Quilted Pillow Tutorial inspired by the Aster Quilt
A goal of mine is to include a companion project for each quilt pattern I release - particularly one that provides an option to use up some fabric scraps from the pattern. And, this quilt block just really felt like it needed to become a pillow!
Most quilt size options from the pattern will have enough left over fabric to make an additional block.
If you have stumbled upon this tutorial, you can find the quilt pattern in the shop. Alternatively, the quilt block measures 15 1/2 inches (unfinished) and you can create something using those dimensions and then follow along.
This tutorial will guide you through making a pillow cover with a covered zipper closure on the back that will fit an 18 inch square pillow form.
Supplies that you will need:
- Aster quilt block, or other 15 1/2" square
- Two strips of background fabric measuring 2 1/4" by 15 1/2"
- Two strips of background fabric measuring 2 1/4" by 19"
- One piece of batting measuring 19" square (if you're quilting the top)
- One piece of fabric for the back of the pillow measuring 9" x 19"
- One piece of fabric for the back of the pillow measuring 12" x 19"
- 18" zipper
- Zipper foot for your sewing machine (pictured below in Step 3)
- Spray baste or safety pins
- Iron for pressing
- 18" square pillow form
Step 1: Create the front of your pillow
Following the instruction provided in the pattern, make your Aster Quilt block.
Then, pin and sew right sides together, the two strips measuring 2 1/4" by 15 1/2" to either side of the block.
Then, pin and sew right sides together, the two strips measuring 2 1/4" by 19" to the top and bottom of the block. Easy peasy :)
Step 2: Quilt your block
Baste your 19" square of batting to your quilt. For small projects such as this, I prefer to spray baste and then just add a few pins in the corners and center for good measure.
This part of the project is all personal preference. I decided to hand quilt my pillow and kept the quilting pretty sparse. You can quilt it anyway you desire :).
If you're new to quilting, you can keep it simple with straight lines. And, if you're new to sewing, quilting is also completely optional; the pillow will be just as functional without it.
Step 3: Create the zipper back
This will be the longest part of the process, but it is surprisingly easy! Adding zippers to projects can be pretty nerve wrecking, but fear not!!
First, take your 12" x 19" piece of backing fabric. Along the side that measures 19", fold in by approximately 1/2 inch and press. This piece will become the bottom part of your pillow back.
Then, take your 9" x 19" piece of backing fabric. Again, along the side that measures 19", fold in by approximately 1/2 inch. Then, fold a second time and press. When unfolded, it should look like the picture below. This piece will become the top part of your pillow back.
Then, making sure not to cover the zipper teeth, place the bottom part of the backing along the zipper teeth using the 19" side of the fabric that you ironed under to get a nice finished edge overlapping the zipper tape. Pin in place.
Using your zipper foot, sew as close to the teeth as you can, removing the pins as you go. You will also need to unzip and move the zipper pull out of your way as you approach it.
Next, take the top part of your backing, open up the 1" edge that we ironed under twice. Fold over just once and place on top of the zipper tape, as shown in the picture. The right sides of your pillow cover fabrics are touching. NOTE: I have the fabric off-set just a little in the picture for demonstration. You will want to line up both fabrics before pinning in place.
Align the top edge of the zipper tape with the edge of the pillow top (folded down once by 1"). Pin in place.
Again, using your zipper foot to get as close to the zipper teeth as you can, stitch in place, removing the pins as you go, and moving the zipper pull when you get close.
Flip over the top part of the backing, using the second pressed fold from earlier. This is my favorite part! See how the flap forms all by itself where you ironed the fabric before?! We will stitch over the top part of this flap to keep it secure. Using a ruler, measure and mark a line about 3/4" from the flap. Or if you're like me, just eyeball the stitch line making sure you stitch along the zipper tape.
Pin to hold everything nicely in place, and stitch over your drawn or eyeballed line from the previous step.
With your rulers, measure and trim your pillow back to make sure it is a 19" square. Yay!!! It's finished :). Congrats on sewing in your zipper!!
Step 4: Finish your pillow!
It is seriously all downhill from here!!
Place your pillow back on your work surface, right side up. Open your zipper slightly to make it easier turn your pillow once it is sewn.
Then, place your quilted (or unquilted) pillow top, right side down, on top. Make sure all sides line up and pin. Making sure your pinned pillow sandwich has your pieces right (or pretty sides) together.
Using a 1/2" seam, sew around all four sides of your pillow!
Once sewn, turn the pillow right side out throw the slightly opened zipper. I like to use a chop stick to help get the corners pushed out. Then, insert your 18" pillow form and you are finished!!!!
It's time to grab your pillow, a good book, and a mug of coffee or tea! Take all three to your favorite spot in the house and dive into your book :)