Is your sofa looking at you with big, sad eyes? Well, of course not; it’s a sofa not a cartoon! But, maybe – just maybe, when you’re falling asleep, do you hear it softly crying? If your sofa seems down in the dumps, the solution is as quick and easy as a new set of pillows. There’s nothing like a blast of beautiful fabric to make your whole room (and you) happy. We originally used the Figment collection by Pam Goecke Dinndorf of Aardvark Quilts for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, knowing it would make an awesome pile of pillows. The motifs are bold and whimsical and the colors are stepped-down brights: gorgeous and saturated yet slighted muted so there’s no harsh edges to any of the tones.
We had fun cutting the main stripe fabric in different directions in order to piece it back together to create three unique looks from just one fabric. The pillow backs are solid cuts of complimentary patterns. To make the fussy cutting straight forward, so you can exactly match our look, we offer free pattern downloads below for both the square and triangle.
All three of the pillows have flange accents along the sides. We found a pair of Kona Cotton Solids that looked great with all four of our fabric choices. Rather than a full, mitered-corner flange, we finished the ends of each flange so they break at the corners. This is a much easier solution that still looks fabulous. Notice how we matched our two colors on the perpendicular rather than alternating. This is a fun, easy-to-rotate border that looks especially nice when layering the pillows one in front of the other.
Our pillows are fully enclosed and so are meant to be spot cleaned. However, if you feel your pillows will be exposed to more wear and tear, you could certainly add an invisible zipper along one side. Check out our full tutorial on invisible zippers if you’re new to the technique.
The two Triangle Square pillows are constructed in exactly the same manner so steps are only shown below for one. The uniqueness comes in how the pattern is aligned across the stripes to cut out the four intersecting triangles.
The quantities shown below in the Supplies section are for a matched set of THREE pillows, and do allow a bit extra for fussy cutting. If you have a smaller motif, you may be able to get away with less. However, for this design, we recommend a large bold print for the best look. If you wish to make just a single pillow, download the free patterns and refer to the cut list below to figure out the amount of fabric needed.
As we often do with our pillows that are made up of several pieces, we added a layer of fusible fleece to soften and smooth the finish. And, the flanges have a bit of lightweight interfacing to help keep them crisp.
Our pillows all finish at 16” x 16” with a ¾” flange reveal along each side.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: As mentioned above, the quantities shown below are for a matched set of THREE pillows, and allow a bit extra for fussy cutting.
- 1¼ yards of ONE 44”+ main print for the pillow fronts – we recommend a stripe to get our interwoven look; we originally used Stripe in Garden from the Figment collection by Pam Goecke for Robert Kaufman
- ½ yard EACH of THREE 44”+ coordinating prints for the pillow backs; we originally used Dragonflies in Kumquat, Umbrellas in Stone, and Scalloped Hills in Kumquat all from the Figment collection by Pam Goecke for Robert Kaufman
- ¼ yard EACH of TWO 44”+ quilting weight cotton solids in coordinating colors; we originally used Kona Cotton Solids in Pickle and Amber
- ½ yard of 45″+ lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- 1½ yards of 45” wide fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus one-sided fusible fleece
- THREE 16” x 16” pillow forms
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the Triangle Pattern and Square Pattern, which have been bundled together into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of THREE 8½” x 11″ sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each sheet to confirm your printout it to scale.
- Cut out all the patterns along the solid lines. There is one sheet for the square and two sheets for the triangle. Each triangle sheet contains two pieces. Cut out the two pieces from each sheet and butt them together (do not overlap) at the single arrows. Tape together. Then, butt together the two assembled halves at the double arrows and tape together to create the full triangle.
- From the main print fabric, use the square pattern to sub-cut NINE squares along one main stripe pattern.
NOTE: We correctly positioned our stripes, and cut horizontal strips at the proper height, then sub-cut the squares from this strip.
- These nine squares will then be rotated, as shown below in the drawing, to simulate the look of a woven design. Again, you can follow our design or create your own.
Triangle Square Pillows
- From the main print fabric, use the assembled triangle pattern to cut FOUR triangles for each of the two pillow fronts. Follow our intersecting stripe pattern shown below or use your own design.
- We found it easiest to cut one triangle, using the assembled pattern…
- … then use this triangle to carefully align the stripes…
- … and cut the remaining three rectangles
- From EACH of THREE back panel fabrics, fussy cut ONE 17” x 17” square.
- From EACH of the TWO flange fabrics, cut SIX 2½” x 17” strips (two strips of each color per pillow).
- From the fusible fleece, cut SIX 16” x 16” squares (two per pillow).
- From the lightweight interfacing, cut TWELVE 1½” x 16” strips (four strips per pillow).
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Assemble the nine squares into three rows, rotating the stripe to create the proper pattern.
- Pin together the first row in order. To do this, place the squares right sides together along their inner edges.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together the two seams to complete the row.
- Press the seam allowances open and flat.
- Repeat to complete the remaining two rows.
NOTE: Traditionally, patchwork is done with ¼” seams, but we are using ½” to allow for stronger seams across the pillow tops. All the patterns are figured at this ½” seam allowance.
- When all three rows are done, assemble them top to bottom. To do this, place the first row and middle row right sides together, carefully lining up all the vertical seams. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way across on the horizontal. Press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Repeat to attach the third and final row in the same manner.
- Press flat from both the back and the front.
- Remember, taking the time to very carefully line up all your seams is important to give your panel perfect corners from the front.
- Flip over the top panel so it is now wrong side up and flat on your work surface.
- Center a square of fusible fleece on the wrong side so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all four sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Fuse a square of interfacing to the coordinating back panel as well.
Triangle Square Pillows
- Assemble the four triangles into a square.
- Place the right and bottom triangles right sides together along their inner diagonal sides. Pin together.
NOTE: Remember, when you are working with pieces cut on the diagonal (on the bias) be gentle with them as they can easily stretch out of shape, which can distort the finished seams.
- Using a ½” seam, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowance to the right then press again from the front for a fully flat unit.
- Repeat to assemble the left and top triangles, but press its seam allowance to the left.
- Pin together the two assembled sections along the full diagonal (corner to corner across the center of the panel). Your center point is very important. Very carefully align the seam lines. The two seam allowances should be facing in opposite directions, allowing the pieces to nest together and produce a perfect point from the right side.
- Using a ½” seam stitch together.
- Press the completed top panel perfectly flat.
- Repeat to create the second Triangle Square pillow front with the remaining four triangles.
- As above, fuse a fleece panel to the wrong side of both finished front panels and both coordinating back panels.
Create the flanges
- Find all the fabric and interfacing strips.
- Center an interfacing strip on the wrong side of each fabric strip so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Fold the strips in half right sides together and pin each end.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each end. You are only stitching across the ends; the long sides remain open.
- Trim the seam allowance and clip the corner.
- Turn the strip right side out to reveal the finished ends. Push out the corners with a long blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turn so they are all nice and sharp.
- Press flat with the long raw edges flush.
- Each pillow needs four flanges, two in one color and two in the second color.
Place the flanges and layer to finish
- Place a flange along each side of the pillow top. The raw edges of the flange should be flush with the raw edge of the panel and each finished end of the flange should sit ½” in from the raw side edge of the panel.
- When the flanges overlap at the corner they’ll leave a little ½” box of free fabric.
- Pin all four flanges in place. Remember, as mentioned above, we matched our colors on the right angles rather than alternating. This is optional, but is a cool and more unexpected look.
- The Square Triangle pillow tops are handled in exactly the same manner.
- Place the front and back panels right sides together, sandwiching the flanges between the layers.
- Pin all the way around, leaving a 7” – 8” opening along the bottom for turning.
- Again, the Square Triangle pillows are layered in exactly the same manner.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together through all the layers around all four sides. Go slowly and make sure your layers stay flat. Remember to pivot at all the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 7” – 8” opening. Be careful at the corners as you pivot; you don’t want to accidentally catch the ends of the flanges in your seam.
- Clip the corners. Again, be careful that you don’t nick the ends of the flanges.
- Turn each pillow cover right side out through the opening. As above for the flange, use a long blunt tool to gently push out the corners
- Press the pillow cover flat, pressing in the raw edges at the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Compress the pillow form as small as possible and insert it through the opening. Fluff it out into the corners.
- Pin the opening closed and hand stitch to secure with tiny stitches. Remember, the flange is sitting between the layers so you need to both pin and hand stitch the opening along the front and along the back.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Leah Wand