As mentioned in the previous post, the recipient of our charity project will be Sarah’s Inn, a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence and to break the cycle of violence for future generations. Click here for more information on the specific services that Sarah’s Inn provides.
We will be making pillows, quilts, and zippered bags. This post will guide you through block construction, two construction options for your pillows, and also give you a list of tutorials you can use to create your zippered bags.
Let’s look at our block options!
These four blocks are called (clockwise from top left): Dutchman’s Puzzle, Indian Star, Sarah’s Choice and Crystal Star. Each one is linked to instructions for how to make the blocks. You will be making 12.5″ unfinished/12″ finished blocks for both the pillows and the quilts. Please be sure to check that the cutting directions you are following are for the 12″ finished block.
Here are the solid colors that we will be using for this project, both in Kona Cotton and Cotton Couture. The guild had one bolt each of Khaki, Soft White, and Violet that can be used by anyone for these projects. They will be at the June Sew-In!
Cotton Couture Color
There will also be some prints available for use at the same meeting.
Once you have created your blocks, you can choose to use them either to create a pillow, or with other member’s blocks as part of a quilt.
Pillow forms are 16″, and will be provided by the guild. No need to buy your own!
To make your pillow cover, first you need to size up your block.
From your border fabric:
Cut (2) 12.5″ x 3″ strips
Cut (2) 17″ x 3″ strips
Attach the 12.5″ strips to each side of the block, using a 1/4″ seam. Press seams.
Attach the 17″ strips to the top and bottom of the block, using a 1/4″ seam. Press seams.
This will give you a 17″ square block. This is a little larger than we will need in the end, but depending on how heavily you quilt your pillow front, it may shrink down quite a bit.
On that note – quilt your pillow front as desired. You can just use a muslin or other light colored backing, as it will be inside the pillow and you won’t see it.
Once your pillow front is quilted, trim your front down to 16″ square.
For Envelope Back Pillow:
Cut (2) 16″ x 10″ pieces of your backing fabric.
Fold up one long edge on each piece 1/4″, and press. Repeat on the same edge, to create a nice hem.
Topstitch your hems to keep them secure.
Lay both pieces of your backing fabric, right sides up, and overlapping in the middle to create a 16″ square shape on your cutting mat.
Lay your pillow front right side down on top of the backing fabric and pin around the outside.
Continue with the “Finishing” directions below.
You will need a 14″ zipper to create this type of pillow cover.
Cut (1) 16″ x 16″ square from your backing fabric.
Place your pillow front right side down on top of the backing (right sides together) and pin along the bottom edge. Stitch using a regular stitch for 1″, then baste for 14″, then continue a regular stitch for another 1″.
Press your seam open. This will be a little tricky because the front is so much thicker than the back, but use lots of steam and do your best!
Center your zipper over the seam, with the zipper facing DOWN. Pin in place.
Using your machine’s zipper foot, sew down both side of the zipper. There will be a spot near the end where you will need to pause with your needle down, and move the zipper head out of the way. Continue to the end once you have moved the zipper head.
Once you have sewn down both sides of the zipper, you can open the basting stitches using your seam ripper.
Next, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT – open your zipper about half way. If you don’t do this now, it’s going to be a pain for you later on!
Fold your pillow in half, right sides together, and pin along the 3 un-sewn edges.
Continue on with the “Finishing Steps” below.
If you have a serger, serge around all open sides and trim your threads.
If you do not have a serger, sew a straight stitch, 1/2″ seam all the way around the open sides of the pillow. Use your machine’s zig zag stitch to close the raw edges (these pillows will get a lot of use and washing, so the zig zag will keep things from fraying.
Turn the cover right side out. Insert pillow form, et voila!
Zipper Bag Tutorials
Here are some links to different zipper bag tutorials. Sarah’s Inn would like these to be small – the size that you would put into your purse for essentials. You can include a little indulgence, like a nice hand cream or lip gloss, if you like.
If you have any difficulty with either your pillow or your zipper pouch, please feel free to email
me (Dani) and I will be happy to help!
Thanks for participating everyone!
– post and tutorial written by Dani M. and Sarah E.
– edited and posted by Erin D.