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Silk Color Block Pillows - Feng Shui: A Mirror Image Four-Patch

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Feng Shui is the Chinese art of arranging your surroundings to promote balance and comfort within the patterns of yin and yang and the flow of chi. We arranged the second pillow within our Silk Color Block Pillows week to showcase a perfect balance of light and dark. The front and back are mirror images so when you look at the pillow from the side, the colors meet and match each other. The steps of this pillow are quite easy; it's the attention to detail and the patience to make sure all the seams align perfectly that create the beautiful balance. That... and a really sweet invisible zipper. Today's Chinese proverb is: A closed mind is like a closed book, just a block of wood.

Thanks to the great folks at Fabric.com for providing all of the beautiful silk dupioni for our silk pillows as well as the unique buttons. Take a look at our Sewing With Silk article for some fun history tidbits as well as helpful tips and techniques for pinning, cutting, sewing and caring for silk.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Getting Started

  1. From the darker of your two fabrics (Iridescent Platinum in our sample), cut the following shapes.
    NOTE: If using silk dupioni, before cutting, make sure the 'slubs' (those kind of bumpy lines) in the silk are running parallel to the width of the shapes, ie. horizontally.
    ONE 6½" high x 6½" wide square
    ONE 9½" high x 9½" wide square
    ONE 6½" high x 9½" wide rectangle
    ONE 9½" high x 6½" wide rectangle
  2. From the lighter of your two fabrics (Pistachio in our sample), cut the following shapes.
    NOTE: Again, if you are using silk dupioni, before cutting, make sure the 'slubs' in the silk are running parallel to the width of the shapes, ie. horizontally.
    ONE 6½" high x 6½" wide square
    ONE 9½" high x 9½" wide square
    ONE 6½" high x 9½" wide rectangle
    ONE 9½" high x 6½" wide rectangle

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Construct the pillow front

  1. Place the 6½" x 6½" light colored block right sides together with the 6½" x 9½" dark colored block. Pin along one 6½" side so the light colored block ends up on the right.
  2. Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance.
  3. Press the seam allowance flat and then press open. Set aside. This is the Front Upper Panel.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Place the 9½" x 6½" dark colored block right sides together with the 9½" x 9½" light colored block. Pin along one 9½" side so the light colored block ends up on the left.
  5. Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance.
  6. Press the seam allowance flat and then press open. Set aside. This is the Front Lower Panel.
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  7. Pin the Front Upper Panel to the Front Lower Panel along one 15" side. Be very careful to accurately line up all the previous seams so they come together at a perfect intersection. Just like the great states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
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  8. Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance.
  9. Press the seam allowance flat and then press open. Set aside. This is the completed Pillow Front.

Construct the pillow back

  1. Place the 6½" x 6½" dark colored block right sides together with the 6½" x 9½" light colored block. Pin along one 6½" side so the light colored block ends up on the right.
  2. Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance.
  3. Press the seam allowance flat and then press open. Set aside. This is the Back Upper Panel.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Place the 9½" x 6½" light colored block right sides together with the 9½" x 9½" dark colored block. Pin along one 9½" side so the light colored block ends up on the left.
  5. Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance.
  6. Press the seam allowance flat and then press open. Set aside. This is the Back Lower Panel.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Pin the Back Upper Panel to the Back Lower Panel along one 15" side. Again, be very careful to accurately line up all your previous seams.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance.
  9. Press the seam allowance flat and then press open. Set aside. This is the completed Pillow Back.

Add the zipper and finish the pillow

  1. Lay the Pillow Front and the Pillow Back right side up. You should have panels that are perfect mirror images of one other.
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  2. We inserted an invisible zipper into the left side seam of the pillow. With invisible zippers, it's best to work with the front and back of your pillow BEFORE you sew them together.
  3. If you're new to this technique, the instructions that come with an invisible zipper are actually pretty good (as packaged instructions go). We also have a tutorial: Invisible Zippers Are Your Friends.
  4. Once you have your zipper in place, open it up (if you forget to open the zipper, you won't be able to turn the pillow right side out; invisible zippers are REALLY hard - if not downright impossible - to unzip from the back side).
  5. With the zipper in place and right sides together, stitch the remaining three sides of the pillow using a ½" seam allowance.
  6. Clip all four corners and turn the pillow right side out through the zipper opening. Use a blunt end tool, like a large knitting needle or a chopstick to help push out the corners so they are nice and square.
  7. Stuff the pillow insert into the pillow casing through the zipper opening, making sure to fluff out the corners, and close the zipper.

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Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5300 and the Pfaff hobby 1122.

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Comments (4)

Gloria Cabeen said:
Gloria Cabeen's picture

For a 14" pillow, shouldn't the invisible zipper be a lot shorter than 20"? What is the correct size?

Thanks.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Gloria Cabeen - we like to cut our invisible zippers to size and so start with a longer zip. You could certainly use a 9" - 12" zipper. 

Sue Sparks said:
Sue Sparks's picture
This was a really easy pattern to follow. It was the first time I made pillows and I was impress with how they turn out. I used the same material for a child's quilt for my first grandchilds room.
patsy said:
patsy's picture
Love these pillows as I have lots of silk in gorgeous colours, will definitely be trying out this project, thank-you