Hearts Content Decorative Pillow


Greetings Moda Bake Shop readers!  It’s Karen Miller from Redbird Quilt Co.  I blog at Karen’s Quilts, Crows and Cardinals.  I’m excited to share a pillow recipe with you using Laundry Basket Quilts newest fabric line “Heart’s Content”.

I fell * * in love * * with this beautiful fabric and I’m sure you will too!!

This sweet home decor pillow comes together quickly with some simple piecing, a little quilting, and some wool embellishments.  What’s awesome is that you can make two pillows with just one jelly roll and some added yardage.  I hope you enjoy this tutorial!




(1) Jelly Roll Heart’s Content by Laundry Basket Quilts for Moda (42181JR)

  • For pillow sides and back

(1) Half Yard Heart’s Content First Kiss (42186-11)

  • Fussy cut for applique center of pillow

(1) Half Yard muslin

  • For foundation pieces AND backing of quilted pillow front
  • Sub-cut to:
    • (2) 16″ x 8″ foundation pieces
    • (1) 16″ x 30″ backing for quilted pillow front (will not be visible)

(1)  16″ x 30″  batting for pillow front  (Sample was done with Quilters Dream 100% Wool)

(1) 14″ x 28″ Pillow Form



(3-4) 1″ x 18″ Scraps Bunny Hill Wool – Pastel Colors

Used to make optional wool accent flowers (you will LOVE them!)

Aurifil Mako Cotton ~  Aurifil threads aren’t required but are certainly *my favorite* choices.

  • 50 Wt Colors: #2312 (Ermine) for piecing and echo quilting
  • 28 Wt Colors: #2425 (Bright Pink) for free motion outline center panel flowers
  • 12 Wt Colors: #2314 (Beige) and #2375 (Antique Blush) for top stitching pillow flange

Lets get Started:

The pillow front is assembled in 3 sections.  The center section finishes 14″ tall  by 16″ wide and each side section finishes 14″ by 6″ wide.

Seam allowance:  Unless otherwise noted a scant 1/4″ seam allowance was used

Cut Pillow Center:

Using Heart’s Content First Kiss fabric, mark a 14.5″ tall x 16.5″ wide section to fussy cut for the pillow center.


After marking, use a rotary cutter to cut the pillow center 1″ wider and taller — cutting a 15.5″ tall by 17.5″ wide.  We will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance all the way around AND leaving another 1/2″ for quilting.

Set aside.

Prepare Left and Right Sides of Pillow:

The left and right sides of the pillow are prepared by sewing folded jelly roll strips to foundation fabric.

You can use muslin, or another inexpensive fabric for the foundation.    Note:  A tiny bit of the foundation piece will show on the outside edges of the pillow ~ consider using a tea stained muslin that will compliment the Heart’s Content fabric line.  I used Primitive Gatherings Muslin – Time Worn.

You’ll need two 16″ x 8″ pieces of foundation to start.  (They will be trimmed to 15.5″ x 7″ when we’re done).

You’ll also need 8 of your favorite strips from the Heart’s Content Jelly Roll.   I made my left and right sides match using 8 strips.  If you want to make a more scrappy pillow, you can use 16 strips (left and right sides won’t match).    The instructions below outline the method for matching sides using appx 32″ of each strip.


For each of the chosen (8) jelly roll strips press flat, fold in half lengthwise and press again resulting in strips 1.25″ by Width of Fabric.


From each strip, cut (2) 16″ lengths .   (No need to trim selvage – it will get trimmed later).


Prepare the foundation fabric:

Using a piece of 16″ x 8″ muslin, make the following marks to act as a guide for attaching your folded strips:

Mark a pencil line  1.75″ (1 & 3/4″) in from a 16″ edge.  We will refer to this as the outer edge.

Now make 7 more marks each .75″ from the last mark.  It should look like this when you are done marking.


The last mark should be considered the inner edge.  This is the edge that will be sewn to your pillow center.


Attach the strips:

Note:  In the following images, the foundation fabric is flipped so the outer edge is on the left.

Chose one of the 16″ x 1.25″ strips, align the raw edge on the 1.75″ mark (from outer edge) and sew the strip to the foundation along the raw edge using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.


Once the first strip is sewn, there should be a 1/2″ of foundation fabric showing to the outside of the folded edge of the strip.


Now, place the raw edge of the next folded piece on the next marked line (it should overlap the 1st strip by a .5″) and sew it to the foundation piece.


Continue placing and sewing strips until you have 8 strips sewn.


Once all strips are sewn, trim the inner edge flush with the raw edge of the last strip sewn.  The overall width should measure at least 7″ wide including the outer foundation edge.

Note: The width doesn’t need to be perfect — close to or over 7″ will work fine.

DO NOT trim the outer edge (shown to the left on the image below).


Now trim the height of the pillow side to be 15.5″ tall.

If you have selvage on both top and bottom, be sure to trim each end with resulting height of 15.5″ tall.


Repeat this process for the other side, remembering to start sewing on the outer edge.  The last strip sewn will be the one that is closest to the center of the pillow.  Trim as noted above.

Showing the three sections of the pillow front.


Assemble Pillow Front:

To assemble the pillow front, sew the center section to the left and right sections using a scant 1/2″ seam allowance.


Using a 1/2″ seam allowance will make the width of the last folded strip consistent with the other folded strips.

Once the center section is sewn to both side sections, press to set the seams and press the seams toward the center to reduce bulk.


The front of the pillow should should measure 15.5″ x 29.5″ (slightly larger is fine too).

Prepare to Quilt the Pillow Front:

Only the front of the pillow is quilted.

Cut a 16″ x 30″ piece of each backing and batting to sandwich the pillow front.  Remember, the backing will not show once the envelope pillow is completed.

Layout, smooth and secure the backing fabric to the table top.  Blue painters tape works great for this.

Do the same with the batting.  I used 100% Dream Wool for batting.


Lastly, position and smooth the pillow top right side up on the batting.

Smooth and pin baste from the center outward.  Some of the pins are highlighted in the image below.


Now lets get Quilting!

Before we begin free motion quilting, it’s best to stabilize the quilt top.

I choose to top stitch to the left and right sides of the center panel and I love the added interest.

I used Aurifil 12Wt Mako Cotton for three sets of top-stitching on each strip.  When using this heavy-weight thread be sure to put a larger needle in your machine.   Aurifil recommends using a Top Stitch 100/16 needle and 50Wt thread in the bobbin.


I stitched two rows of Aurifil #2314 and later added a row of the beautiful Aurifil #2375.    Before starting, adjust your stitch length to a comfortable 3.50.  This will move along pretty fast and looks just beautiful when you are done.  You *may* need to lessen the top tension on your machine when using 12Wt thread.


I just love the way the Aurifil 12Wt thread works for Top Stitching.  If you have a walking foot for your machine, it is certainly the way to go.  It allows you to stitch through several layers of fabric, batting, and backing without pushing the fabric.


Once you’re done top-stitching,  add a little free motion quilting (FMQ) to the center of the panel.

Learning to free motion quilt allows you to enjoy your piece without sending it out to be quilted.  If you’re uncomfortable with FMQ, you can continue some straight line quilting with a walking foot (jumping over the pretty flowers so they don’t flatten).

If you’re new to FMQ and want to give it a try, here are a few tips:

  • Use a top and bobbin thread color that match
  • Use a complimentary thread color so it doesn’t stand out if you make mistakes (don’t use neon orange 😉
  • Put your darning or free motion foot on
  • Drop your feed dogs on your machine
  • For ease of movement, use a Supreme Slider on the machine bed
  • Use a pair of gloves to grip the quilt sandwich – I use Machingers quilting gloves

For more information, check out these beginner tutorials on my blog — Start here — and there is another one here.

Free Motion Quilting the Center Panel:

On the center section of the pillow I used a 28Wt cotton thread to free motion quilt around the beautiful Heart’s Content flowers.

I was planning to add a whole bunch of wool to this center section, but once I started working with the fabric – it was obvious that it stood on its own – –  it just didn’t need any appliqued wool accents. {happy but sad – I love wool!}

I began the FMQ by outlining the flowers, leaves and stems with Aurifil Mako Cotton 28Wt top thread and 50Wt in the bobbin.   I just love how the heavier weight thread accents the flowers.  Although Aurifil recommends a Top Stitch 90/14 needle, I managed just fine using an 80/12.


After outlining with the Aurifil Mako Cotton 28Wt thread I switched to Mako Cotton 50Wt thread to echo stitch the background fabric.

Aurifil’s 50 Wt thread is perfect for dense quilting.  It allows you to backtrack without buildup and stitches without breaks and lint.  *love*

Choose a flower and follow around it with your needle and thread, outlining the perimeter until you can’t go any further.  Then double back and stitch in the opposite direction.  I make several echo’s around each flower before moving to a new one — eventually they will come together in the middle.


Another view of the echo quilting…


Once you’re done with the FMQ on the pillow front you’ll want to trim the top and bottom so the pillow height measures at least 15″.  (It should already measure at least 29″ wide.)

Note: If your pillow is smaller adjust your seam allowance on the following steps so your finished size is as close to 14″ by 28″ as possible.


Important:  The above measurement is necessary to trim the envelope pieces.  The height of the envelope pieces will need to match the height of the pillow front.

Prepare Pillow Back:

To maximize the use of this beautiful Jelly Roll, I decided to use Jelly Roll strips to make the pillow back.

However, anticipating making two pillows from this jelly roll, I set aside 8 more strips for the front of the 2nd pillow.   I then divided the remaining strips for two pillow backs.  (…and I still had 8 strips leftover — woot woot!)

Choose 8 Jelly Roll strips and sew the long sides together with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press to set your seams and press the seams in one direction.   The resulting piece should measure 16.5 by WOF.


Now subcut this large piece into:

One 15″ by 16.5″section (on sample the strips were oriented vertically)


One 15″ by 19″ section (on sample the strips were oriented horizontally)MBS_FinishBack_3625

Finish an edge on each one of the above sections by turning a raw edge over 1/2″, pressing, turning another 1/2″, pressing, and then top stitching to hold the finished edge.


Complete the Pillow:

Be sure that all three pieces (pillow front, envelope left & envelope right) are the same height.  The sample measured 15″ tall.

Begin by positioning the pillow front, right side up on a table.

Next layer the vertical strip back section right side down on the pillow top, ensuring the finished edge is toward toward the center and the raw edges are aligned at the outer, top and bottom of the pillow top (see below).


Before pinning the outer edge, lift up the back, fold the last strip in half and pin it so it won’t get caught up in the stitching.  Be sure though, that the top and bottom edge of the last strip is resting flat where the allowance stitching will fall.


Lastly, add the horizontal strip, right side down on the opposite end of the pillow.  Again align raw edges at the outer, top and bottom of the pillow.  The finished edge of the horizontal strip should be near the center of the pillow (within a few inches).  Pin in place.


Using a walking foot, sew around the entire outside of the pillow layers using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  The envelope opening will allow you to turn the pillow right side out.

I always backtrack when stitching over the finished edge of the envelope sections.


Almost done !!

Trim excess fabric from the corners.


Turn right side out through the envelope opening and fill with a pre-formed 14″ x 28″ pillow!

Because I just couldn’t let this sweet pillow go without adding some wool, I decided to make some pretty wool accent flowers.


I used the beautiful Bunny Hill Pastel Wool and whipped up these sweet accents.

Stop by my blog in the next day or so and I’ll share the steps with you – they are really simple and give the pillow a sweet touch. They would also work well as a hair piece or notebook accent for that little girl in your life.

Here is an image of the pillow back


And another image of the front:


14″ x 28″ pillow


A jelly roll will yield 2 pillows of this design with 8 leftover Jelly Roll strips!

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial.

I would LOVE to have you hop over to the blog (or Facebook, or Instagram — see links below) and peek at my tutorials, projects and other fun stuff.  You never know what you’ll find there 😉

Now let’s go sew…  Cheers!

Karen Miller
{Redbird Quilt Co}

27 comments on “Hearts Content Decorative Pillow

  1. lacefaerie says:

    Another beautiful project! Excellent choices on the fabrics!

  2. Marlene says:

    I’m totally in love with this pillow! Your detailed tutorial is simply wonderful and will be so easy to follow. Thank you for sharing this with us – I can’t wait to make one up! blessings, marlene

  3. Julianna says:

    Wonderful pillow and great tutorial!

  4. CruiseFan says:

    Absolutely great tutorial – easy to follow.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Very elaborate workmanship.(Nevertheless not my home decoration style – sorry)

  5. I am totally in love with your pillow! What a great use of the strips. Your quilting is awesome! Thank you for such a lovely tutorial! It would be great for a pillow swap!

  6. Mary says:

    THe pillow is beautiful. Thanks for the great tips using different Aurufil threads!

  7. Barb N says:

    I read clear through this tutorial, even though I’m not planning (at least not at the moment) to make this pillow. I never do that! But your photos were so nice and instructions so clear, I just kept reading. I love the edge work on the pillow top, and your quilting, too!

  8. Debra says:

    Absolutely stunning pillow! Your instructions are very thorough and inspired me to start this lovely project. I would have never thought to use jelly rolls like this. Wow!

  9. Sandra D says:

    Gorgeous! I love this line of fabric. Thanks for sharing

  10. Ethel Tobin says:

    I saw this pillow on Facebook and fell in love with it. I was thinking of how to use some jelly rolls that I had and this is the perfect project for them. Thank you for the details and this will make a great pillow for my Christmas gifts. I enjoy your blog and all the information that you give to all of us.
    Thank you, Ethel

  11. Betty Grove says:

    This is one of the most beautiful projects ever posted. Thank you so very much for sharing. The two shades of thread is a wonderful idea and using jelly rolls is always fun.

  12. Janet says:

    This is the most beautiful projects I have ever seen on any site. I MUST make this one. It will look awesome on my bed with the quilt I made with a mixture of fabrics from Moda… But mostly Laundry Basket fabrics.

  13. Louise says:

    Gorgeous! I love the fabric you chose, and can see how the pillow would work with other designs. You know I have some beautiful bird fabric…

    The multiple layers of top stitched edge pieces are what really makes this a standout design, though. Very original and creative!

  14. Sue says:

    I love the fabric choices and the workmanship-Beautiful

  15. Jane says:

    Absolutely stunning project and loev your tutorial! I will be jumping over to your blog to check out your other talents soon. Thanks to both of you, Moda Bake Shop and Karen Miller.

  16. France says:

    That’s a gorgeous pillow! And the fabric is so beautiful! Pinned.

  17. This is an absolutely stunningly beautiful quilt! Thank you for the awesome tutorial!

  18. Marsha Smith says:

    I love the pillow, it’s beautiful. But it is the tutorial that makes me your newest fan. Thank you, I love the detailed pictures of the quilting and knowing exactly which thread and weight and needle you used.

  19. jan says:

    Beautiful pillow and a great , easy to follow tutorial! This is so pretty Karen! Thank you for all your hard work!

  20. Nancy Myers says:

    I like this project and hope to start a few of them after the holidays.

  21. VickiT says:

    Absolutely gorgeous pillow Karen! Your tutorials are always full of great detail as well. Thank you so much. I love seeing tutorials that give you everything from start to finish, including the quilting you’ve used.

  22. What a beautiful pillow Karen and a fantastic tutorial!

  23. Karen says:

    Just love it, so beautiful

  24. Sherry Rioux says:

    Absolutely stunning….soooooo vintage-looking

  25. Elaine says:

    What an absolutely beautiful pillow. It’s too advanced for me, but I admire your detailed work and tutorial so much. Just a really stunning piece. Thank you!

  26. quilthappy says:

    Thank you for such a thorough and detailed tutorial! I learned SEW much about needles, threads, FMQ, etc. reading through it and especially drooling over all the awesome step by step pics you provided. I’m going to save this tute and go check out your blog site. Again, thanks! 🙂

  27. This is soooo pretty! I never thought about using a jelly roll like this! Thank you for the very thorough and beautifully illustrated tutorial!

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