The Mod Marea Pillow

A tutorial . . .

I designed a pillow last fall, made from scraps, for a guild challenge.

At the time, I thought: “I should make that into a tutorial. It came out pretty cute, and it was really easy!” (If I do say so myself.)

Problem is, I didn’t take any pictures of my process . . . so . . . I made the pillow again, and took pictures this time. Besides, it never hurts to test your pattern again, does it?

I made this pillow out of pieces from the Marea collection by Dear Stella Designs. I used an ivory solid to go with them (which I think is a Moda Bella).

If you’d like to make a pillow like this for yourself, instructions follow below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/8 yard of three different coordinating prints

1 fat quarter of background fabric to coordinate with the prints

1 fat quarter for the “flanges” around the edge of the pillow

1 fat quarter for the pillow back

16″ pillow form

4 buttons (or snaps, or velcro dots)

18″ square of lightweight plain fabric, such as muslin (optional)

18″ square of lightweight batting (optional)

We’ll make the pillow front first.

Label your three prints #1, #2, and #3.

From Print #1, cut the following (I used Marea Quint Floral Cream):

1 strip 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

1 strip 2″ x 8 1/2″

2 strips 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

From Print #2, cut the following (I used Buds Black):

2 strips 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

1 strip 2″ x 8 1/2″

1 strip 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

From Print #3, cut the following (I used Autumn Stripe Multi):

2 strips 2″ x 8 1/2″

1 strip 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

From the background fabric, cut the following:

3 strips 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

4 strips 2″ x 8 1/2″

4 strips 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

Pair each print strip up with a background strip of the same width.

Match each pair up, right sides together, and stitch across the short ends. Stitch both ends, so that you have a “loop” of fabric.

Repeat with the remaining 10 pairs of strips. No pressing yet.

Lay the strips out in the following order from left to right:

Print #1   2 1/2″ strip

Print #2   1 1/2″ strip

Print #3   1 1/2″ strip

Print #1   2″ strip

Print #2   2 1/2″ strip

Print #3   2″ strip

Print #1   1 1/2″ strip

Print #2   2″ strip

Print #3   2″ strip

Print #1   1 1/2″ strip

Print #2   2 1/2″ strip

Turn them all over so that the background fabric is on top, making sure to leave them in their proper positions.

Next, you will cut through the background fabric only of each pair, at a different random place on each one.

Some will be short on top, some shorter on the bottom, and some right in the middle. Make a variety. And make sure you are ONLY cutting through the background fabric, not the print.

After the cuts are made, fold the background fabric out. Press seams toward the darker fabric.

Now begin sewing them together, left to right. Feel free to rearrange them if it suits you better, too.

Flip piece #2 over onto piece #1, right sides together and stitch the long seam.

Press the seam to one side, or open, if you prefer.

Add piece #3 in the same manner, and keep repeating until all 11 strips are sewn together.

This next part is optional, but I chose to do it because I like my pillows to have a little substance and stand up better to wear and tear from being used.

I layered my pillow front with batting and backing and quilted it. You’ll need an 18″ square of scrap lightweight fabric for this. I used muslin. Batiste would work. So would a scrap of anything lightweight. It’ll never show.

You’ll also need an 18″ square of lightweight batting.

Layer the backing, batting, and the pillow front together. Pin or baste in place, and quilt it. I quilted straight lines in the ditch of every vertical seam using my walking foot and matching thread.

After quilting, trim the pillow front to measure 16″ square. If you opt not to quilt yours, then just square your pillow front to 16″.

Next, we’ll make the pillow back.

From your pillow back fabric, cut 2 rectangles 10″ x 16 1/2″. (I used Damask Cream.)

Turn under 1/4″ on one long side of each piece and press.

Turn under another 3/4″ and press again.

Stitch down the inside edge of the fold with matching thread, backstitching at both ends. Do this on both pieces.

On one of the backing pieces, make 4 buttonholes, evenly spaced, down the folded portion.

On the other backing piece’s folded edge, sew 4 buttons to match up with the buttonholes.

If you don’t wish to make buttonholes, you can use snaps, or velcro fasteners in those spots instead.

Fasten the buttons into the buttonholes (or snaps or Velcro) and make sure that your entire backing piece measures 16″ square. You may have to trim it down. Trim evenly off all 4 sides, if you do need to trim.

Stitch across the folded raw edges where the two pieces overlap to hold them in place.

Next, we’ll prepare the flanges that go around the outer edges of the pillow.

From your flange fabric, cut 4 rectangles 3 1/2″ x 16″. (I used Line Work Black.)

Fold each piece in half right sides together, along the long length. Stitch across the short ends, backstitching at both ends. Clip the folded edge at a 45-degree angle close to the stitching. Do both ends of each of the four strips.

Turn them right side out, and press. You will make four of these, and they should each measure 15 1/2″ long.

Now you’re ready to put it all together.

Lay your pillow front right side up on your work surface.

Place a flange along each side, centering the flange on the side, and lining up the raw edges.

Note how the flanges overlap at each corner. Do not pin yet.

Very carefully, so as not to disturb the flanges, lay the pillow back right side down on top of the pillow front and flanges, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place all the way around the four sides.

Beginning in the middle of one side of the square, stitch around the entire outer edge of the pillow through all the layers with a 1/4″ seam. There’s no need to leave an opening, so be sure to go all the way around, taking care at each corner to not catch the folded edges of the flanges in the seam.

Trim the corners at a 45-degree angle, as shown, being careful not to cut into the stitching.

Unbutton the pillow back, and turn the pillow right side out.

Stuff your pillow form inside, and button it back up, and you’re all finished!

Here’s the back of my finished pillow:

And here’s the original one I made for our guild swap back last fall, just to give you an idea of another colorway:

I hope you have fun with this tutorial, and if you make a pillow, I’d love to see it!

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 8:05 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I really like this idea!

  2. Very nice, Shelly! I like the edge treatment. I haven’t seen that before!

  3. Wow. Really great idea. This one has been bookmarked. Thanks so much.

  4. Wish I could call in sick and spend the day at home making my own version!! (Why did I ever come out of retirement? Oh yeah, the money!)
    I just love it!


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