Type Geek Pillows

Hi there! It’s Casey from Casey York Design and Studioloblog.wordpress.com, and I’m back to share the pattern for my Type Geek pillows. I am a self-professed type geek, myself, so I couldn’t resist coming up with a project for Typography month on the Moda Bake Shop. These pillows are a perfect way to showcase your favorite fabric collections and fonts. I had so much fun matching typefaces to fabric lines that I couldn’t stop with just one pillow and ended up making three. You can find the templates for these three appliqued words in the Printer Friendly version of this tutorial at the bottom of this page. However, it’s easy to create your own templates, and this project is even more fun if you make up your own fabric-font pairings. I hope you have as much fun with this project as I did, and that you’ll share your finished pillows with me through the Casey York Quilts flickr group!

 

 

Front patchwork and back appliqué: one jelly roll (samples show PB&J, Comma, and 2wenty Thr3e)

Pillow back: (1) fat quarter or ¼ yd. solid white fabric (samples show Bella Solids in Porcelain)

Front Appliqué: (1) piece solid white fabric, 12” long X 3” wide

Lightweight, double-sided, paper backed fusible web: (1) 9” X 12” sheet

(1) 18” zipper 

Please note: this pattern uses only (9) jelly roll strips, resulting in a lot of leftover fabric. You may want to plan another project to use the excess—I recommend one of the other wonderful tutorials here on the Moda Bake Shop!

Step 1: Make the pillow front:

Select nine strips from the jelly roll, trim to measure 18” long. Stitch along long sides to form a striped patchwork panel. Trim to measure 17 ½” X 17 ½.”

Tip: For maximum contrast, try to position a darker print or near solid as the second stripe from the bottom. This will ensure that your white appliqués show up well. Reserve the rest of this strip for the appliqués on the back of the pillow, which you will make in Step 2.

Step 2: Make the Appliqués

Print the template for the typeface of your choice—this tutorial features Helvetica, Rockwell, and Playbill. You will only need one template page per pillow. Templates can be found in the printer friendly version of this tutorial linked at the bottom of this page.


Tip: Make your own templates: Select a favorite font from your computer’s word processing program (bold san serif or slab serif fonts work best for this project). Type out the name of the typeface, then enlarge the character size until the letters are approximately 2” tall. This generally works out to be a type size of 180 to 210 pt., although this will differ from typeface to typeface. Print your template; for the pillow front appliqués, reverse the letters by turning the page over and tracing the outlines of the printed characters on the back. Use your templates to make fusible appliqués as follows.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, trace the templates onto the double-sided light fusible web. Cut out roughly, leaving a ¼” margin around your traced lines; you may want to cut out the entire word rather than cutting out each letter individually. Fuse the letters that appear reversed onto your white appliqué fabric. Fuse the letters that appear correctly oriented onto the wrong side of the jelly roll strip you reserved from Step 1, or a different strip that matches the second stripe from the bottom of your patchwork panel. Make sure to use a pressing cloth between your iron and fabric in order to avoid getting sticky residue on your sole plate.

Step 3: Place the Front Appliques:

Position your white fabric appliqués on the patchwork panel, aligning them with the bottom edge of the second stripe from the bottom. You will want to make sure that the last letter is at least 1 ½” from the right hand edge of the panel to leave room for the seam allowance.

Tip: Begin laying out your letters from the right-most letter and move left (i.e. backwards) towards the left side of the panel. 

When you are satisfied with your layout, fuse the appliqués in place, again using a pressing cloth between fabric and iron. Stitch around the appliqués using your machine or by hand; the samples were stitched by hand using a blanket stitch and a single strand of six-stranded cotton embroidery floss.

 

Step 4: Make the Pillow back:

From the solid white fabric, cut two rectangles measuring 17 ½” wide X 8 ½” long and 17 ½” wide X 11 ½” long. Fold one long edge of the 17 ½” X 8 ½” rectangle back 1 inch and press well, creating a crease.

Install the zipper:

Make sure the zipper is zipped. Unfold the crease in the 17 ½” X 8 ½” rectangle and place with the crease facing up; this is the right side of your pillow back. Place zipper face-down along the 17 ½” edge closest to the crease and align long edge of zipper tape with edge of fabric; pin well. Your zipper will be slightly longer than your pillow back is wide; to create a new “stop”, simply stitch back and forth several times across the zipper teeth at the point where the zipper reaches the 8 ½” edge of the fabric. Use your machine’s zipper foot to stitch as close to the zipper teeth as possible. When you approach the zipper pull, lower the needle, raise your presser foot, and carefully unzip the zipper until the pull is behind your needle. Lower the presser foot and continue stitching to the end of the zipper.

Refold crease; stitch along fold as close as possible to the zipper, making sure not to catch the zipper tape in your stitching. This will create a placket to cover the zipper.
 

Unzip the zipper. Place the tape face down against a 17 ½” edge of the 17 ½” X 11 ½” rectangle and pin well. Stitch as close as possible to the zipper teeth. This time, when you reach the zipper pull, carefully zip the zipper until the zipper pull is behind your needle. Continue stitching to the end of the zipper. Zip the zipper, place pillow back right side up, and press well.

You should have a 17 ½” X 17 ½” square (if slightly larger, trim to measure 17 1/2″ X 17 1/2″). Baste along side edges to hold zipper together when you assemble the pillow cover.

Place the appliqués:

Place your pillow front right side up. Place the pillow back on top with the right side facing down, the zipper towards the top edge, and the edges aligned. You should be able to see your front appliqués through the white fabric of the pillow back. Use a removable fabric marker–I recommend a Hera Marker or other creasing tool–and your ruler to trace lines along the bottom and sides of the word on the front of the cover. These will be your guidelines for placing the appliqués on the back. Turn the pillow back right side up and use the guidelines to place your back appliqués; the letters should be backwards. When you are satisfied with your placement, use your iron to fuse them in place. Stitch around appliqués using your machine or by hand.


Tip: If you use a fabric marker or pencil to make your placement guidelines, make sure you remove your markings before you use your iron to fuse the appliques in place! This is why I prefer to use a creasing tool for this step–I don’t need to remove any markings before pressing.

Step 5: Assemble the Pillow Cover:

Place pillow front cover and back cover together, right sides together. Make sure the zipper is unzipped a few inches. Align edges and pin well. Stitch along edges with a ¼” seam allowance. If you wish, finish the edges with a zigzag stitch. Unzip zipper all the way and turn cover right side out. Insert an 18” X 18” pillow form and you’re done!


This pattern will yield one cover for an 18” X 18” pillow. I recommend making several—have fun matching typefaces to the character of different fabric collections!

Casey York
{www.casey-york.com}

Casey York

Designer at Casey York Designs
I am an art historian and surface designer, currently developing patterns for the textile industry.My designs draw on the great art and design of the past, infusing traditional motifs with contemporary colors and a clean, modern aesthetic.Each pattern tells a story about its artistic roots, allowing one to literally touch a bit of history.My work appeals to those who appreciate both tradition and sophisticated, modern design.

Latest posts by Casey York (see all)