Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block

Sew a Pillow from a Leftover Orphan Quilt Block Tutorial by Nancy Zieman

Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sew a Pillow from a Leftover Orphan Quilt Block Tutorial by Nancy Zieman
Along our quilting journey, we try new techniques and test interesting ideas. Sometimes these valuable lessons and attempts yield “orphan blocks” or leftover quilt blocks that don’t belong to a larger quilt. Take one or more of these treasured quilt blocks and sew them into throw pillows. It’s an easy idea that doesn’t require any additional quilting!

The block Nancy is featuring today was created from a leftover block from her 2016 Quilt Extravaganza. This Be My Valentine block—and soon to be pillow—was made with the Carefree Curves Template.

All the quilt blocks in the 2016 Quilt Extravaganza, are created using contrasting strips of fabric strata. If you don’t have a leftover block of your own, sew this Be My Valentine block from Nancy’s February 2016 Block of the Month posting.

Be My Valentine Block Pillow

Be My Valentine Block by Nancy Zieman

Make your Quilt Block into a Pillow

Supplies

  • One quilt block 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
  • 3/8 yard fabric for pillow back
  • 7″ length of hook and loop tape
  • One 12″ pillow form insert 
This pillow tutorial will work with any 12-1/2″ quilt block. Nancy used the Be My Valentine block for her pillow.

Envelope Pillow Back

  • Create the pillow back using two fabric rectangles cut 12-1/2″ x 9-1/4″ along with a 7″ length of sew-on hook & loop tape.
  • Separate the hook & loop tape pieces.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman
  • Serge or zigzag one long edge of each of the pillow back rectangles.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman

  • Center the top edge of the sew-on hook & loop tape strips to each rectangle 1-1/2″ from the serged or zigzagged edge using the 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman
  • Topstitch the hook & loop tape to the fabric.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman

  •  Fold under a 3″ hem along hook & loop tape edges.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman

  • Topstitch the hems.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman

  • Overlap the rectangles, matching the hook & loop tape strips. The pillow back is now the same size as the pillow front: 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman
  • With 1/4″ seam allowance, baste the overlap along right and left edges.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block by Nancy Zieman
  • Stack the front and back pillow pieces, right sides together.
  • Shape the corners of the front and back pieces to prevent pokey corners.
  • Measure down and across 4″ and mark with non-permanent pen.
  • Measure in 1/2″ along both sides of the corners and mark.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy ZiemanHow to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman

  • Connect the lines using a ruler. (Optional)
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman
  • Place rulers at 4″ measurement along cut edge and taper to 1/2″ mark; trim.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman

  • Repeat on all four corners.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman

 

Consider making a template of the size of the shaped corners from card stock to quickly mark the pillow corners.

 

  • Stitch front and back pillow pieces, using 1/4″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman

  • “Wrap” the corners: Fold the fabric along the stitch line at the bottom corner; pin.

How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman

 

  • Sew over the wrapped fold.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman
  •  Release hook & loop tape, turn right side out.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman
  • Gently push all four corners out with a Point2Point turning tool.
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman
  • Insert a pillow form. Ta dah!
How to Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Quilt Block by Nancy Zieman

Do you have quilt blocks in other sizes?

Use this handy reference chart to create an envelope-style pillow back for any quilt block!

Watch The Best of Sewing With Nancy online at NancyZieman.com

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Happy Sewing,

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

Content in this feed is © copyright 2018 by Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.
The FTC requires us to tell you that Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC has provided products by other companies in the course of doing business. The FTC requires us to advise you to take this information into consideration when reading this posting.
Make sure you are subscribed to Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC enews mailing list so you won’t miss a thing. Sign up at nancyzieman.com/blog/enews. And join us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

55 Comments

  • diane c
    February 4, 2017

    I wonder if I can count that high — have a drawer full of finished blocks, half finished blocks. I think I am going to have to look for a good deal on pillow forms and start my Christmas sewing very early this year!

  • Betty L
    February 4, 2017

    Have not counted them lately but do know there are quite a few. Just never knew what to do with these blocks

  • Carol B
    February 4, 2017

    When my girls were young, I had what I called the local chapter of “Socks Without Partners”, the collection of those poor abondoned socks left after laundry day. Now that I’m into quilting, I’ve noticed a growing number of leftover half square triangles, practice blocks and orphaned remnants from many projects. There are hundreds of tiny HSTs alone. Pillows could be the answer for my overcrowded stash! Thank you for the instructions and the six years of watching Sewing With Nancy shows since I retired.

  • Lillian K
    February 4, 2017

    I am guessing I have over 25 “orphan” blocks now. I have made a few into pillows, table toppers and tote bag fronts. In making my pillows, I have always just sewn the open side together, BUT after seeing your tutorial I will definitely use the envelope with hook & loop tape for my closure method. Thank you for the great lesson!

  • Clovis
    February 4, 2017

    I don’ t have any blocks, but I could make a whole lot with the set.

  • Sheila
    February 4, 2017

    Thanks for the great idea. I probably have around 20 or so.

  • nancy
    February 4, 2017

    Oh my! More then I thought! About 20!

  • Sandra Lanter
    February 4, 2017

    Probably just about 20, but this is a great idea to use them up! I meet once a month with two different small groups of friends who do not sew and at Christmas this would be a good little gift. I guess I could make pot holders out of them also. Thanks.

  • Bridget
    February 4, 2017

    I have at least 50 orphan blocks. Lately I have been making the smaller ones in to pin cushions.

  • Suzanne R
    February 4, 2017

    Not too many- only about 6 I won in a raffle at a local quilt show. :-). But I want to make these pillows! Great info- thanks.

  • Karen L.
    February 4, 2017

    Hmm, I like to say “too” as in too many but probably have around 25. I am hoping that my quilt group will eventually so a project using spare blocks. Thanks for the pillow instructions.

  • Laura
    February 4, 2017

    Only a few, just gave a bunch to a friend who makes them into quilts for charity.

  • Linda E in AZ
    February 4, 2017

    Maybe only 12-15. I’ve tried to use them for other projects like putting one on a Tshirt front.
    Thanks!

  • Ellen
    February 4, 2017

    Love this idea…love hearts and love the crazy quilt look!
    I have not counted but guess maybe around a dozen that
    could become great pillows. Thanks for the fantastic idea!
    Would love to use those rulers to create something wonderful!

  • Ellen
    February 4, 2017

    Love the idea, I am a big fan of hearts and crazy quilts so this is fantastic!
    I have about a dozen blocks that would work with this technique, can hardly wait to start. That ruler looks great!
    Thanks for another wonderful idea!

  • Susan Spiers
    February 4, 2017

    Love your pillow! – approximately 10 orphan blocks – some I have plans for- others would be perfect for this great idea! Thank you,Susan

  • Carolyn Langley
    February 4, 2017

    So happy to see this pillow idea, I’ve used some blocks, but, always had a problem sizing , thank you. I have about 12 left over blocks, who need a new purpose..love your web site. Thank you. From Nova Scotia Canada.

  • Linda Rupe
    February 4, 2017

    It depends at what point it becomes a block!

  • Bonnye
    February 4, 2017

    I have about 12 blocks. I was given 10 blocks when a friend downsized.

  • Ruth A. Pray
    February 4, 2017

    Don’t have any blocks made yet, that’s next thing to do. Going to try and make some pillows.

  • Starla
    February 4, 2017

    I have 10 or 12 — made mostly to practice before making the “real” ones — flaws and all, I treasure them, as they show how much I’ve been learning! (And they’re pretty, too!)

  • Jennifer Reinke
    February 4, 2017

    I have about 12–LOVE this idea…and somewhat ashamed I did not think of this myself. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Hazel Davidson
    February 4, 2017

    I probably have more than 20 orphan blocks. I make a new block before starting a new project and sometimes it just doesn’t speak to me and when moving on, this block just gets left behind.

  • Pat
    February 4, 2017

    I have 25 “orphan” blocks that I made for a class I took on beginning quilting several years ago. There was supposed to be a follow up class making a sampler quilt from them. That never happened. This pillow idea will be wonderful to use some of the best. I might not want to show all of them…it was a beginning class after all!

  • Gina M
    February 4, 2017

    I have very few orphan blocks. I use them for quilt labels, mug mats or sew up the corners into fabric bowls/boxes. I *do* have lots of UFO’s, however! Maybe some will be re-purposed into a different sewing project…

  • Margaret
    February 4, 2017

    I have maybe 10 orphan blocks. Time to start thinking about some throw pillows!

  • B Lepech
    February 4, 2017

    Not enough ~ these pillows make quick,easy gifts!

  • Cindy Breene
    February 4, 2017

    I probably have 20-30 quilt blocks, some from swaps, some I didn’t like, some I got too busy to finish! Using these blocks for pillows is a great idea! Thanks! Nancy & Team

  • Sunni
    February 4, 2017

    I have about 8 blocks – many from where the points didn’t make it!

  • Tina
    February 4, 2017

    I have a few and they are different sizes so thank you for this idea with different sized pillows.

  • Sandra D, Joliet
    February 4, 2017

    I have about 3 larger orphans but too many to recall in smaller sizes. I may sew 4 together to make a larger pillow front. I love and use the technique to avoid dog ears which I dislike but I never folded and sewed it over after sewing the seam so I may try that next time. I really appreciate the chart.

  • Judy Reames
    February 4, 2017

    Now I have an excuse to make blocks. What great gift ideas.

  • Kathy Renz
    February 4, 2017

    How many orphan blocks? That depends upon how I want to define orphan blocks. I only have 2 or 3 that are true orphans and should probably be made into pillows.
    However, I have about 50 blocks that belong to block of the month quilts that I never finished. If I give up on the idea of finishing these quilts, everyone I know can have a pillow for Christmas!
    Thank you for the cutting guide for pillow backs. That’s a nice time-saver.

  • Barbara R.
    February 4, 2017

    I have about 15 – 20. Eleven are from a sampler class, and if I made the last block, I could have a quilt and still have some orphan blocks for pillows!

  • Marty
    February 4, 2017

    Have 2 orphan blocks which I’ve decided to put into the middle of table toppers.

  • Lillian K
    February 4, 2017

    I have over 2 dozen orphan blocks. I have made some into pillows, tote bags and wall hangings.
    I like the method for the pillow that Nancy describes above.
    Thank-you, I will be using the envelope with hook and loop tape on my next pillow.

  • DebbieW
    February 4, 2017

    My best guesstimate of how many orphan blocks are in my stash…4.

  • Sally Ann
    February 4, 2017

    I easily have half a dozen orphan blocks….turning them into pillows is a great idea!

  • Deb
    February 4, 2017

    At first I was going to say only 1or 2 unil I started adding them in my head. I have way more than I thought!! about 20 that are not sewn into projects.

  • Karen
    February 4, 2017

    I don’t have any. I do have a pattern that I’ve been wanting to make into a pillow but never understood how to do it until today. She is a fantastic teacher!

  • Karen M
    February 4, 2017

    I only have about 5 — but I’ve only been quilting about 1 1/2 years.

  • Mary Ann Stauffacher
    February 4, 2017

    I have at least a dozen that aren’t going in a quilt project. I really appreciate your directions. I always ended up with pointy corners and could never determine why until I watched your video. Thank you.

  • Mary Jo Pigott Groom
    February 5, 2017

    I just came home from an embroidery weekend with an orphan block and read your blog. Great timing! Now I know what I’m doing with it. Thanks Nancy.

  • Barbara M
    February 5, 2017

    I have an embroidery machine pattern I stitched out to sample for a wall hanging. Perfect for a pillow. Thanks for the idea.

  • Linda Smith
    February 5, 2017

    What a Wonderful idea !! Thank you so much I have too many orphan blocks !! But know I have the purpose and the directions on what to do with them !! They will all now be adopted !!
    Thanks so Much Linda

  • kathy
    February 5, 2017

    I have at least 10 orphan blocks. This does not include the blocks I’ve started but have not finished. So many ideas and not enough time to do everything that interests me.

  • Cindy Schultz
    February 6, 2017

    To many to count. What a great idea. Thanks for showing us a great way to use up some of my blocks.

  • Shirley Clark
    February 6, 2017

    I have a few, but most of mine are some I found in yard sales and some from my mom’s stash. I had good intentions to use them!

  • Deena Paine
    February 6, 2017

    I’ve just found at least 10 so far!

  • Marilyn S
    February 7, 2017

    I have 14 right now.

  • Cassy L.
    February 7, 2017

    I don’t have very many orphan blocks. There are only about a half dozen.

  • Diana
    February 7, 2017

    I have 2 orphan blocks which I plan to use for a pillow.

  • Jackie T
    February 7, 2017

    I have about 12 orphan blocks but they vary in size. I do have one that will make a great pillow. Thanks for your great instructions.

  • Tammy
    February 7, 2017

    I have four that were just given to me. I love the envelope idea and am so glad I now have instructions!

  • Joanne P.
    February 14, 2017

    I have at least 10. Pillows sound like a good way to use them and make some birthday and Christmas gifts.

Post a Comment