Patchwork Pillow Tutorial – making memories

Before I start let me just warn you not to expect too much…..this is my first tutorial and I’m no expert (at all)! Just thought I’d give it a go ’cause someone out there may find it useful.

pillow case 2

Pillow case size: 30″ x 20″ / 75cm x 50cm (based on UK sizes)

Front: Fabric scraps – 96 x 3″ squares

Batting and backing fabric – roughly 32″ x 22″ each

Back: Fabric – 30.5″ x 20.5″

Flap: 9″ x 20.5

Additional fabric strips for binding.

I chose to make the pillow case from my daughter’s old clothes (and a few other bits of her favourite scraps). I have been hoarding keeping these for an eternity, well actually about four years, but it seems like a seriously long time! For some reason a couple of weeks ago the urged grabbed me to actually make something with them. Happily this was coupled with motivation which helps!

Piecing the Front

Gather together a good selection of old fabrics – clothes, sheets, scraps. Sort and iron the fabrics then cut into 96 x 3″ squares.

fabric stack - pillow

Lay them out into 12 columns x 8 rows and arrange then rearrange as you like. TAKE A PHOTO! (I didn’t do this because I was in a sewing frenzy, I realised my mistake soon after!).

column squares

Chain stitch the squares – pairs first.

pairs 2 - pillow case

Lay out the pairs as originally arranged (this is why the photo helps). Then chain stitch pairs column by column.

Press the seams of column 1 upwards. Then press the seams of column 2 downwards. Press the rest of the seams continuing to alternate between columns.

pillow case seams

Pin and stitch columns together. Take care to match up the seams . If you wiggle them about a bit you should feel them move in to place and butt up against each other.

You should end up with a pillow case top like this:

pillow case top 1

Once you have your top it’s time to quilt it.

Cut backing fabric and the batting. Make sure these are a couple of inches bigger than the top…. you can cut it down afterwards.

pillow top - batting

Sandwich the batting between the top and backing (not back) fabric. Baste. Quilt however you prefer. I went for straight line quilting close to the seams.

quilted pillow top

Trim off excess batting.

Back and envelope closure

Cut back fabric and fabric for envelope closure. Bind envelope fabric on one side with contrasting fabric, see…….

binding pillow

Now, you have two options here:

1. Stitch flap to front with 1/4″ hem. Trim back fabric to 30″ and add binding.


2. Stitch flap to back fabric with 1/4″ hem. (If you don’t want a contrasting fabric here you can always cut a longer piece of back fabric and just fold the end over). Bind outer edge of front.

Place the pillow top and back fabric right sides together and stitch. Zigzag stitch around seams.

zigzag seams pillow case

Trim corners. Turn right side out and you should have a lovely new pillowcase!

pillow close up


finished pillow case

This has been a major hit with my daughter … usually she has to say she doesn’t like something before she concedes and admits that actually she really quite does. This time we skipped right past that part and jumped straight to the ‘I love it!’ Well worth the make.

Linking up with TGIFF at Cherry Valley Designs.


18 thoughts on “Patchwork Pillow Tutorial – making memories

  1. Pingback: Patchwork Pillow Tutorial – making memories | Love All Blogs

  2. Love it! I’m definitely going to be making some for my guys!
    I have boxes of their old clothes, waiting for my youngest to hit 2 then i’m going to tackle a quilt out of everything i’ve saved! With your clothing scraps, were any of them jersey? I’m keeping mine to all the onsies and jammies and have never worked with jersey before was wondering how easy/hard is was to work with in that size?

  3. Pingback: A Lovely Year of Finishes – September | Cloud CouCou Crafts

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