March 15th, 2006
I made this pillow to go with the Cotton Candy quilt that I made earlier this month. I used both fabrics that were ruled out along with some greens and blacks. This was pretty fun to make and, like the quilt, very rewarding! Bird in the Hand makes these often and always uses the most beautiful color combinations, which after trying, is pretty hard to do. After I spent the time figuring out the pattern and constructing a diagram and measurements (okay I did this after I cut all the pieces and already had it layed out, but still!), I decided to make a little how-to for everyone. I realize this is probably common knowledge, but should everyone really have to use math?! Click through if you want to try it out and I apologize in advance if I messed anything up in the how-to.
How to: Make a Log Cabin Pillow
Posted here, you will find instructions on how to make the log cabin-ish pillow that I made, as well as the traditional way. But first, follow along on how I made my version. If you need a close-up of any image, click on it and it will take you to a larger, clearer version on Flickr. I am not a professional seamstress by ANY means, so let me know if you find any errors (and please be nice to me if you do! ;))
Step 1: Choose a color palette and pick out 10 or so fabrics that fit the bill. Lay them all out next to each other to make sure they go – not necessarily match.
Step 2: A note before cutting your pieces: It might be a good idea to cut the pieces a half inch to an inch longer than the diagram-suggested sizes. You can always trim them to fit after stitching a few pieces together and this will give you some breathing room. HOWEVER, you will need to keep cuts 1 and 2 accurate, as they determine the remainder of the piecing. Cut your pieces into strips according to the measurements posted in the diagram. Make sure to keep in mind which fabrics you want showcased, which ones you want more of, and which ones you want less.
Step 7: Place piece 4 according to diagram and pin, right sides together, to pieces 1, 2, and 3 that you already stitched together. Stitch piece 4 in place. Remove pins and iron seams flat. Continue in this way until all pieces — through 15 — are stitched together and the seams are ironed flat.
Step 8: Place pieced pillow front on top of batting with the wrong side facing the batting, or right side up. I used some leftover quilting batting. Pin in place. Cut the batting to the same size as the pillow front.
Step 9: Place your needle in the center of pieces 1 and 2 and begin stitching, turning the needle to form a square shape; it sort of looks like a maze. I made my lines about an inch apart. This quilting pattern is very forgiving, so try to be straight, but don’t get too caught up if your lines aren’t perfect. Keep stitching your continuous square until the entire pillow front has been quilted.
Step 10: For the back pieces, you want to cut one piece that is 16″ x 20″ and another that is 9″ x 20. Cut two pieces of batting to the same size. Pin the batting to the cloth and quilt in whichever manner you please. I did this freeform. Note: using the batting on the back is optional.
Step 11: There will be two edges showing on the back. In order to finish the edges, you can either hem and stitch or make/use a binding. I hemmed one and used a binding for the outer layer. To make the binding, cut a strip of cloth that is 3.5″ x 20″ and iron in half. Unfold the strip and place the wrong side facing you. Using the iron mark as a guide, press the raw edges in to line up with the iron mark. Repeat this with the other side.
Step 13: Place the 15.5″ x 20″ back piece on top of the front side and first back piece. Line this piece up to the other side of the front pillow cover. You want both finished edges to be in the center of the pillow and the unfinished edges lined up with the front piece’s edges.Pin in place and trim edges. Sew along edges using a 1″ seam.
Step 14: Turn the pillow inside out and you’re finished. Congratulations!
To make a 17″ x 17″ pillow, use 1/2″ seams instead of 1/4″ seams
To make a 12″ x 12″ regular log cabin pillow, adjust to these sizes:
1,2 = 2×2