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!


    • 2


      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.

  1. 4


    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.

  2. 6


    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…

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    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!

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    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!

  5. 15


    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!

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    Paty Z says

    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?

    • 17


      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. 🙂

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    Pam Gavin says

    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!

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