Hi, my name is Jamie from Busy Bee Quilts and I have a fun pillow tutorial for you today! Are you thinking about Valentine’s Day yet? My December was one bout of sickness followed by another, so I am ready to go overboard on Valentine’s Day decorating to make up for a lousy Christmas holiday! When I saw the Aqua Red Crush fat quarter bundle, I knew it would look bright and cheerful paired with linen, just the right color combination for January and February. This month I am happy to bring you a tutorial for making this 18” improv cross pillow.
Aqua Red Crush fat quarter bundle- sold out
- 2/3 yard unbleached Moda linen
- 18” pillow form
From the long side (22”) of the fat quarters, cut at least 21 strips of varying widths (I used 2” and 1.5”). From the linen, cut four 6.5” squares and two 12.5”x18” rectangles.
Arrange 7 strips from the fat quarters. You can alternate the red and blue or you can choose not to. I alternated most of my strips, but not all. Sew the strips together and press seams open.
You will make at least three rectangles of strips that look something like the one above (I made 4 rectangles—the more you make, the more choices you have for your final blocks, however you will waste some fabric if you make more than 3). Measure the width of the rectangle to make sure it’s at least 7”. If it’s more, that is fine, but less than 7” is not okay. Add another strip to the rectangle if yours measures less than 7”. Once your rectangles of strips are sewn, you can use starch or Magic Sizing to help press them as flat as possible.
Now for the fun part! Grab your rotary cutter and ruler and cut your fabric into strips. You don’t need to measure the strips, just remember if you cut a strip smaller than 1.5” in width, not much of the fabric will show up. I try to vary to widths a bit. You can cut your lines straight up and down or at an angle. I like to cut on a slight angle, but the wonkier your angle, the more fabric you will trim off at the end.
Choose 4-5 strips and sew together. You can rotate a strip 180 degrees if you need more variation in the placement. Sew the strips together and press seams open. You are aiming to have the block measure slightly bigger than 6.5” square. If one of your lengths falls short, just add another strip.
Trim your blocks to 6.5” square.
Arrange the blocks in a 3 x 3 formation.
Sew the blocks together in horizontal rows. Press seams open. Sew the rows together, pinning carefully to line up the seams between blocks. Press seams open.
Voila! You have a beautiful improv cross block that should measure 18.5” square unfinished. Now you can choose to quilt your pillow top however you’d like. Once your top is quilted, you can add an envelope closure for the back. You’ll need two pieces of fabric (I used linen) that measure 12.5” x 18”.
Press one of the 18” raw edges in 1/2”, then turn another 1/2” and press. Pin in place and sew the edge down using a straight stitch. Finish your pillow with binding or serge the layers together for a modern look without binding.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and if you make this pillow, please share a photo with Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram using the hashtag #sewingwithfwfabricstudio.