The Christmas countdown is on … and my friends at Benartex and I are here to help you with fun, festive, and fast projects that you can finish before the holidays! Join us on the Benartex Facebook page and Instagram account December 12th through the 23rd for our “12 Days of Christmas – Quick Gift Project Hop.”
We’re all makers … and so our first thought when it comes to holiday gift-giving is a handmade gift! This year, my go-to gift is the quilt block throw pillow! They’re quick to put together, which means you’ll get that awesome sense of almost-instant gratification from starting and finishing a project in just a couple of hours! Plus, it’s a fun chance to practice a little bit of free-motion or echo quilting without having to wrangle a big quilt through your machine.
This tutorial will help you put together your own Quilt Block Pillow, complete with a quilted front, envelope-closure backing, and a bound edge!
To Make Your Own Quilt Block Pillow, You’ll Need:
- Quilt block pattern – Lately, my favorites are the 21″ block from my Apple Blossoms Quilt Pattern and the 18″ block from my Morning Glory Quilt Pattern
- Fabric for the block, binding, and pillow backing
- A square of batting that is 2″ – 4″ larger than your finished block
- A square of muslin or neutral fabric that is 2″ – 4″ larger than your finished block
- A Pillow Form that is 1″ – 2″ larger than your finished block – we used this 22″ hypo-allergenic one from Amazon*.
- Rotary Ruler, Cutter, and Cutting Mat
- Iron and Pressing Mat
- Safety pins or basting pins
- Thread – a neutral shade for a little bit of quilting, plus a shade that matches the fabric you’ll use for the binding.
- Magic Clips – Optional, but very handy!
- School glue or washable crafting glue (optional)
* Amazon Affiliate link
Layer your quilt block together with the square of batting and the square of muslin to make a mini quilt sandwich, and quilt as desired with a neutral thread. When finished, trim the batting and muslin.
I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to quilting, so for my Apple Blossoms pillow, I just did a whole bunch of echo stitching, 1/4″ away from the block edges. If you want to add a bit flare to your pillow, you can try using a contrasting thread, like I did with the Morning Glory pillow, pictured to the left.
Chances are, this pillow cover will need to be sent through the wash at some point, so taking that little bit of extra time to bury the pieced back is worth it! Plus, adding that extra layer of batting gives the pillow front such a smooth, polished-looking finish.
Cut the pieces for the envelope flaps on the back of the pillow. The rectangles should be as wide as your quilt block front. Their height should be half as tall as the quilt block, plus an additional 5″ for seam allowances and the overlap.
So, for our 21.5″ Apple Blossoms block, the rectangles are 21.5″ wide and 15.75″ tall:
21.5″ / 2 = 10.75″
10.75″ + 5″ = 15.75″
Finish the edges of the “envelope flaps.” On the “inner flap,” fold over the edge about 1/2″ and press. Fold over again about a 1/2″, press, and then sew along the edge to bury the raw edge.
The “outer flap” can be finished in the same way … or you can add a little bit of pizzaz to the backing by finishing it with a bound edge, to match the binding on the pillow.
Take a minute to check out your pillow form. If you ordered yours online, like I did, chances are it arrived looking a little deflated and sad.
Pop it into your dryer, on low heat, with a couple of clean tennis balls for about 20 minutes or so … and it will pop out looking all puffy and ready to snuggle!
Lay out your quilt block, face-down. Next, place the inner envelope flap, face-up, on top of the block. Be sure to line up the corners and the bottom edges. Finally, add the outer envelope flap, face-up, lining up the corners and the top edges.
Pin around the perimeter. You can also use just a little dab of the school glue (only on the portion that will be buried in the binding) to secure the corners and the areas where the back flaps overlap even further.
Once that’s done, bind the edges, just like you would for a quilt! Need help – check out our tutorials page.
After you’ve finished attaching your binding, carefully insert the pillow form through the envelope enclosure. It took me a little bit of wrangling to get the puff in the pillow form situated properly into the pillow corners. Once, they were settled, I was ridiculously pleased with the results!
If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, you can sign up for our email newsletter below for more tips, tricks, and quilting tutorials. Plus, after the holidays, we’ll be sending out information on our brand new FREE 2020 Mystery Quilt Along, so I hope you’ll keep in touch!
Happy Sewing!! – Shelley @ CQ