you one piece measuring 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. Use left over piece and trim down to give you one piece measuring 1 1/2″ x 12 1/2″.

To make your plastic templates: Lay your template plastic over the printed templates A and B. Trace them with a fine tip permanent marker and cut out. You can print your PDF here. Your template includes seam allowance.

Take 2 – 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ squares from background fabric and 2 – 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ squares from your birdcage fabric. Lay your template (A) over the block, trace around the curve and cut on the curved line.

Take 2 – 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ squares from background fabric and 2 – 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ squares from your birdcage fabric. Trace template (B) and cut around curve.

Lay all cut pieces out to form your birdcage block.

Sewing your pillow top together:
We’ll start with the curved blocks. This is easy– Just go slow! Take your cut pieces from your Template A and B and match together in pairs.

Fold each piece in half and pinch the center of the curve with your fingers. This will crease in the center and show you where you match up your curved pieces.

With right sides together, match up the creases and put a pin in this place.

Next, begin pinning around the curve following the picture below. Place your pins in order 1-9. This will evenly stretch both curves to match.

Starting with a small stitch length slowly stitch around the curve 1/4″ in from the edge. (My Bernina likes a 2.)

Repeat with remaining three curved pairs. Press.

Lay out all your pillow top pieces again. Following picture below and starting at the top with your squares and curved blocks, sew these square blocks together from left to right to form rows. Press.

Next, sew these two rows together. Match seam lines up accurately by placing a pin through adjoining seams. Press. Take your background fabric strip measuring 1 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ and sew onto top of these rows. Take your birdcage trim piece measuring 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ and sew onto bottom.

You now have the top of your birdcage done.

Take birdcage fabric piece 4 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and door fabric piece 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. Sew together.

Take two birdcage fabric pieces measuring 4 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ . Sew onto either side of the center piece.

Take your birdcage trim piece measuring 1 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ and sew across bottom of block. With right sides together, sew this bottom half of your birdcage block to your top half of the birdcage block.

Next, take your background fabric strip measuring 1 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. Sew onto bottom of block. Your center panel piece of your block is complete… Nearly finished!

Take your two pieces of background fabric each measuring 4 1/2″ x 20 1/2″ and sew onto the sides. Your Birdcage Pillow Top is complete!

On a flat surface, lay your muslin down. Next, lay your batting piece on top of your muslin and lay your pillow top on your batting. Pin through the three layers to form a little quilt sandwich.

Once pinned, take a quilter’s water soluble marker to draw quilting lines on your birdcage block.

For my pillow, I chose to hand quilt lines from the top of the birdcage down through to the bottom. Spacing the lines evenly, I wanted them to look like cage lines. I did a decorative design on the birdcage trims and hand quilted around the door.

Take your two large backing pieces each measuring 14′ x 20 1/2″. Julie has a great Pillow Basics tutorial to make an envelope back to finish off your pillow.

I hope you enjoyed making your Birdcage Pillow. I would LOVE to see any pictures of your finished pillows, and show them off on my blog. xx

Enter our Pillow Contest! Create a pillow this month and enter to win some fabulous prizes.

You can also comment on any post this week for your chance to win one of these great prizes below, courtesy of Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

1 fat quarter pack of Betty Dear, 5 Kona Cotton color cards, 1 fat quarter pack of Night & Day in the Summer Colorstory, 10 sets of 5 Kona charm packs

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97 Responses to Birdcage Pillow Pattern

  1. Brenda C. says:

    This is too cool! love, love, love it!!!!!!

  2. catherine says:

    such a gorgeous cushion, and a well written tutorial – thank you!

  3. amy dame says:

    this is so gorgeous! the quilting is totally what makes it look so perfect!

  4. Diane S. says:

    This is an absolutely gorgeous pillow- I am loving your tutorials!

  5. Zena says:

    Wow, gorgeous pillow and fantastic tutorial, thanks!

  6. Yippy! A tutorial. :)

  7. Rachel Locke says:

    Curves have always terrified me a bit, but this tutorial makes them look manageble.
    Thanks for the great inspiration.

  8. Wow. Gorgeous pillow. Love it and love the tutorial on curves.

  9. Mary Anne Fl. says:

    Love the abundance of photos – I may actually be able to make the curved blocks with this tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Tanya says:

    What a sweet pillow!

  11. Jen says:

    I’m still a beginner, so have not yet quilted anything–ever. But Sew, Mama, Sew is making me more brave every day. Thanks for posting this adorable pillow. I want to give it a shot.

  12. Barb in MI says:

    Beautiful – thanks for the tut!

  13. Alison says:

    Very clear tutorial, thanks!

  14. alisha says:

    This is so lovely. And a great way to practice sewing curved blocks.

  15. Rita Engard says:

    What a great tutorial and such a pretty pillow

  16. Kelli says:

    What a fun pillow!

  17. Ms. Fine says:

    Love it. That is so creative.

  18. Maya says:

    Great pillow & tutorial!

  19. patricia says:

    How can I thank you? This is a super pillow and a super tutorial.

  20. Carissa says:

    This is such a cute idea! It looks fun to make.

  21. Joy says:

    I love this pillow! Thanks for the tutorial…I can’t wait to try it.

  22. Colette says:

    You had me at “Echino”! This is a fabulous pillow and would also make a fantastic mini quilt!

  23. Becky t says:

    I so love this

  24. Linda says:

    This is a great pattern, really creative!

  25. Paulina says:

    Great pattern!

  26. What a beautiful pillow –I could have sworn it was made using applique at first. I don’t quilt much with curved edges, but this little pillow of yours is opening my eyes to a world of new ideas. Thank you so much. Really, it’s lovely.

  27. Karen says:

    Another greta tut!

  28. Beth T says:

    Rebecca’s patient, detailed tutorial is a perfect fit for Sew, Mama, Sew. Thanks so much!

  29. Rebecca says:

    really cute.

  30. Jens says:

    Cute pillow, I like the way you combine the curved seams and the circled background.

  31. stacey says:

    so beautiful!

  32. Ann says:

    This is a great tutorial and a fun pillow.

  33. Jackie says:

    Love this, can’t wait to try and make it!

  34. Maureen says:

    Cute design. The curved piecing looks fun.

  35. SewLindaAnn says:

    I keep thinking the last pillow is my favorite until I see the next one. I love this one, love it!

  36. Kate F. says:

    The fussy cut bird print was just perfect!

  37. Dawn S. says:

    Cute! I have birdie fabric that would be perfect for this!!

  38. robin says:

    How cute!!!! I may have to give this pillow a try!

  39. Sarah says:

    Lovely. How do you make it look so easy? It’s really beautiful!

  40. Summer says:

    Such an adorable pillow and great tutorial! Can’t wait to check out your blog.

  41. Elaine says:

    What a great pillow! I can’t wait to make it!

  42. Ramona says:

    Just love it!

  43. so cute, Love the background fabric too.

  44. Em says:

    Beautiful work! I haven’t tried sewing curves like that yet – I didn’t know how to begin. This is wonderful! Thanks!

  45. delia says:

    What a cute pillow! I have a thing for birds and quilting fabric.

  46. VickiT says:

    Oh my gosh ~ What an adorable pillow. GREAT JOB! I predict we’ll be seeing many of your pillows around soon. It’s just super cute. And because I do machine embroidery also, I can totally see me embroidering a little bird inside the entry to the birdcage. Oh gosh, my mind is already thinking about this one. Thank you so much.

  47. Robyn says:

    best pillow yet, I cannot wait to make this!

  48. Kate Conklin says:

    Fantastic tutorial Becky! Your pillow looks wonderful, and that was such a thorough explanation of sewing curves. You’re a super star!

  49. Stephanie S says:

    What a cute idea!

  50. Wendy D. P. says:

    So cute!

  51. Heidi Anderson says:

    This may be my favorite yet! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  52. Kasey says:

    What a cool pillow! Thanks for showing us how to make one of our own.

  53. Jacqueline says:

    I love the pattern on the back panels.

  54. Marcia W. says:

    Awesome pillow – love the birdcage

  55. Kirsten N says:

    Gorgeous pillow!!! And your tutorial is great – I tried sewing curves the other day and wish I had read your info then :)

  56. linda says:

    Definitely a cool design!

  57. Crystal says:

    An excellent tutorial!! The project is adorable.

  58. Kimberly says:

    Gorgeous! I’d really love to try this.

  59. Andi says:

    This does make curved seams seem easy – thanks for the great tutorial!

  60. Christine says:

    I like the pillow. Cute bird.

  61. pam says:

    OH GOSH! That is just the cutest ever. Love the clever use of the drunkard’s path blocks.. Genius!

  62. Kelly says:

    clever!

  63. kathyh says:

    Cute Birdie.

  64. CJ says:

    What an adorable pillow! Thanks so much for the tutorial. :)

  65. Joanne says:

    Very cute and original idea!

  66. So sweet. I love the curves!

  67. Brenda says:

    How creative!

  68. Rebmara says:

    Thanks a lot for the explanation of sewing curves!

  69. Coleen Hauth says:

    Am I the only weirdo out there who started doing lines from “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams when I saw the title??

    I do love the pillow though!

  70. Rebecca says:

    Love the tutorial on sewing curves! They have always intimidated me no end.

  71. jm says:

    Very cute!

  72. Kaye Prince says:

    This is just beautiful darling! You did a fantastic job!

  73. Melissa says:

    I love this design! And you are so sweet to write the pattern for us. I can’t wait to give it a try! :)

  74. Really sweet pillow – Thanks for the tutorial!

  75. Jackie says:

    Lovely pillow, it’s a must try…Great explanation for the curves, Thanks!

  76. Sherry J says:

    Awesome pillow and great tute, thanks so much.

  77. Now that is a brilliant use of curves!!! I LOVE this design and your quilting ideas with the pearl cotton are perfect, too. Thanks so much for sharing this. I never would have tried tiny curves with linen!

  78. Valerie H says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of pieces, but a really helpful hint. Thanks!

  79. Julie Pettit says:

    Clever idea and very cute pillow.

  80. Jessica says:

    I love this!!!

  81. Jennifer says:

    This is SO cute! Thanks for the tutorial and tips on sewing curves.

  82. Lynda says:

    So beautiful! Thanks for the idea :)

  83. Tong says:

    great use of the fabrics!

  84. Sara says:

    This kind of project is why I LOVE pins! Thanks for sharing!

  85. Desirée says:

    sorrie i mean afcourse bird… ;-)

  86. Desirée says:

    wowie, it is great! i only miss a big birth! ;-)

  87. Joanna says:

    Super cute! I’m terrified of curves (they always end up…well…not curved) but I think I may have to try this one out!

  88. mn2nm says:

    Great tutorial – adorable pillow, Rebecca!

  89. Rebecca says:

    LOVE this! SO SWEET!

  90. Sarah McGrath says:

    Oh how gorgeous!

  91. Laura Reich says:

    Oh wow, that is really impressive.

  92. Elizabethdx says:

    Thank you, Rebecca, for the great lesson on sewing curves. I’ve been eyeing the Curlicue Crush pattern since I found your blog (on the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day) and maybe this pillow will teach me the skills to tackle that beautiful pattern.

  93. susan h says:

    never done curves before – this is encouraging!

  94. Anya says:

    Cute! thanks!

  95. Jacque says:

    Wow! I love how clearly you explain and photograph the curved pieces! I think I can do this!
    Thanks for a great pattern – loving the fabrics you chose, too!

  96. Vanessa says:

    It really seems easy to sew the curves!

  97. Debbie says:

    wonderful explanation/pic of sewing curves. thanks!

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