I spent a lot of time as a kid making crafts all year round, but the holidays were a time of traditions, from decorating gingerbread houses and making holiday cookies, to creating new ornaments and crafting the perfect present (I am still particularly proud of a coupon wallet I sewed for my mom one year). Things haven’t really changed over the years: we still love to decorate gingerbread houses and make holiday cookies. And while I might not be making new ornaments for the tree (well, at least not every year) I’m still big into making holiday decorations and gifts!
One of my favorite quilted projects to make is a pillow. It’s the perfect project: it’s quick to make and easy to store when not in use (just swap that pillow cover out for another one and presto: it’s like a mini makeover for your couch). With this project in mind, I designed my new Timberline Block for this holiday season.
With its minimal design, the Timberline Block is an ode to the bold beauty found in the starkness of winter. It’s a great pattern to play with your fabric picks: it’ll look good in solids, prints, or a mix of both!
For my pillow, I decided to go with a selection of fabrics from Stoffabric Denmark’s Magic Christmas collection. The metallic accents add the perfect bit of sparkle and the classic designs play beautifully with the modern patchwork of my Timberline Block (also, they were an absolute dream to work with: I can’t stop thinking about how crisp my pressed seams were).
These are the fabrics I used:
- Fabric A: Zig Zag Lines in Cream Gold
- Fabric B: Thin Stripes in Cream Gold
- Fabric C: Spruce Branch in Cream Gold
- Background and Backing: Pine Branches in Green Gold
Side note: When it comes time to pick fabric, there are so. many. options. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly! So, to help, I’ve pulled together a guide to my favorite festive fabric pulls here (and bonus, you can get everything you need here on fabric.com!)
Here's what you'll need
While I may be (definitely) biased towards my Timberline Block pattern, there are tons of wonderful holiday themed quilt block patterns out there to choose from. And the best part, you can pretty much use any of them to turn into a quilted pillow. But, if you’d like to follow along, make sure to grab your Timberline Block pattern from Broadcloth Studio (the pattern is available for FREE to fabric.com readers now through the December 31, 2020: just use the code TIMBER at checkout to get your copy now).
- Fabric A, B, C (for the trees): ⅛ yd. of each
- Background Fabric: ½ yd.
- Backing Fabric: ½ yd.
- Batting: ~21” x 21”
- Fabric Scrap (to quilt the pillow top): ~21” x 21”
- Pillow Insert (I like to use one that’s just slightly larger than the finished pillow top)
- Thread (I used Aurifil Cotton 50wt in 2600 for piecing and 2905 for quilting)
- Sewing Machine with a Walking Foot attachment
- Favorite quilting and sewing notions
Step 1: Make Your Pillow Top
If you’re making the Timberline Block, the key thing to remember when you’re sizing up the pattern to a pillow is that you don’t need your 2” x 10” and 2” x 13” background fabric pieces for the border of the block. Instead you’re going to cut out the following to make your pillow top:
- 3½” x 10”
- 3½” x 19”
- 6½” x 10”
- 6½” x 19”
Other than that, you can follow the pattern! Make your block through Step 3 on Page 5 (right before the warning to “stop here if you’re making anything other than a block”). Then, instead of sewing on the borders, sew the 3½” x 10” to the right of the block and the 6½” x 10” to the left, pressing your seams as you go. Next, sew the 3½” x 19” to the bottom and the 6½” x 19” to the top, pressing your seams as you go.
Step 2: Quilt Your Pillow Top
One of my favorite things about making pillows is that it’s a great way to use up scraps of fabric for the pillow top backing as well as scraps of batting: it’s a win-win! For the pillow top, you’re going to need backing that is 21 x 21” (yardage or a patchwork of scraps) and batting to match.
Make your quilt sandwich, placing the backing fabric wrong side up on a flat surface, followed by the batting, and then the quilt top right side up. Baste using your preferred method and quilt as desired.
I always love the clean lines of a basketweave pattern, so that’s what I decided to do with my pillow top, but there are so many different ways you could quilt this top! I think it’d look especially darling with some hand quilted details: check out my #quiltbroidery how-tos for some inspiration for how to add some stars to the “sky” of the block. Once you’ve got your pillow top quilted, square up the quilt, trimming the excess batting and backing.
Step 3: Make Your Pillow
When it comes time to finish your pillow, you’ve got a decision to make: what kind of pillow enclosure do you want to make? My go-to is the envelope closure method (it’s easy and doesn’t include zippers). Not sure what closure method you want to use? Check out this great how-to reference here on fabric.com for other methods for finishing throw pillows.
To finish your pillow using the envelope closure method, you’re going to need to cut two 14” x 19” pieces of backing fabric. Hem both pieces along one of the long sides by folding over twice at ½” and sewing a ¼” seam from the edge.
Place your quilted pillow top right side up, then place your back pieces right side down (lining up the unfinished edges with the edges of the pillow top: there will be overlap of the back pieces!). Make sure the long edges of your back pieces line up with the top and bottom of the quilt. Pin in place.
Sew all the way around the edge of the pillow with a ½” seam, backstitching when you start and stop. There is no need to leave a space to turn the pillow inside out as you’ve created your “exit” with the envelope closure.
Trim your corners, turn inside out, fill with your pillow form, give the pillow a hug and step back and admire!
How easy was that?!! Pillows really are the perfect last-minute holiday project, whether as a gift or to help spruce up your space. And no matter what your go-to holiday color scheme is, there are tons of different fabrics to suit your (or your very-lucky-gift-recipient’s) style. Make sure to check out my top festive fabric pulls for some ideas!