Wednesday, July 31, 2019

I May Have A Scrap Problem... How About a Tutorial, and a Giveaway Winner?

Hi, all!

Well, another busy month has passed, and not much scrappy sewing has been going on.  The Twelve Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop and Quilt-Along took up most of my time and energy.  For those who are interested, you will find the winner of the giveaway at the end of this post.

BUT - I did make a fun pillow this month using some random yardage from my stash, and I thought it would be a useful tutorial to share with you.

I'm sure that you, like me, have random yards of fabric in your stash - something that was either just to pretty to leave in the store, or that you thought would match something and then it didn't.  Or if you were part of a subscription service, like I was, you probably received fabrics that really didn't work with anything else you had.  (Why I'm not part of a subscription service now!)  And those random yards sit on the shelves, lonely and unloved.  This pillow cover will be a perfect use for those!  

Or maybe you have random fat quarters, leftovers from a larger project or, once again, just too pretty to leave in the store.  Drag them out and see how many of these great pillows you can make!

This is the perfect quick gift for someone.  Need something for that new college student moving into her first dorm room?  Or new parents, to encourage them to read to their children?  It's also perfect for your kids or grandkids, a wonderful place for them to store their current reading or coloring material - and just imagine always being able to find your Kindle!  Senior citizens love them too - a handy little storage spot for whatever you want to tuck inside.  I bet you can think of even more uses!  

Here's what you'll need to make one of these pillows:

One 16" pillow form

4 fat quarters, or three different pieces of yardage at least 18" in length

Batting scraps



One 16.5" square for front of pillow

One  17" square for pocket

Two rectangles 20-22" x 16.5" for envelope backing. These can be in the form of two different or matching fat quarters or a WOF piece of yardage 16.5" wide cut in half on the fold.

One 18" square of batting for front of pillow

One 9" x 18" rectangle of batting for the pocket

About 70" of your preferred width of binding.


Using your preferred method of basting (I spray baste), baste the 16.5" square of fabric to the 18" square of batting.  Quilt as desired.  

I did a cross-hatch diamond design on mine, marking the guidelines with my Hera marker.  I do not put a backing on this piece, because I use Warm & Natural batting, which is a good firm batting that doesn't fray or separate.  

If you use a batting that doesn't "hold its own", so to speak, you might want to back this piece before quilting.  It will be inside the pillow, so it doesn't really matter what it looks like.

Using a large square ruler, trim the excess batting off and make sure your corners are square.  

Now it's time to make the pocket piece.  Take the 17" square of fabric and fold it in half, pressing the fold with your iron.  Place the 9" x 18" rectangle of batting between the two sides, pushing it up firmly into the fold.  Baste this piece, then quilt as desired.  

I stitched a straight line right along the top edge, about 1/16" in, then again about 1/4" from that.  Then I quilted vertical lines from the top to bottom all across the piece.  

Trim the excess batting off the bottom of the piece.

Lay the pocket on top of the earlier-quilted square, lining up the bottom edge and trimming off any excess on the sides.  Pin the piece at the bottom corners, top edge of the pockets, and center bottom.

Now we'll work with the backing pieces.  Fold them in half so that you have two pieces 16.5" wide and approximately 10-11" tall.  Press the fold line.  Flip the front of the pillow over so that the backing is now face up.  Lining up the corners and raw edges, lay one backing piece on the bottom half of the pillow cover.

The pressed fold should be up towards the center of the pillow.  Now lay the other backing piece on the top half, lining up the raw edges and corners.  The two pressed edges will overlap each other by about four inches.  

Now pin all the pieces together, starting with the corners and overlap points. Add a couple of pins along the top and bottom to hold all the pieces in alignment.  

You can remove all the pins you placed in the front now, EXCEPT for the ones that hold the top corners of the pocket in place.

I bind all my pillow covers just like a quilt, using the binding stitching to hold all the layers together.  I sew the binding to the back of the pillow cover, starting on the bottom and going all the way around, then flipping the binding to the from and sewing it down by machine.  Once that binding is attached and the pins removed, you've got a finished pillow cover!  No corners to turn at all.  I don't know about you, but I don't have good luck turning corners - I almost always punch a hole through!

There are so many creative ways to gift these pillows!  For instance, upon the birth of a grandchild, you could give your son or daughter one of these pillows with a favorite childhood book of theirs tucked inside it.  Or an adult coloring book and box of coloring pencils fit in nicely, and it's such a good way to keep them close at hand.  

So now, the question is - - - how many of these will YOU be making?


And now for the winner of the 12DCIJ giveaway!  I am accompanied this morning by the Amazing Lilli, who has generously agreed to choose a winner for us....

We ended up with over 4000 entries across all the participating blogs, which is amazing!  When I asked Lilli to choose any number between 1 and the total, she chose to go minimalist - number 6!  Christi S., who gets her email on is our winner!  As a reminder, here's the pretty prize package...

A beautiful bundle of Wintertide, the newest Christmas line from FIGO fabrics!  Christi, I'll be emailing you to get your snail mail address ASAP.  Watch for it!




  1. I so like the way to bind the pillow at the end, far easier than turning out neat corners.And a bedtime book right at hand, wonderful.

  2. Really cute pillow cover, thank you for the tutorial. Congrats to the FIGO winner also.

  3. lucky christi! beautiful bundle and giveaway!

  4. It sounds like the blog hop was a success. That's a wonderful amount of entries. Thanks for the simple.

  5. Thanks for sharing the pillow tutorial. I always have trouble turning out the corners so this idea is perfect. It's always a pleasure to see the princess.

  6. Cute pillow! I’ll be making at least one. Thanks for coordinating the 12 Days of Christmas and awarding the wonderful Figo Fabrics.

  7. Great to know the Blog Hop was so much fun--and has a wonderful ending for someone! Great job, Sarah!
    The extra touches you have in the tutorial for the pillow are what makes it so incredible. I will definitely try one of these!

  8. Thanks for the tutorial. I will be making this pillow so we stop "losing" the TV remote, lol. ;^)

  9. I bet my nephew would love this pillow! Thanks for the tutorial!

  10. Thanks so much for the great tutorial! I'm making plans already. The idea for binding the pillows is outstanding...I've made my share of holes, too.

  11. This is a wonderful idea, and you've made it so simple to follow!

  12. What a great gift idea! Congrats to Christi! And thanks for hosting the 12 days of Christmas! It was super quilty fun!

  13. Thanks for doing the Pillow Cover tutorial, Sarah. Your instructions make it look SEW easy!!

  14. Congratulations to the winner. Love your pillow cover tutorial

  15. This is such a great idea, Sarah. Thanks for the pillow tutorial!

  16. Love these pillow. I have several young friends from kindergarten to about 3rd grade I would love make some for. Anxious to try your binding method as I always have trouble with the corners looking nice. Thanks for the tutorial.

  17. I have now made three of these already--SUCH a great idea and I am so thankful for you to have shared your creativity and expertise with us! I made one as a baby gift (included a copy of Curious George in the pocket!) and have made one for my daughter who will be studying abroad this coming year--will fill the pocket with letters from family/friends to help calm nerves the first few days. THANK YOU!!!


Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!