How to Make a Four Patch Pillow

The first time I made the Slightly Scrambled Quilt using fat quarters I made way too many four patches. In fact, the second time I made too many as well. I don't always count out individual blocks as I make projects. So this means I often have too many.

So what's a gal to do with extra four patches? Usually I put them in my scrap bag. But, this time I decided to make a pillow. I am sure glad I did because it turned out so cute and goes well with my Slightly Scrambled Quilt.

Get a copy of the Slightly Scrambled Quilt Pattern here.

For starters let's talk about pillow size. I wanted my pillow to be pretty full. I also wanted to upcycle a pillow I already had and not buy a new one.

I started by measuring the couch pillow I wanted to use. It came out to be about 18 inches x 18 inches. Because I wanted the result to be full I decided to make the cover around 16 inches and so the pillow would fully fill the cover. 

First, let me say in this example I am using 4 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch four patch units. I did the math and decided to sew 4 units x 4 units. This would make the result 16 1/2 inches x 16 1/2 inches. Note: Each seam takes away 1/2 inch.

Here is a little equation to figure out your math:

block size x number of blocks in the row = total - (number of seams x 1/2)

in my example:

4 1/2 in. x 4= 18 in. - (3 seams x 1/2 in.) =  16 1/2 in.

Once you have the math figured out, lay out your patches.

Sew your four patches into rows and and press seams in each row in alternating directions. Then, sew your rows together. I like to press these seams open to reduce any bulk when quilting.

Now it's time to make your quilt sandwich like you would a regular quilt. Cut your backing and batting two inches wider that the pillow top. Place a piece of backing down, right side up. Then, place down your batting. Lastly, pillow top right side up. Baste. Quilt as you prefer.

Trim around your pillow top and square up edges if needed.

Next, cut two pieces of fabric (12 in. x 16 1/2 in.) for the back of the quilt. The fabrics need to overlap in the middle of the back of the pillow and we need some fabric to hem the edge. So that is why I cut 12 inches x 16 1/2 inches.


Hem both pieces of fabric on one of the 16 1/2 inch edges by folding the fabric over twice and pressing. Then, sew 1/8 in. away from the folded edge.

Pin one of the hemmed pieces of fabric right side together with the front of the pillow. Sew 1/4 in. around the edge on three sides leaving an opening on the hemmed side.

Repeat by placing the other piece of fabric right sides together on the face of the pillow. Pin in place and sew 1/4 inch around the edge on three sides leaving the hemmed edge open.

See below for what the finished pillow case should look like.

Now, flip inside out. You can press the edges a bit if you want a more crisp look, or you can just insert your pillow. Either way looks great.

Even if your seams aren't perfect, this pillow is very forgiving. I had to go back and fix a small spot I missed in my first pass because my seam allowance wasn't  consistent.

Making a pillow used to make me scarred. Then, one day I made some envelope pillows for my couch and realized how easy they are. Quilted pillows are just as fun and rewarding. Give it a try!

Better yet, get a copy of the Slightly Scrambled Quilt Pattern and make a four patch pillow case to go with your quilt. The best part is you won't have to buy extra fabric because you can use your scraps.

Happy sewing!

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