Happy Stripe Pillow

Hello all!  Today I thought I’d share with you a pattern for a cheerful quilted pillow cover with an envelope back.  It’s a great project to while away an afternoon and a fantastic way to use up any 1 to 1-1/2″ strips you have lying around from past projects.  You can also currently purchase the featured pillow cover in my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/peachesandgingham).

Happy Stripe Pillow

One of my babies had to put her two cents in and I couldn’t resist sharing a pic of her sweet little face. Okay – here we go!

Happy Stripe Pillow

Finished size:  Approximately 16″ x 16″

Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise noted.


  • 1 to 1-1/2″ wide strips cotton fabric in assorted colors and patterns, approximately 10.5″ long (you may double the length to make enough for two pillows at one time).  I used 12 different strips from two of Moda’s summer collections, each around 22″ long.
  • Approximately 1/2 yard solid white cotton fabric (I used scraps I had lying around, but I imagine 1/2 yard would give you plenty to work with, if you needed to purchase any.)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutter, guide, & cutting mat
  • Pins (I prefer safety pins, but use whatever feels comfortable to you.)
  • Approximately 18″ x 18″ piece batting, whatever fiber and density you like (I used 100% polyester with a traditional loft, which measures about 3/16 of an inch, purchased at my local craft store.)
  • 16 – 18″ pillow form (found inexpensively at most craft/home supply stores)

Project Guide:

  1. For the front, you’ll need to cut the following from the solid white fabric: (1) 2 top strips measuring 4″ x 18″, and (2) 2 side strips measuring 4-1/4″ x 11″.  Go ahead and do that now.
  2. Arrange your fabric strips in the order you like.  I wanted a sort of gradual rainbow effect, so mine are sorted by color and tint.
  3. Place two of your 1-1/2″ strips right sides together and stitch along one long side; press to the darker color.  Repeat with each strip until all are joined.  If you used long strips in order to make two center sections for two separate pillows, use your rotary cutter or scissors to cut the piece in half now, somewhere close to the 10-1/2″ mark.  Using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up the corners and even out the edges along the rough outside of the newly created center block.
  4. Place one of your 4-1/4″ x 11″ white fabric strips together with the center block, right sides facing, and stitch together along the 11″ side;  press to the darker color.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite end of the block.  Using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up anything that is uneven.
  5. Place one of your 4″ x 18″ white fabric strips together with the center block, right sides facing, and stitch together along the 18″ side; press to the darker color.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite end of the block.  Again, using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up anything that is uneven.  You’re getting there – the top piecing is finished!
  6. Place your top piece right side up on top of the piece of batting.  Pin in place so it doesn’t move around too much while you’re quilting the top.  Move to your machine and quilt as desired.  I simply stitched horizontal lines on mine to emphasize the stripes – and for level of ease! – but it would be beautiful stitched with a more free-form design as well.  If you desire to stitch horizontal lines as I did, here’s what I did:  (1) Use a ruler to line up the edges between each strip of fabric in the center block (i.e., the ditch), and make small marks at the ends of your fabric so you know where to start and where to leave off quilting.  No worries – the marks will be hidden in the hem after you’re all done!  (2)  Simply start at each mark and guide the fabric toward each ditch, and stitch along the ditch for each piece.  The lines along the top and bottom are a little trickier – you just have to eyeball it, or else mark your fabric.  I didn’t worry too much about making mine look even – I think a little variation gives it character.
  7. Once you’ve finished quilting the top, you’re ready to make the back pieces.  For the back pieces, take the final measurements of your finished top piece.  The width measurement for the back piece will be the same as the width of the top piece.  For the height of the back piece, add 3 inches to the measurement of the height of the top piece and round up to the nearest inch (for example, 19.5 would round up to 20″).  Cut one piece of solid white fabric with these measurements, halve the height measurement of the back piece, and make your cut there (you basically just cut the back piece in half).  So, using the above numbers, each back piece would measure the width of your front by 10″ height (mine measured 17.5″ x 10″).
  8. On one long end of each back piece, fold a hem of 1/4″ and press into place.  Fold over again and press to create an enclosed hem.  Stitch into place.  Repeat with second piece; press both.
  9. Trim the batting on your top piece to the size of the top.  Pin the two back pieces to the top piece, right sides facing and with the envelope seamed parts overlapping in the middle.  Stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Make sure to back stitch a few times over the envelope opening on each side to reinforce it.  I usually back stitch at the corners too, just to have a little extra backup.
  10. Trim your corners if needed to help them lay right – but be careful not to cut your stitches!  Remove the pins and turn the cover back to its right side showing.  Press the outside, insert your pillow and voila!  You’re done!  Now wasn’t that fun?  Thanks for sewing with me!



6 thoughts on “Happy Stripe Pillow

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