Little Apples Pillow Tutorial

on September 1 | in Products, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 27 Comments

Thomas from Thomas Knauer Sews designed this pillow to feature Aneela Hoey’s new Little Apples fabric collection (coming soon!). Thomas has his own fabric due soon too; check out Pear Tree, and more here! Learn more about Thomas in his introduction, and don’t forget his fun Teapot Trivet tutorial with embroidery designs you can download and enjoy.

Hi, all! This is a fun little pillow I whipped up with some of the Little Apples I brought back from Spring Quilt Market. Actually, I designed this on my flight back from Salt Lake City because I was just so excited to play with Aneela’s fantastic fabric! It is great if you’re just picking up fat eights since it doesn’t require too much of any one print; though it can be modified easily to use more of just a single print in each color.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Red
(I used SKUs: 18510, 18511, 18514– Can all be cut from any one of these.)
4 @ 1.25″ x 1.25″
3 @ 2″ x 2″
6 @ 3.5″ x 3.5″

Green
(I used SKUs: 18510, 18511, 18514– Can all be cut from any one of these.)
4 @ 1.25″ x 1.25″
3 @ 2″ x 2″
6 @ 3.5″ x 3.5″

Blue
(I used SKUs: 18510, 18511, 18514– Can all be cut from any one of these.)
4 @ 1.25″ x 1.25″
3 @ 2″ x 2″
6 @ 3.5″ x 3.5″

Grey
(I used SKUs: 18510, 18511, 18514– Can all be cut from any one of these.)
4 @ 1.25″ x 1.25″
3 @ 2″ x 2″
6 @ 3.5″ x 3.5″

White
(I used SKU: 18513)
8 @ 3.5″ x 3.5″

Backing
Kona Coal – 2 @ 18″ x 13″

Trim
80″ of red medium pom-pom trim

Here is the overall guide. It is essentially four of the same block done in different organizations with each block turned 90 degrees. Here you can see the basic design:

And here you can see each of the blocks separated out. This also makes a nice variant with one-inch white sashing strips between the blocks, which makes the finished pillow 18.5″ instead of 17.5 inches. I think it looks good either way actually.

Step A:
Take three red 1.25″ squares and one grey 1.25″ square and arrange them as seen below. Using a 1/4″ seam sew 1 & 2 together, and 3 & 4 together. Press the seam of 1 & 2 to the left and 3 & 4 to the right (or vice-versa, I just like alternating directions to help get my seams to fit together nicely). Then sew 1 & 2 to 3 & 4, being careful to match your seams up, and press the seam.

Step B:
Take the unit you made in Step A (Unit A), two of your grey 2″ squares, and one red 2″ square, and lay them out as shown below. Sew 1 & 2 together, and 3 & 4 together. Again press the seams in opposite directions. Sew 1 & 2 to 3 & 4, being careful to match your seams up, and press the seam.

Step C:
Take the unit you made in Step B (Unit B), two of your red 3.5″ squares, and one green 3.5″ square, and lay them out as shown below. Sew 1 & 2 together, and 3 & 4 together. Again press the seams in opposite directions. Sew 1 & 2 to 3 & 4, being careful to match your seams up, and press the seam.

Step D:
Take the unit you made in Step C (Unit C), three grey 3.5″ squares, and two 3.5″ white squares, and lay them out as shown below. Sew 1 & 2 together, pressing the seam in the opposite direction of the corresponding C Unit seam). Sew 1 & 2 to 3, making sure the seam matches up, and press the seam. Sew 4, 5, & 6 together, and press the seams in the opposite direction of the corresponding seams in unit you just sewed together (1, 2, 3). Sew 4, 5, & 6 to 1, 2, & 3, again making sure your seams match up. Press your seams and there you go.

Step E:
Repeat this process for the other three blocks using the appropriate colors as seen in the pattern above.

Step F:
Sew together your blocks, taking care to get the seams all lined up, which gets a bit tricky near the center.

Quilting:
You can either quilt the pillow top (as I did) or not; it looks great either way. I went with simple diagonals every six inches.

Step G:
Lay the pillow top face up on your cutting surface. Lay a 20″ section of pom-pom trim along one side and pin in place with the pom-pons facing in. Carefully sew the trim in to the pillow top as close to the edge as possible. Trim the excess making sure there are no pom-poms directly over the corner– These will making stitching the backing on more difficult. Repeat for all four edges.

Step H:
Hem (about a 1/4″ hem) both pieces of backing on one side, making sure to hem along an 18″ side not on of the 13″ sides. Lay the two pieces of backing over the pillow top (still face up with trim attached) with the folded side up as shown below. (The folded side shows the folds you hemmed; you want the flat side facing the pillow top because that is what will show when the pillow is turned right side out.)

Pin all the way around the pillow and stitch the backing to the pillow top using a 1/4″ seam. Turn the pillow inside out and insert an 18″ pillow form.

Voila! You’re done. If you have any little ones around this pillow is sure to be a hit. My wee one, Bee, carries it around with her proclaiming, “I love it!” but I am entirely sure that is because of Aneela’s amazing designs.

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27 Responses to Little Apples Pillow Tutorial

  1. amy dame says:

    this is such a fantastic design, i love it! i’m picturing it in solids or tone on tone prints, to really showcase the clever blocks! (i love the little apples line, but it’s distracting!)

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Love this pattern, and it looks fabulous with the Little Apples line.

  3. WandaFish says:

    What a great and clear tute, Thomas, thank you! I’m going to check out how to make my charm pack work for this :)

  4. Beth T says:

    What a fantastic diagram! Thank you so much for this. It’s great to find a way to showcase favorite prints without having to buy too much of them.

  5. Louise says:

    i am really into making cushions and i love this! none of mine are anywhere near as good as this though! i have a brand new blog and it’s pretty rubbish at the mo but i’m going to upload some cushion pictures and things soon.
    love love this, gonna have to try it!

  6. Tammy says:

    Just wanted to say that I just made a tie-top beanie hat (http://sewmamasew.com/2011/04/free-tie-top-beanie-pattern-jen-from-tie-dye-diva/) and it was such a quick, fun project! Thanks for the free pattern! :)

  7. Betsy M says:

    Ok, I have never attempted to quilt something like this but this pillow is so cute and the instructions look so clear that I am going to give it a chance. Thanks!!

  8. Jayne says:

    Love the pillow! The design would be great with just about any fabric!

  9. Kirsten N says:

    Great design and it loos lovely in these fabrics!

  10. Katrina H says:

    I love the pom poms! And of course the patchwork is cute!

  11. I LOVE the pom-poms!

  12. Jacque says:

    Love this tutorial…thanks for investing your time to show us a great design!

  13. Debbie says:

    Lovely pillow and great tutorial, thank you.

  14. Erin says:

    This is so cute and a great “small” project for me. I have not jumped into the quilting world yet but this might have to be my introduction. I can just see these pillows on my little girl’s bed. I too love Little Apples and can’t wait for it to come out just in time for some fall projects.
    Thanks for a great tutorial and the hard work you put into it. It is greatly appreciated!
    Erin

  15. Aletta says:

    This is so lovely! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I’ll have to put it on my to-do-list.

  16. Sarah says:

    Ahhh the cuteness! I look forward to making this! Thankyou for designing it.
    Sarah

  17. KeriCan says:

    The colors are amazing! I know when I’m ready to try quilting, it’ll be a small project first – this pillow would be perfect. Bookmarking . . .

  18. Ramona says:

    I have seen this fabric in person and it is just adorable. I may have to go back and buy some.

  19. gillian says:

    love the tutorial and i especially the diagrams. it’s so much easier to figure it out once it’s deconstructed like that. thanks!

  20. BeccaMcK says:

    I think this is way over my sewing level but very pretty. And I snuck a peak at your upcoming fabric. SOOOOO Pretty. You used all my favorite colors!

  21. krystina says:

    Thank you for this! The instructions are so clear I just may find the courage to take it on!

  22. Sharon T says:

    Thank you for the pillow tut. I plan on trying it soon. Your blog is a daily stop for me!

  23. Valerie says:

    Love the pom pom fringe! The pattern has a lot of visual interest. Thanks for the tutorial!

  24. Suzanne says:

    This is a great tutorial. I really like the graphic illustrations. Thank you!

  25. Very nice pillow. I am glad to see the smallest pieces aren’t smaller then 1 1/2″. I don’t usually do smaller then that unless I am paper piecing. I am starting to really like that fabric. I have seen it quite a few times now and it is starting to grow on me. I wasn’t sure how I would use it, but I have a better idea now.

    Thank you

  26. jen says:

    gorgeous pillow! I’m not brave enough to try this level of quilting yet – but I love it!

  27. Rebecca says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! was thinking I needed some quilted pillows to welcome cozy weather in our LR and these look like just the ticket!

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