Quilt As You Go Improv Pillows



Hi All! This is Jera from www.QuiltingintheRain.com bringing you a creative weekend project. This pillow uses a modern Quilt as you Go technique which will be featured in my upcoming book, Quilt-As-You-Go Made Modern, to be released this Fall. I’m so excited to share this technique with you all!

The Quilt as you Go technique is very creative as it doesn’t follow a precise pattern. Rather, it takes on more of a improvisational style of piecing and quilting. For updates on my latest quilting endeavors, check out my Quilting in the Rain Facebook page and blog. You can also find me on Instagram. Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy the tutorial!


Please Note – For this pillow I used leftover Layer Cake squares from the April Showers Collection by Bonnie and Camille. Leftover fat quarter scraps will work too. For the solid borders, I used Moda Solids Prairie Cloth in Buff (this material is home decor weight but has a linen/canvas feel to it). For the back of the pillow, I used Moda’s Twill (home decor weight), Nautical Ticking Stripes in Red.

For Pillow No.1 (14″ x 14″ pillow cover):

  • 1 layer cake square (or a 10″ square cut from a fat quarter)
  • 1/4 yard border fabric
  • 3/8 yard Backing
  • 15.5″ x 15.5″ batting square (needle-punched batting)
  • pillow insert

For Pillow No.2 (16″ x 12″ pillow cover):

  • 6 layer cake squares for variety (or six different fat quarter prints)
  • 1/4 yard border fabric
  • 3/8 yard backing
  • 17.5″ x 13.5″ batting square (needle-punched batting)
  • pillow insert


For Pillow No. 1 (14″ x 14″ pillow cover):

1.  Take a 10″ square and place it in the center of the batting. Place a few pins to help keep it down. Then, quilt it directly to the batting. As shown below, make sure your stitch starts and ends on the batting.

I did free-motion quilting with some simple loopy-loops. If you’ve never free-motion quilted before, now is a good time to try it out as it’s easier to do it on a smaller, more manageable block.

2. From your border fabric, cut two 3.5″ strips along the length. Take a strip and trim it with fabric scissors so it’s the same length as the side of the square. With right sides facing together, sew a 1/4″ seam allowance.

3. Press open, and then quilt lines that run parallel to the seam. There will be some extra fabric hanging over the batting. As shown below, make sure your stitch starts and ends on the batting.

4. Take the strip and trim it with fabric scissors so that it measures the length of the square and strip that you just pieced together, as shown below. With right sides facing together, sew a 1/4″ seam allowance.

5. Press open, and then quilt lines that run parallel to the seam. There will be some extra fabric hanging over the batting.

6. Repeat the previous steps until there is border fabric surrounding all four sides of the square. You are essentially piecing fabric in a log-cabin style method, but quilting it directly onto the batting as you go.
When you are finished, the entire batting will be covered and will look similar to this.
The back will look similar to this:
Flip the block over so the batting side is facing you. Trim the excess fabric sticking out side of the batting. Then, flip it over so the patchwork is facing you and trim approximately 1/4″- 1/2″ from all four sides so that your block measures 14.5″x14.5″.
7. Next, create an envelope closure for the backing. From your backing fabric, cut two 11″x14.5″ rectangles. Along the length,  turn the edge 1/4″ under, press, then turn under 1″, then press again. Stitch along the fold to keep in place to create a pretty seam. Repeat on the other rectangle as well.
With right sides facing together, take one rectangle and align it along the left side of the pillow cover. The finished seam you created from the previous step should be facing toward the right. Pin to keep in place, then sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along the perimeter as illustrated by the dashed line below. Start and end your stitch with a back-stitch.
Repeat with the other rectangle, but align it on the right side of the pillow. Lastly, trim the corners to get rid of bulk fabric, and then turn right side out.
Insert the pillow and there you have it! :)
 
For Pillow No.2 (16″ x 12″ pillow cover):
Please note: For this pillow, the same exact technique that was described above (for pillow No.1) was used, except with smaller pieces of fabric. The technique I explained from the first pillow will give you the basic understanding you need to complete this next pillow. That being said, I will not list step-by-step instructions.  Rather, I have listed the order in which the strips should be pieced. Enjoy!
1. From your fabric, cut one 3″ square and a couple 2″ strips from each print (you will trim these strips as needed).
2. Start by placing the 3″ square in the center of the batting, and then quilt it. Next, add strips making sure to trim them with fabric scissors to the correct size. Add the strips in the following order, using the quilt as you go method previously described. For this pillow, I quilted straight lines that ran parallel to all of the seams.
Tip! Fabric can shift while stitching on the batting. Correct for this by keeping the strips aligned and ‘square’ them as necessary. The seams of each successive piece should be at a 90° angle to the previous quilted piece.
Also, please note that your pieces will shift around slightly and the batting will stretch a little – this is completely normal. So don’t expect yours to look as straight as the illustration above. =)
3. From your border fabric, cut one 5-6″ wide strip along the length. With right sides facing together, place the strip along the length of the patchwork as shown below. Overlap the strip with the patchwork as needed to straighten it out, and as mentioned in the “Tip!” above. Sew.
4. Press the strip down, and then quilt lines that run parallel to the seam. Repeat for the top so that the entire batting is covered.
5. Flip the block over so the batting side is facing you. Trim the excess fabric sticking out side of the batting. Then, flip it over so the patchwork is facing you and trim approximately 1/4″- 1/2″ from all four sides so that your block measures 16.5″x12.5″.
6. Next, create an envelope closure for the backing. From your backing fabric, cut two 11″x12.5″ rectangles. Repeat step 7 from Pillow No.1 to create the envelope closure and to finish your pillow.
And that’s it! Quilt as you Go is a fun and different way to quilt. I hope you enjoyed learning this new improvisational technique! Now that you know the concept, you can get really creative with all the other fun Quilt as you Go pillow designs you can think up!
(Above: Paige modeling a Quilt as you Go strip quilt using the Scrumptious collection by Bonnie and Camille).
Come visit me at www.QuiltingintheRain.com for more Quilt as you Go projects. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.
Let your creativity rain!
xoxo
-jera brandvig

Jera Brandvig
Jera Brandvig

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