Gradient Pillow Tutorial

on December 18 | in Quilting, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 7 Comments

Christina Cameli from A Few Scraps fell in love with quilting as a folk art more than a decade ago. She loves showing people the freedom they have to create what they want with fabric and thread, and Christina has a special interest in spreading the joy of free-motion quilting. She is the author of First Steps to Free Motion Quilting and Step-by-Step Free-Motion Quilting. Christina works as a nurse-midwife in Portland, Oregon where she lives with her husband and little ones.

Christina’s latest is a new Craftsy class, Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting! Christina guides you each step of the way through a wide variety of quilting designs, perfect for both modern and traditional quilting. Class feedback has been overwhelming positive, and participants love how accessible Christina makes it for everyone to learn and master new motifs and techniques.

Christina has an easy Gradient Pillow tutorial that lets you practice and feature your free-motion quilting skills. For more don’t miss her Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting class!


Tell a story in color and stitches with these simple pillows designed to feature free-motion quilting designs.

Finished size: 16” x 16”

Fabric Requirements:

  • Fabric A: 8” x 8” square or 1/4 yard
  • Fabric B and C: 1/8 yard
  • Fabric D: 1/4 yard
  • Muslin: 20” x 20″
  • Batting: 20” x 20”
  • Pillow back fabric: 1/2 yard
  • 16” pillow form (less fluffy is better to avoid distortion of the square)

Cutting Instructions:
From Fabric A:
– Cut one 8” x 8” center square.

From Fabric B:
– Cut one 2” strip across the width of fabric.
– Subcut this strip into two pieces 2” x 8” and two pieces 2” x 11”.

From Fabric C:
– Cut two 2” strips across the width of fabric.
– Subcut these strips into two pieces 2” x 11” and two pieces 2” x 14”.

From Fabric D:
– Cut two 2” strips across the width of fabric.
– Subcut these strips into two pieces 2” x 14” and two pieces 2” x 17”.
– Cut two 2 1/4” strips across the width of fabric for binding.

From Backing Fabric:
– Cut two pieces 12 1/2” x 16 1/2”.

Assemble Pillow Top:
The pillow is assembled outward from the center, with all Fabric B strips used, then Fabric C and Fabric D. Make sure to keep your seam allowance a consistent 1/4” throughout the strip, avoiding drift at the beginning and ends of the strip. After each round, trim the edges of your piece as necessary to keep the piece square.

Attach the 8” strips of Fabric B to the top and bottom of the center square. Press.

Attach the 11” strips of Fabric B to the sides of the piece. Press. Square up the piece as needed.

Attach the 11” strips of Fabric C to the top and bottom of the piece. Press.

Attach the 14” strips of Fabric C to the sides of the piece. Press. Square up the piece as needed.

Attach the 14” strips of Fabric D to the top and bottom of the piece. Press.

Attach the 17” strips of Fabric D to the sides of the piece. Press. Square up the piece as needed.

Quilt Pillow Top:
Layer muslin, batting, and quilt top. Baste with basting pins or spray. Quilt.

These pillows are quilted with designs from the class Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting on Craftsy.com.

Trim quilted pillow top.

Make Envelope Closure:
On one pillow back piece, turn one long edge down 1/2” and press. Turn the same edge down 1/2” again and press, so the raw seam in enclosed in the fold. Topstitch this folded edge down. Repeat with the other pillow back piece.

Lay the quilted pillow piece face down. Lay one pillow back piece face up with raw edges aligned so the finished edge falls toward the center of the pillow.

Place the other pillow back piece aligned with the other raw edges.

Pin or clip in place and baste around all edges. Make sure your basting is less than 1/4” from the edge so the basting stitches will be covered by the binding.

Bind Pillow:
Join two 1/4” binding strips. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press.

Attach binding to pillow top with your preferred method.

Insert your pillow form and celebrate the fact that you create beautiful things out of fabric and thread!

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7 Responses to Gradient Pillow Tutorial

  1. Marla says:

    I’ve been using Christina’s book and watching her Craftsy class. These pillows are another great way to practice our fmq.

  2. Lara B. says:

    That is a great tutorial. The pillows are wonderful, which is no surprise, coming from Christina!

  3. Diane B says:

    Wow Christina it looks so easy! FMQ scares me but I’ve vowed to learn it soon…starting small of course. Thank you for your inspiration. First Steps to Free Motion Quilting Craftsy class is on my wishlist:)

  4. Jamie says:

    I love everything about this pillow! The quilting design is something I will have to try. I was thinking I’d love to make it in cool colors and then voila! You showed one in the end of the post:)

  5. Cindy P. says:

    Just a lovely pillow! Thanks!

  6. Samina says:

    I’ve got that class in my Craftsy wish list. I’m eager to try free-motion quilting, but just haven’t worked up the time or courage to give it a go.

  7. Begum Sen says:

    It’s lovely. Some day I will try quilting!

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