June 5, 2013

Tori's Pillow

My boyfriend’s little sister had her 11th birthday this week.  We’re taking her out to the movies tomorrow afternoon and I wanted to bring her something hand made with her birthday gift.  She’s already a crafty little girl and loves to make beaded bracelets and necklaces.  When I am there doing a little bit of hand work, she loves to watch me sew, too!  So, I picked up a little bracelet kit and a peace sign cross stitch kit that I plan on working on with her, as well as the first Harry Potter book.  She’s at the same age I was when I started reading those books and I hope she comes to love them as much as I do! 


I debated for quite a while on what to make for her to add to her birthday gift.  I contemplated making a big floor cushion for her or a quillow for travelling on the volleyball bus next year.  Both of these would be great gifts and I will probably still make them for her soon, but I needed something quicker, smaller, and something that required little to no purchase of supplies.  So, I sat down with my little sampler bottle of wine, and my sketch book and worked on ideas for a throw pillow for her bedroom that would be just for her! I toyed with some peace sign ideas and some simple patchwork ideas as well, but ended up being the most inspired by the letter “T” for Tori. 

I think the design turned out great!  I set my “T”s on a white background and used assorted bright colors for the “T”s.  It turned out so cute and modern and I wanted to be sure to keep it that way.  Therefore, I chose simple straight line quilting instead of making the mistake I made with my baby girl quilt last week and ruining the modern effect with a quilting design that was too traditional.

I decided to use squares only patchwork for the back of the pillow, but to keep it fun and modern I chose to make my squares only 1”!  I generally prefer to work a bit bigger so that things come together more quickly.  So, these tiny little squares were a bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad I chose to push myself. 

I allowed the squares to be placed randomly which was also out of my comfort zone.  I like to have control and know exactly where each piece is going to lie, so it took a lot of patience for me to let random happen. When my one inch pillow back was done, I quilted it with the same straight lines as the front of the pillow. 

Instead of picking up a pillow form or fiberfil, I used an old pillow that we had laying around the house and recycled the stuffing into this great new pillow!  The old pillow really did fit in with the house trailer décor and my boyfriend’s love of wildlife, so now that the pillow is deflated and tucked away he seems to miss it.  I’m glad I didn’t throw it out since he wants me to restuff it and put it back.  There’s a new post for another day! 

I hope that Tori loves her pillow as much as I do.  I kind of want to keep it for myself!  I’d love to hear what you think of Tori’s pillow, too! 


If you want to make Tori’s Pillow for that special “T” in your life, here are your instructions!
The pillow finishes at 17” square.

Pillow Front

From assorted colored prints cut:
13 rectangles 4” X 2”
13 rectangles 2” x 2.5”

For each “T” you need one set of these rectangles, so from each print cut one of each size rectangle.

From white background print cut:

12 rectangles 4” x 2”
8 rectangles 6” x 2.5”
6 rectangles 1.5” x 2.5”
4 rectangles 5” x 2.5”

Once you have all of your pieces cut, follow the diagram below to lay out your pieces. 

Sew the units together into rows.  Press seams toward the colored fabrics, away from the white background.

Sew the completed rows together to finish the top.  Press seams toward the bottom.

Sandwich the pillow top with a 17.5” square piece of batting and quilt using straight lines approximately 3/8” apart. 

Pillow Back

Using the scraps from the front, cut a total of 289 1.5” squares.

(I wanted to make the white fabric have more of a presence than any of the prints on the back so I chose to cut approximately 85 of the 1.5” squares from my white print and from each of the other 8 prints on the back of my pillow I cut 26 squares.)

Arrange your squares randomly in a grid 17 squares by 17 squares.  Have fun and don’t get bothered when your white squares end up next to each other.  It’s okay and you’ll love it in the end! 

Sew each row of 17 squares together. Press the first row to the left and press the second row to the right, alternating each row. 

Sew all 17 rows together to complete the pillow back. Press seams towards the bottom. 

Sandwich the pillow back with a 17.5” square piece of batting and quilt using straight lines approximately 3/8” apart. 

Completing the Pillow

With right sides together, pin the pillow top to the pillow back. 

Starting on the side of the pillow, sew around the perimeter.  Leave 8” open to turn. 

Turn right side out and fill with fiberfil. 

Using a blind hem stitch, secure the opening by hand. 

Enjoy your pillow! 


  1. What a fun gift Katie! I am sure she will love it. The back is awesome too :)

    1. Thanks Karen! She loved it, especially the colors which were very "her"!