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.
- 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 plastic (makes it easier, but not necessary)
- Hand quilting thread (Pearle Cotton No.8)
- Other general sewing supplies: rotary cutter, pins, sewing machine, etc.
(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.
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