teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Saturday 16 May 2015

How To Make A Pillow Cushion From A Quilt Block

We're now at Day 6 the halfway point of the Benartex Burlap Brights Block Hop.

The Benartex Design Team have a new block design ready for you over on the Benartex Sew in Love {with Fabric} blog today and I'm joining in by sharing some ideas with on how you can use my On The Bright Side block design from Day 1 to make On The Bright Side quilts and also an On The Bright Side cushion.

Update at Thursday, 21 May 2015
NB: It has come to my attention that a quilting tutorial website has linked to this tutorial and are calling my cushion The Kaleidoscope Quilt Block Pillow.  This is incorrect; the block design is my own and the block, quilts and cushions made from my block design are all officially called On The Bright Side.

 I thought it would be fun to put together a few photo samples of how the On The Bright Side block can look made up into a quilt - I haven't calculated overall fabric requirements for the On The Bright Side quilts or anything so please don't expect to find a full-blown pattern, I've just set them out in a few variations.

9 block On The Bright Side quilt with wide sashing - each block facing the same direction.

updated at February 2016
I've now made the quilt up as a 9 block with sashing and you can read about it here.

16 block On The Bright Side quilt with narrow sashing - block rotation creates four red crosses and a centre blue cross.

And finally a 16 block On The Bright Side quilt with no sashing - again the blocks are rotated to create four red and one blue cross.


Could be you've made one block and don't really want to make any more, maybe you need a gift in a hurry?  
How about taking that one block and turning it into an On The Bright Side cushion?  
That's exactly what I've done with my sample block for the block hop.

Here's how you can do exactly the same - it's a technique you can use time and time again with any quilt block - just adapt your block and sashing sizes to match the size of your cushion form.

How To Sash A Quilt Block 

For this sample, I'm increasing my 12-1/2" unfinished On The Bright Side quilt block with sashing to create a 16-1/2"  unfinished quilt block which I'll then use to create the front of my finished cushion.  Full details of how to make my On The Bright Side quilt block are available here on the Benartex blog Sew in Love {with Fabric}

(1) 12-1/2" quilt block
(2) 12-1/2" x 2-1/2" strips - solid white
(2) 16-1/2" x 2-1/2" strips - solid white
neutral thread

Using a scant 1/4" seam I attached the two shorter white strips to two opposite sides of the block.

After pressing the seams open I attached the two longer white strips to the final two opposite sides then pressed all seams open.

I now have a 16-1/2" unfinished (16" finished) block.

Oops, I forgot to take a pic of the block at this stage so I'll have to give you a glimpse of how it looks after quilting. I'm quite getting ahead of myself!!!

In true BBC Blue Peter 'Here's one I prepared earlier' fashion (showing that I really am an English child of the 60s!) I'm going to point you all over to my hugely popular tute Quilted Cushion With Hidden Zipper but before you rush over there let me tell you just a few bits I did differently on this particular cushion - and it's all down to having so much white solid on the block:

Things I Did Differently To Quilt A White Block:
1) I wanted the white solid to stay just that - white - so instead of using 'natural' batting, I needed to use white batting.  If you've never tried white batting it really makes a huge difference under white fabric - if you try the two side by side you'll see just how 'yellow' the natural batting makes white fabric look;
2)  I didn't have any white batting to hand and I wanted to crack on making the cushion so I improvised and used Pellon fusible fleece instead - it worked brilliantly;
3)  I took time snipping and removing all coloured threads from the back of the block before fusing it to the fleece - I didn't want a stray brightly coloured strand showing through later; and
4) I hand quilted the block rather than machine quilting.

I've done a simple hand quilted long running stitch around the white sections and then bordered the original block with a complete hand quilted square.  

It's a white embroidery cotton from my stash that has a single strand of silver running through it too.

I've also added a large white button from my stash to the centre of the block - the button's covered in solid white cotton fabric so it matches perfectly.

And having nipped over to my Quilted Cushion With Hidden Zipper Tute myself and followed my instructions there, this is how my finished On The Bright Side cushion looks.

And I'm loving those popping Burlap Brights on the back.

Check out the zipper hiding under that yellow section.

I'm loving my On The Bright Side cushion, I particularly like how the hand quilting recesses the white solid and the colours pop out even more and it looks so incredibly crisp and clean.  What do you think?

Clicking on an image will take you to a new page of crafty goodness :)

Disclaimer: Some fabrics used were supplied by Benartex at no charge to mbCD otherwise this post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.

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  1. I love your pillow. The button and the hand quilting give it extra eye appeal. Thank you.

  2. What a lovely cushion! I love the hand quilting and the bold, bright colours :-)

  3. The pillow is wonderful but I LOVE the quilt with no sashing. that's what I plan to do with your pattern!

    1. Thanks Sally and congrats on being one of the Burlap Brights winners, have you made anything with your winning bundle yet? - Chris :D

  4. Reallllllly love your Pillow!!! Awesome!

  5. I love your block and color! The hand quilting makes it so special, it finished into a beautiful pillow!

  6. I love your pillow and the rainbow colors. Love how you did the zipper

  7. Gorgeous pillow. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love your block design & the bright colors!

  9. Love your bold graphic block and thank you very much for the detailed how-to information!

  10. What a striking block for a cushion! I love it :-)

  11. Cute pillow, love the fabrics too!

  12. Love the texture of these fabrics.

  13. Lovely colors and texture fabrics. I love the pillow pattern. Thank you for sharing a tutorial on making the pattern into a quilt. I think I will make a QOV using this pattern.

    1. Wow Karen a QOV would be really great, if you do use the pattern I'd love to see how it looks and what a great cause - Chris :D

  14. I love those primary colours, thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  15. They do just pop! I love it when a block design shines and pops forward--I love the contrast. I love blenders and solids for that reason, too.
    I can't wait to try your zipper tutorial!

    1. Glad you love it Rachell, let me know if you try the zipper tute and let me have pics for my blog post - Chris :D

  16. Lovely pillow! Thanks for linking up with TGIFF!

  17. What a beautiful cushion and your quilting is so neat! I love how you've used the same bright colours for the back of the cushion.

  18. Oh my goodness. I would love to make something wonderful with those beautiful burlap fabrics!

  19. I love your blocks, the fabric and colours really make them stand out, the cushion is a great idea too.

  20. What great colours. Really bright, but not pure primaries.

  21. I love the colors in this pillow. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  22. What a fun post to rejuvinate under our rainbow theme this week!! (I've missed ya...thank for stopping by today!)

  23. This is a lovely block and a great pillow :)

  24. love the colors of this pillow cushion from a quilt block, thanks for sharing the pillow at Fabulous Friday,this would go perfectly in my quest bedroom which is done in yellow.

  25. WooHoo! Got my FQ bundle and will be making the quilt (no sashing) that makes stars. Will make it as big as I can with my FQs! Love these fabrics and your block!

  26. Only just seen this today , but it is fabulous. I adore anything to do with rainbow colours and that block is just gorgeous. I will have to make it with my quilting group. They will love it too.

  27. A very nice post. I like the quilting variations of your block. The way you installed the zipper is so professional.

  28. Isn't it great how one little, white button can make all the difference! THanks for sharing at Tuesday Archives under our button theme this week.

  29. Great bright block design, and it goes together so many different ways, very clever.

  30. Wonderful tutorial and a fantastic block. I'm very pleased that you set the record straight on the creation of this gem, it irks me when credit is not properly given to the artist. I will watch for more from you, many thanks.


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Chris Dodsley

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