This improv pillow in a complementary red-and-green color
recipe is just the thing to brighten up your home for spring! With just one
yard of fabric and a handful of scraps, you can stitch it up in no time to keep
or give as a gift. Creating with curved strips is just one of the many improv
techniques you’ll learn in my book,
Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting.
Fits an 18" square pillow form.
- 1 yd green solid
- Scraps of red, yellow, and gold that are at least 3” on one side
- Coordinating thread for piecing and stitching
- 20" square batting
- 20" square backing fabric (any color—it won’t show)
- 18" square pillow form
All measurements include 1/4" seam allowance.
1. From green fabric, cut one strip 4 1/2" x width
of fabric, then subcut into one strip 4 1/2" x 19" and one strip 2 1/2" x 19".
2. Cut one rectangle 12" x 19".
3. Cut one strip 12" x width of fabric for pillow
Assembling the Pillow Top
1. Arrange your scraps in two strip sets that are 2
1/2" wide and 19" long. When choosing
your scraps, try to include a variety of values—light, medium, and dark—as
well as a variety of widths.
2. Sew your scraps together with straight lines, or
add some angles. To add an angle, overlap two fabrics, right sides up, and cut a
gentle angle through both layers.
3. Sew the pieces together with right sides
together. Press seam to one side.
4. Continue in this manner until you have completed
5. Lay the 4 1/2" x 18" strip and one of your
stripes on the cutting mat right sides up and overlapping about 1". The plain strip will be one outside edge of
your pillow top.
6. Use your rotary cutter to cut a gentle curve
within the 1" overlap through both layers.
7. Sew the seam, right sides together. It
may look like it won’t fit, but it will! Just sew slowly and ease the edges
together as you stitch.
8. Press seam toward the plain strip.
9. Overlap the second plain strip on the other side
of the stripe on the unit you just created, and use your rotary cutter to cut a
gentle curve with the 1" overlap through both layers.
seam toward the plain strip.
the second stripe to the completed unit in the same manner, then the large
12" x 19" rectangle, to complete the pillow top.
the pillow top, batting, and backing fabric and quilt as desired. I stitched
wavy vertical lines first, and then added a series of diagonal lines for
pillow top to 17 1/2" square.
Assembling Pillow Back
1. Cut the remaining 12" strip into two rectangles,
each 12" x 17 1/2".
2.Press under 1/4" on one long side of each
rectangle, then turn under again and press.
3. Stitch down the middle of the pressed edge.
4. Lay the rectangles on the pillow top, right
sides together, with the pressed edges overlapping in the center. Pin in place
along the raw edges.
5. Stitch around the entire top with a 1/4" seam.
6. Clip the corners and turn the pillow right side
7. Insert the pillow form and enjoy!
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