Big Pinwheel Pillows
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
- 1 yard of Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim Medium Stripe, Indigo
- 1 yard of Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim Deluxe Twill Stripe, Indigo
- 1 ½ yards of Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim Micro Stripe, Indigo
- 100% Cotton Thread in color 1040, 274 yards
- 3 24 by 24-inch pillow forms
These are enough materials to make three pillows.
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.
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.
Repeat to join the two bottom squares.
Stitch along the long sides where the triangle points meet with a zigzag stitch.
Sew along the pinned edge, making sure that the seam meets the tips of the pinwheel points without sewing through them.
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.
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!