A Tale of Two Pillows

Pillow Gifts

I mentioned in my Sewing Summit recap post that on Saturday night I went to a great dinner organized by Jennifer and Elena. Well, besides all the work that goes into getting together a group of 20-something people you have never met before…they also put together swag bags for us with items donated by some very generous sponsors. When they gave them to us at dinner, I swear you would have thought it was Christmas! Lots of squealing going on. (Pretty sure the table of men next to us watching the football game thought we were nuts!)

Pillow for Jennifer

I wanted to make a gift for each of them as a thank you. First I was thinking a mini quilt but then opted for pillows. Because, as Amanda says, anything can be a mini quilt, even a pillow!

Pillow for Jennifer

In Salt Lake City, someone smart said that life would be a lot easier if everyone you made a gift for had a Flickr Favorites photostream. How.true. I did some snooping in Jennifer’s photo stream and noticed a lot of work by Stitch in Dye’s Malka Dubrawsky. Luckily I just took a class on Improvisational Piecing by Malka so I sort of knew how to start.

Pillow for Jennifer Embroidery

I made four improv blocks, each around 5 inches. There is a bit of curved piecing – yes, that’s on purpose! LOL A bit of adding fabric to the square to make it fit to the block next to it. Then I off-centered the block for the pillow. I’m 95% certain the tan is an Essex Linen. I wish I had marked it when I bought it! Then I embroidered Jennifer’s name on the pillow to personalize it a bit. I quilted the front with straight lines, about 1/2″ apart, in the sashing. I made a scrappy binding for the pillow, love scrappy binding!

Pillow for Elena

When I was looking through Elena’s favorites, I noticed she liked bright colors and stars…she had a lot of stars in her Favorites! Remember that tutorial on Y-Seams last week? I needed to learn those to make her pillow, which is a block from the Jazz Hands quilt in Material Obsession 2.

Pillow for Elena

I quilted Elena’s pillow using straight lines on either side of the diagonal seams. Then I also embroidered her name on the front. The binding and backing of Elena’s pillow are both from Erin McMorris’ Summersault fabric line.

Pillow for Elena Embroidery

Both pillows are a bit smaller than 18″ (I like the overstuffed look…I hope they do too!) Jennifer and Elena received their pillows this week so I’m not spoiling the surprise. Thanks again to both of you!



  1. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    wow! i loved those pillows!
    do u have a tutorial?

    • Reply


      October 19, 2011

      Thanks Carolina! No tutorial. The solids pillow was made improvisationally. The star pillow is a block from the book Material Obsession 2, called Jazz Hands.

  2. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    great pillows, faith! i just love the pieced binding on the 1st one. it really adds to the look of the pillow!

  3. Reply

    Lindsey R.

    October 19, 2011

    How sweet are you!? They are both gorgeous, I did a squeal at Jennifer’s because it is just my style. Beautiful and the hand embroidered names are a perfect touch.

  4. Reply

    Laura Jane

    October 19, 2011

    Wow! Love the Y-seam pillow, so impressive!

  5. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Beautiful! I’m so envious you got to take a class from Malka! I’ve been trying improv & other ideas from her book – so fun. I especially love your quilting on the improv pillow and your binding on the start – those raindrops look great as a binding! Lovely…

  6. Reply

    Elena @ Breakfast for Dinner

    October 19, 2011

    Yay!!! Thank you, Faith!!! I adore my pillow! It’s living on my nightstand so I can stare at it before bed 🙂 I keep noticing new details about it and every time I do it makes me smile. I love it!!!

  7. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    what a sweet thing for you to do. lovely pillows and i am sure they are so so happy to have them!

  8. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Love these! You are so sweet to send them.

  9. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    So yummy!

  10. Reply

    Jessica Pierre'auguste

    October 19, 2011

    What a great post! I love both of those pillows. Malka and I are both members of the Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I really love all of her solid fabric pieces and would like to take one of her classes soon. You did a great job on the improvisational piecing!

  11. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Gorgeous! What thoughtful gifts. 🙂 And I agree, everyone should have a Flickr favourites stream…or a Pinterest account. It would make gift making / shopping SOOO much easier!

  12. Reply

    Linda V

    October 19, 2011

    VERY nice!!

  13. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    I love the wonky block one! I always say I love the wonky but I rarely do anything that isn’t straight! I REALLY need to give some improv a try.

  14. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    I love them! I also love giving pillows as gifts for some reason pillows are one of my favorite things to make. They are both really gorgeous. Go you!

  15. Reply

    Paty Z

    October 19, 2011

    Faith lovely pillows!! Did you use piping in the biding? And how did you close them, I mean they have a zipper or are an envelope type?

    • Reply


      October 19, 2011

      Hi Paty – thank you! I did not use piping, just plain old fashioned binding like on a quilt. The back is envelope enclosures with 3 buttons down them to hold them closed. I didn’t have any zippers in the house. 🙂

  16. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Oh they’re gorgeous!!! And I think using someone’s Flickr stream is so clever.

  17. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Those pillows are both amazing. I especially love all the details in each one. The improv piecing on the solids is such fun. Love everything about it!

  18. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    I love the second pilow. It would make a perfect Christmas gift

  19. Reply

    Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quitls

    October 19, 2011

    I just LOVE mine- love it to pieces. 🙂 It is totally ME and Faith you are super sweet to have made it just for me.
    xo Thank you!

  20. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Those are both so different, and both amazing! Love them!

  21. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Oh, how sweet! 🙂 I’m sure you made their day!

  22. Reply

    Rachel at Stitched in Color

    October 19, 2011


  23. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    Everyone appreciates a thank you. I love, love the improv one especially.

  24. Reply

    Pam Gavin

    October 19, 2011

    Awesome! you’ve done a wonderful job on these pillows!! What a great idea. I think I may have to make a couple for some sewing friends!! Shhhhhhhhhhh!

  25. Reply


    October 19, 2011

    What thoughtful gifts! Gorgeous

  26. Reply


    October 20, 2011

    Just gorgeous! Love your fabric choices – I’m inspired to try the improv blocks, now!

  27. Reply

    Kathy Jones

    October 23, 2011

    Love the pillows. A girl can not have too many pillows!!!!

  28. Reply


    November 2, 2011

    wow, wonderful pillows, especially the one using only sollids!