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Scrap It: Patchwork Pillow

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One easy way to use up odd-sized scraps of pretty fabric is to patchwork them together into an interesting pillow. Our Scrap It Patchwork Pillow is an example of one made using a grid. The design is the same on both the front and back, however, we turned one grid panel 90º to create an interesting effect when the pillow is viewed from the side. Our pillow shows off the fabulous new Central Park collection by Kate Spain for Moda, but the concept will work with any pile of scraps you think look good together. Just goes to show there is almost no cute little scrap without a future in one of your creations.

Thanks to our friends at Moda for providing the Central Park Collection by Kate Spain, which is due in stores and at online retailers this month. We are noodlin' on other projects for this lovely fabric.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • Fabric scraps that look good together. They can be from mixed collections – whatever looks good to you. Don't be afraid to try some unlikely mixes or even texture. As mentioned above, for our pillow, we used bits and pieces from Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda.
  • 16" x 16" pillow form
  • One 1-1/8"covered button kit (most kits come with 2 or more buttons, you'll need 2)
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat or scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Grid: the grid below shows finished measurements for a 16" pillow (you can scale the grid, using your very own math skills, to fit any size square pillow). See Getting Started below for actual cut sizes based on our 16" x 16" grid.

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Getting Started

  1. Following the grid, figure out how you'd like to place your 22 pieces of fabric (11 on the front and 11 on the back - they can be the same front to back, 22 different pieces, or a few repeats as we did).
  2. From your scraps, cut 22 pieces in the following sizes. If you are using fabric with a directional print, think about the direction in both cutting and placing the piece so you don't have a sad little upside down piece somewhere.
  • Cut EIGHT 4½” x 8½” rectangles (these are the top and bottom pieces)
  • Cut FOUR 4½” x 4½” squares (the squares to the right and left of the center)
  • Cut TWO 8½” x 8½” squares (these are the center pieces)
  • Cut EIGHT 4½” x 2½” rectangles (the small fill-in pieces to the right and left of the center)

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

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  1. This pillow is easy to patchwork if you follow the what-seam-to-sew-first guide in the photo above.
  2. Use a ¼" seam allowance for all your seams. You'll end up with three panels of patchwork you can then easily join with straight ¼" seams as shown.
  3. Repeat the process for the opposite side.
  4. Place the finished pillow front and pillow back squares right sides together, then turn one of the squares so its grid is 90º – follow the grid diagram above.
  5. Retaining that 90˚ turn you just completed, pin the front and back together, leaving about a 6" opening along the side you consider to be the base of the pillow.
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides of the pillow, remembering to pivot at all the corners and to leave that 6" opening along the base side. Backstitch to secure both sides of the opening.
  7. Clip corners and turn the pillow right side out.
  8. Using a blunt-end tool, like a large knitting needle or a chopstick, push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp.
  9. Press in the raw edges of the opening ½" so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  10. Squeeze the air from the pillow form and insert it into the pillow through the opening. Fluff it into place.
  11. Pin the opening closed, matching the pressed edges.
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  12. Slip stitch the opening closed.
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Covered Buttons

  1. Find the center point in the pillow where diagonal lines meet as shown below.
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  2. Make covered buttons and sew onto the pillow. You can follow the package instructions or our Button Kit Covered Buttons tutorial.
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Hints and Tips

When you select scraps, there really are no hard-and-fast rules. But if you are unsure, try finding scraps that have similar colors; or pick a few colors as a theme, such as turquoise, red and white; or stick to scraps from within a single fabric collection (as we did). Even mixing in a little texture can be interesting... just don't overdo.


Project Concept & Construction: Alicia Thommas



Comments (9)

BeeGee said:
BeeGee's picture

I have some pillow forms that are just waiting to be turned into works of art.  Your terrific instructions are going to help me do just that, plus it will help use of some of my scraps from other fantastic Sew4Home projects.

A Southern Mother's Daughter said:
A Southern Mother's Daughter's picture

I absolutely love your designs!  The fabrics and colors all make me smile.  I'll be making some of your things for my niece that is getting married soon.  Thanks for sharing with us!

alicia.thommas said:
Hi Chicago Char! I'm happy you liked the project instructions. The kitty is my brightly-colored calico, Trixie Marigold. She is 3 years old and a rescue kitty. She has a lovely "kittenality" and spring-loaded legs. smilies/cheesy.gif
Chicago Char said:
Chicago Char's picture
I appreciate the clear straightforward instructions. Off the topic, what kind of real cat has joined the pillow photo who has those fabulous colors?
elsa hart said:
elsa hart's picture
these pillows are so pretty and bright! just what one needs on these dark and dreary winter days.
wendiq said:
wendiq's picture
Pillows make a great gift. I have found that using a fleece envelope back, works well for the teen and preteen. Easy to wash. Give one pillow filler to use with several different tops....smilies/wink.gif