Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Friendship Pillow Tutorial

My last tutorial of 2011 is for a Friendship block pillow.  I have used scraps so there are no specific fabric quantities, this tutorial explains how to make the block, there are some links for completing your pillow and the rest is up to you!  
The foundation paper pieced blocks can be downloaded here and you can print this whole tutorial with/without pictures using the gadget at the bottom of this post.
Each square will be finished size of 2.5" and you need 4 squares to make a complete block.  I made 9 blocks, these join to make a total finished area of 15" x15".  I added sashing to the size I wanted the pillow.
First you will need to do some preparation...
1. Printing
You will need 36 paper foundation squares in total.  Cut each square out leaving a 1/4" border all round.  I use thin cheap 70gsm printing paper.
2. Cutting Fabric
Cut 36 squares 3 1/2" square.  This will give you the exact size triangle you need for the larger triangle on the paper pattern, it you would like to err on the side of caution make your squares bigger 
3 3/4".  Cut each fabric square in half diagonally, you should have 36 pairs of half square triangles
Cut 36 strips 1 3/8 x 4 1/2".   I used the same fabric throughout for this, a text print fromt he Hometown collection by Sweetwater.   Your fabric will need to contrast with the squares.
3. Sewing the Block
 Now you are ready to sew, take one paper square and one fabric strip, place the square evenly on top of the wrong side of the fabric and pin.  The fabric should go 1/4 over each of the diagonal lines.
This is the same square but seen from the other side.  I made sure my text fabric always faced towards the smaller triangle throughout.
Now take a pair of triangles.  Take one triangle, place it right sides together over the fabric strip so that the right angle is against the smaller triangle and the diagonal edge lines up with the fabric strip.
This is the same picture but from the other side- the side you will stitch.  you can see the triangle should hang out of the edges of the square just a little.  Pin on the longer diagonal line.
On your machine you will need a larger needle than normal- I use a 90 and a very small stitch,1.5.  I also use a clear foot for paper piecing.  Starting at the beginning of theseam allowance, sew along the diagonal from corner to corner.  You can stitch end to end of the paper.  Don't back stitch, the stitches are so small they do no need securing.
Turn over, flip the fabric triangle back and press.  It should cover the paper either exactly or with a little room to spare.
Take the other triangle, line up as before against the fabric strip, right sides together, turn over and pin the smaller diagonal line.
Stitch from seam allowance, along the line and along the rest of the seam allowance to the end in one continuous line.  Turn over, flip the fabric triangle out and press.  There will be a more excess here as this triangle is smaller.
Trim the block using the paper to guide you.  It should be 3" square.
Repeat on 35 more squares- I never said this would be quick, but it can be systematised!  I made anassembly line for this.  All the strips were pinned on to all the squares. Then I added all the large triangles, then all the small triangles in a chain piecing style.
The finished squares fit together in groups of 4.   I kept the papers in up to this point, once I had joined them into 4 I tore the paper out..
The blocks are sewn together in rows of 3
Then the rows are sewn together.  I pressed all the seams open to reduce bulk.  A back view always helps you see how everything fits together.
This should measure 15 1/2 " untrimmed, mine was a little smaller!  But hey, you can then make it the square the size you want by adding sashing.  Next you need to add batting and quilt in your desired style.  I echo quilted around the different diamond shapes.

You will need a back for the cushion and to add batting and quilting to that, or use a heavier weight fabric and no batting.  I  cut my front and back to be 18 1/2" square after quilting and use a concealed zipper closure.   I use a 1/2" seam allowance, neaten the seam edges and trim down the corners.  The end cushion will be 17 1/2" and will make for a plump feel with a 18" feather inner.  Amy has a lovely pillow tutorial here using the same closure and if you prefer you can do an envelope back or a lapped zip- I find a concealed zip easier, neater and it uses less fabric!  I found a great tutorial for a concealed zip here.
It does give a lovely neat finish!  A concealed zipper foot is a good investment, maybe not as good as gold but pretty useful x
sib blog


  1. i love it kerry. so simple and so pretty. i love your fabric choices.

  2. What a great cushion (and a wonderful tutorial!) - the fabric choice is fabulous!

  3. Beautiful pillow Kerry! Are the border fabrics velvet? In the last picture I thought I detected a sheen. I love the text for all the center pieces. Is this a gift?

  4. Great tutorial - thank you! Your pillow is so wonderful made, I love your color & fabric choices!

  5. Lovely cushion Kerry! All those earthy colours and different textures make it look so warm and cozy!

  6. love this pillow! :) (and that is some paper piecing I can handle...)

  7. looks great! I didn't expect this to be paper pieced, but I should have known! lol Those oh so perfect corners!

  8. Lovely pillow! And a tutorial to go with it is even better! Thanks so much for that.

  9. Another great tutorial! I will definitely be giving this a go in the new year :)

    Have a great Christmas!

  10. this is awesome! thanks for sharing! Merry Xmas and happy 2012.

  11. Great tutorial, Kerry! I really like the way you have red in every friendship block on the pillow. They are so nice together.

  12. your pillow is fantastic and i just pinned your tutorial. now we'll see how long it takes me to get to it...
    thank you especially for the shot of the back of the piecing. i'm not brave enough to take photos like that yet, but i adore seeing them.

  13. It is such a nice tutorial!I need to make one maybe in a mini quilt style. Thank you for sharing! I always admire people take their time to write tutorial and share.

  14. Thanks for the awesome tutorial! Love this pillow and love the one you made for Ayumi even more!

  15. Hello,
    What a beautiful pillow carry!The friendship pillow's design is fantastic.Thanks for sharing this blog.
    Mattress pad memory foam


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