February 7, 2014

Hourglass Steps Pillow Tutorial

As part of Amy's Pillow Collective this week, I've dreamed up a little pillow tutorial! If you've just arrived via Amy's blog, welcome! :)

I decided to make a pillow out of my beloved courthouse steps blocks, but just a wee bit differently than I have in the past. Something with contrast is always lovely, so I decided on using colours with low volume, and arranging them to look like almost like hourglass blocks.

This is a great project if you have leftover strips and scraps from other projects. Goodness knows we have plenty of those!

What you'll need:
9 - 1.25" square centres
18 strips of colours - 1.25" x 21" long each
About a 1/4 yard worth of low volume fabrics cut into 1.25" strips
24" square backing for the pillow top
23" square piece of batting
Two pieces (20.5" x 13.5" each) of fabric for the pillow back

For each low volume section, cut:
1.25" x 1.25"
1.25" x 2.75"
1.25" x 4.25"
1.25" x 5.75"

For each colour section, cut:
1.25" x 2.75"
1.25" x 4.25"
1.25" x 5.75"
1.25" x 7.25"

Start by sewing the 1.25" square low volume pieces to the top and bottom of a centre square. Press, trim, and sew the 1.25" x 2.75" strips of colour fabric to either side.

There, you have your first steps.


Trim, and repeat thrice more until you get a block that measures 7.25" (unfinished).

I chose to mix up the low volume fabrics since they all have different colours to them (black, grey, yellow, cream, white), and I didn't want them to stand out too much against the coloured blocks. All mixed up, they become sort of uniform in their value. You could use one single fabric for the background, or group them like I have the coloured sections, whatever looks the best to you.

Here are my first three blocks :) Hubba hubba.

If you do it right, you'll start cultivating a wonderful mess :)

Make nine blocks and arrange them until you're happy with the layout, and sew them together. I like to snap a photo of my layout on my phone for reference since I'm usually too lazy to label the squares. Yay, technology.


Once they're sewn together, layer your backing, batting and pillow top, and baste. I used a white batting for this project since my low volume fabrics have mostly white backgrounds.

(Also, my mottled hand look like I have liver spots. Sigh. Tis' the plight of a pale girl...)

Quilt as desired. I went the hand quilting route and regretted it almost immediately because holy wow does it take forever. And my little fingers were quite sore after. But, my DVR is empty! Silver lining! I actually really enjoy hand quilting, but it's probably not something you undertake when pressed for time. Anyway, the pain goes away when you see the beautiful texture it creates. I mean, look at it!

Alright, back to the tutorial...

Trim the pillow top. The blocks finish at 6.75" square, and the pillow top should measure 20.5" square when finished.

Layer your pillow top and the two pieces for the pillow backing with right sides facing. Pin or use Wonder Clips if you prefer. I do. I love those little cute devils. Sew 1/4" all around, taking care to backstitch at the corners and where the edges of the pillow back start. There'll be plenty of pulling when you insert and remove your pillow inserts, so you want to make sure they're nice and secure.

Snip all the four little corners off about 1/8" away from where the two seams meet so you can turn the pillow out nicely. Once you've turned the pillow out, press the edges if necessary. The pillow should measure about 19.75" square, so a 20" pillow insert is probably ideal.

Optional: Then run around your house like a crazy person trying to find the right sized insert but only manage to find five that are far too small. Wake your husband up and annoy him with stupid questions, then remove one of your sofa pillow inserts and thank the heavens when it's the perfect size while avoiding the glare of the aforementioned angry husband. 

And there you have it, a finished Hourglass Steps Pillow :) I hope you enjoyed that and found it useful. If you have any questions, please ask! But if the question is whether I know I'm crazy, the answer is yes, yes, and yes.

I think I'm going to need to make a quilt with this pattern because it just needs to exist. Am I right, people???

Anyway, there've been so many gorgeous pillows made by gorgeous quilters this past week, and below is a list of links to all of them. I hope you find one you like (or two, or three... I won't judge) and make it!


Amy Ellis
April Rosenthal
Lisa Calle




Christina Lane
Heather Bostic
Audrie Bidwell (You are here)
Amanda Herring


Here's more details on the Pillow Collective... and there's prizes to be won!

13 comments:

Patrina Odette said...

I love the fabrics you chose, and the size of your courthouse steps! You always explain things in such a way that makes a project seem doable, even for a beginner like me. Thank you for the tutorial. This is such a perfect pillow, Audrie!

house on hill road said...

gah! this is gorgeous! i might have to make a quilt like it, too. so so pretty!

Karen H said...

Awesome pillow, thanks for the tutorial! I will definitely be making some of these - might have to make a quilt to go with them, too. :)

Pamela McGuire said...

Love!

mascanlon said...

Wonderful pillow! think it will have to go on the list. And the tutorial is great, thank you.

Kar said...

Gorgeous! Great tutorial. :)

Beth said...

Great color like you always do. Love handquilting, texture too.

Jeanie said...

Freaking amazing!!!!! I think an entire quilt with your tutorial would be super awesome! Not too sure about hand quilting that size though:/ Thanks for teaching:)

Danielle said...

Most definitely needs to grow up to be a mahusive quilt. What kind of thread are you using to hand quilt? Perle but not 8, right? It looks a bit finer. Anyway - love, love, love.

Amy - Amy's Creative Side said...

I love everything about your pillow Audrie! Thanks for sharing :)

DeborahGun said...

beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

jeifner said...

A quilt like that totally needs to be made! Love all the small pieces in the piecing. I may have to only partially complete the last step and just run around like a crazy person, but with joy that I'd managed to make it.

Carla said...

Awesome ( and funny) as usual. Love the hand quilting

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