Every sewing project has an “aha” moment. Somewhere in the process of pinning, pressing, and seaming there comes a revelation when a useless piece of fabric transforms into something else, something to wear, to use or to simply admire.

I was struck with several of these moments while piecing these Pinwheel Pillows. From the unexpected way triangles are created from squares to the efficient use of fabrics (only two prints for all three pillow tops!), this project has “aha” written all over it.

To help make all this magic happen I enlisted some new favorites from Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim collection. Because these patterns are woven not printed, the front and reverse sides create a subtle but effective contrast. What a treat to get four prints for the price of two! The pillow backs are finished with the Micro Stripe fabric from the same collection, a soft chambray that seems miraculously at home with just about everything.

With all their unexpected twists, these pillows really were a delight to make. I may just surprise myself and whip up three more this weekend! - Corinne

Materials

These are enough materials to make three pillows.

Notes

Prewash all fabrics before starting.

Use 1/4-inch seam allowances for piecing, and 1/2-inch seam allowances elsewhere.

All pieces here are shown at approximately half size.

Pattern

Cut

Cut six 13 ¼ -inch squares from the two Pinwheel fabrics (the Medium Stripe Denim and the Deluxe Twill Stripe).

Cut three 25 by 19 inch pieces and three 25 by 15 inch pieces from the Backing fabric (the Micro Stripe).

Note: When cutting simple rectangular shapes for patterns such as this, straight, clean cuts are key. The best way to make these cuts is with a rotary cutter and a non-slip quilting ruler on a self-healing cutting mat. If you have limited experience using a rotary cutter, I recommend visiting our Rotary Cutting Tutorial.

Arrange Pinwheel Squares

You will need four squares of the Pinwheel fabric for each pillow.

Here’s how to arrange the fabrics to make the same combinations we did…

Medium Stripe Reverse Square

Lay one square of the Medium Stripe wrong side up. Place a second piece on top, wrong side up and with the stripes parallel to the first square’s stripes. Repeat with remaining two squares. Mark and sew as described below.

Deluxe Twill Stripe Reverse Square

Lay one square of the Deluxe Twill Stripe wrong side up. Place a second piece on top, wrong side up and with the stripes parallel to the first square’s stripes. Repeat with remaining two squares. Mark and sew as described below.

Medium Stripe and Deluxe Twill Square

Lay one square of the Deluxe Twill wrong side up. Place a square of the Medium Stripe on top, wrong side up and with the stripes parallel to the first square’s stripes. Repeat with remaining two squares. Mark and sew as described below.

Mark and Sew Pinwheel Triangle

Orient a stack of two squares so that the stripes are vertical and the edges are aligned. Repeat with the other identical stack of 2 squares.

With a pencil and a straight edge ruler, mark a line from the upper left corner of one of the square stacks to the lower right corner. Pin fabrics in place on each side of marked line.

On the second stack of squares, mark the line from the upper right corner to the lower left. Pin fabrics in place on each side of marked line.

Sew a seam ¼ inch along each side of the marked lines on both squares.

Cut along the marked lines of both squares. You now have four pieces.

Open up the pieces and press the seams to one side. Since the fabrics are the same or similar, it does not matter which direction you press your seams, but make sure to press them toward the same fabric on all four squares.

Trim any seam allowance that extends beyond the corners.

Complete the Pinwheel

Lay out the four pieced squares as shown above, making sure that all adjacent stripes are perpendicular to each other.

Lay the top right square over the top left square with right sides together. Align and pin the right side edge of the two layered squares.

Repeat to join the two bottom squares.

Sew along pinned edges. Finish these seamed edges with a zigzag stitch and press to one side.

Stitch along the long sides where the triangle points meet with a zigzag stitch.

With right sides facing, align and pin together the edges of the top and bottom halves of the pinwheel, carefully matching up the points at the center.

Sew along the pinned edge, making sure that the seam meets the tips of the pinwheel points without sewing through them.

Press the seam open.

Finish the Pillow

You will need one 25 by 19 inch piece and one 25 by 15 inch piece of the Micro Stripe for each pillow.

Hem one long side of each of the Backing pieces by folding the edge toward the wrong side ¼ inch twice. Press, pin and edge stitch the fold.

Lay the pillow top flat with the right side up. Lay the larger backing piece on top wrong side up, aligning the left raw edges.

Repeat with the smaller Backing piece, aligning the right raw edges. Trim all sides straight.

The square should measure 25 by 25 inches. Keep it as is for a loose fitting case. For a more fitted case, trim up to one inch off all four sides.

Pin the outside edges of all pieces in place.

Sew around all four sides. Finish edges with a zigzag stitch and trim the corners.

Turn the pillow right side out and press edges flat. Stuff with the pillow form and you’re ready to snuggle up!