Sherri from Thread Riding Hood designed a Quilted Fabric Tray, Scalloped Edge Basket and this pretty Insulated Lunch Sack (perfect for back-to-school season!). She’s back with an easy, Mod 18″ Quilted Pillow, perfect for showing off your favorite fabrics and sprucing up your home for fall. It’s a quick project, perfect if you’re just starting out as a quilter.
This modern quilted pillow is great for beginner quilters. It only has 16 pieces and no matching points. It is also good for showcasing a great collection of fabric because of its large pieces. As a bonus, this simple tutorial comes together quickly, so you can have a matching set in one afternoon!
When I received this six fabric set from Warp & Weft I was so excited! The Parson Gray Empire collection is truly beautiful. I love the hand drawn quality of the prints, and the nods to ancient weaving and architecture. They also have a masculine feel to them– perfect when sewing for the men in your life. The neutral palette fits in almost anywhere, especially great for my “gray-loving” self!
This tutorial will show you how to make a well fitting 18” pillow cover with an envelope back. It also covers how to piece diagonal lines together correctly, so the blocks create a straight row after they are stitched together. It’s actually a really simple technique; I know you can do it!
- Quilting Cotton – Front: 6 pieces of fabric 12” square
- Quilting Cotton – Back: 1 piece 18” wide x 12” high (envelope top), 1 piece 18” wide x 11” high (envelope bottom)
- Batting – one piece 18.5” x 18.5”
- Muslin – one piece 18.5” x 18.5” (I used a random piece of broadcloth)
- Matching Thread, for sewing
- Matching Thread, for quilting
- 18” Pillow Form
- Basting Spray OR Pins
- Ruler, Removable Fabric/Hera Marker, your other usual sewing supplies
- Walking Foot (helpful when quilting)
- Pillow Template
Printing the Pattern Pieces:
Print the one page template PDF on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Make sure scaling is set to “None” or “Actual Size” when printing. Once you have printed the page, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.
Prep + Cutting:
Since I like a puffy pillow, this tutorial will create a pillow top that is 18” square before sewing the outside seam. If you like a loosely stuffed pillow, just add a thin 1” or 2” border around the top once it is finished, and before it is quilted. You will need to factor in the extra fabric for the border, plus extra batting, muslin and backing.
Prewash your fabric if desired and press well.
Cut two “blocks” from each of your six fabrics using the template. Pay attention to the direction of your fabric print and cut accordingly. Fussy cutting is nice, to create some symmetry in your final blocks. Use the layout photo below to plan your cutting.
Be sure you also cut the two envelope back pieces, the batting and the muslin to the sizing indicated in the materials list.
Please note: I photographed two different pillows during this tutorial and so you may notice that the six different fabrics do not have the same placement in each photo. This will not affect the construction of the pillow.
Prepare the Quilted Pillow Top:
Step 1: Arrange your cut fabric blocks as indicated in the layout photo below. You will make two rows with six blocks each. Row 1 is on the top and Row 2 is on the bottom. Move the blocks around until you like their placement. I used one of each fabric in each row.
Step 2: Piece each row together along the diagonal edges using a ¼” seam. To do this correctly, you will need to offset each corner when you line up your edges. Instead of matching the points/corners of your blocks, you will need to match the edges along the seam-line where they will be sewn, ¼” in from each edge.
Step 3: Mark three places along the bottom of the top row, so you have the placement for the bottom row. First, measure 1 1/8” to the left of the 1st seam (1), then mark the center of the other two blocks marked in the photo (2) and (3).
Step 4: Place the bottom row right sides together with the top row. Match the top edge of Row 2 (bottom) with the bottom edge of Row 1 (top). Row 2 will start at your first pin mark (1) and there will be a seam-line from row 2 that will align itself with marks (2) and (3) on Row 1. Take a look at the photo as this makes more sense when you see it. The second photo has the fabrics side by side so you can see where they join; please make sure to place your fabrics right sides together, this is for reference only.
Step 5: Pin well and stitch the rows together with a ¼” seam. Press the seam open.
Step 6: Referencing the photo below, trim the sides of the rows so that the pillow top is rectangular. It will be approximately 18.25” high by 18.5” wide once it is trimmed.
Step 7: Place your muslin on a flat surface, right side down. Place the batting on top of it, matching edges. Place the pillow top right side up on the batting. This is your quilt sandwich.
Step 8: Pin well, or spray baste the fabrics together.
Step 9: Quilt as desired. I quilted 3/8” on either side of each seam for this pillow top. The other pillow is straight line quilted every ½” or so. Set aside.
Prepare the Envelope Back + Finish the Pillow:
Step 10: Hem the bottom of the 12” high envelope back and the top of the 11” high envelope back piece. I folded the edge under ¼” once and pressed it. Then ¼” again, pressing well. Stitch along each fold close to the inner edge.
Step 11: Place the pillow top right side up on a flat surface. Lay the 12” high envelope back fabric right side down on the pillow top, aligning the raw edges. The hemmed edge will be at the bottom. Next, place the 11” high envelope back fabric right side down on top. Align the raw edges with the pillow top again, making sure the hemmed edge is at the top.
Step 12: Pin around the edge of the pillow top and envelope back sandwich. I like to pin 3” in from each corner. These pins remind me to increase my seam allowance at the corners to make the pillow corners less pointy. I learned this trick this from Anna of Noodlehead in one of her tutorials.
Step 13: Stitch around the entire edge of the pillow with a 3/8” seam. Increase the seam to 5/8” or even ¾” at the corners, then work your way back to a 3/8” seam before the next “reminder” pin.
Step 14: Clip each pillow corner. I like to take a long triangle, to reduce lots of bulk at the corners.
Step 15: Turn your pillow, pressing it so the edges lay nicely, and place your pillow form inside.
You are finished. Enjoy your new pillow!
This post is sponsored by Warp & Weft, a Canadian-based company featuring exquisite 100% woven cotton fabrics; they are passionate about textile and design. Warp & Weft goes to great lengths to find prints that are not only of exceptional beauty and quality but that have a compelling story to tell.