Garden Party Pillow
Arrange brightly colored hexagons to mimic flowers and leaves to create a pillow perfect for spring. Fabrics are from the Bella Suede collection for P&B Textiles.
Inspired by Fireworks from designer Diane Gilleland
Quilt tester: Jan Ragaller
• 1⁄4 yard each yellow print, blue print, purple print, pink print, teal print, and green print (flower unit)
• 3⁄8 yard brown print (pillow top)
• 1⁄2 yard dark brown print (pillow top, backing)
• 12×16" pillow form
• Water-soluble glue stick (optional)
Finished pillow: 12-1⁄2×16-1⁄2"
Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.
Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances unless otherwise indicated. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.
Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for hexagon pattern.
From yellow print, cut:
• 4-2-1⁄2" squares
From each blue, purple, pink, and teal print, cut:
• 6-2-1⁄2" squares
From green print, cut:
• 8-2-1⁄2" squares
From brown print, cut:
• 1-11×15" rectangle
From dark brown print, cut:
• 2-11×13" rectangles
• 2-1-1⁄2×17" strips
• 2-1-1⁄2×11" strips
You will need a paper template for each hexagon (36 total). Precut paper hexagon templates are available at quilt shops and by mail order. For this project, purchase hexagon templates that have 1"-long edges. If you wish to make templates, click on "Download this Project" above for hexagon patterns and trace the hexagon pattern on sturdy paper 36 times. Carefully and accurately cut out paper hexagon templates on traced lines.
1. Pin a paper hexagon template to wrong side of a yellow print 2-1⁄2" square (Diagram 1). Cut out fabric hexagon, adding a 3⁄8" seam allowance to all edges. (Your seam allowance does not have to be exact because the paper hexagon will be an accurate guide.)
2. Fold seam allowance over one template edge. Hand-baste or use a water-soluble fabric glue stick to baste fabric in place. To hand-baste, hand-stitch through fabric, but not the paper, with a long stitch (Diagram 2). Finger-press basted edge.
3. As you approach a corner, fold next seam allowance over template and take a stitch or two to tack the corner in place (Diagram 3). Repeat folding and basting with remaining seam allowances to make a yellow basted hexagon. Remove pin; do not remove paper template.
4. Repeat steps 1–3 to make four yellow basted hexagons total.
5. Repeat steps 1–3 to make six blue, six purple, six pink, six teal, and eight green basted hexagons.
Assemble Flower Unit
In English paper piecing, the quiltmaker decides the order of construction because the paper stabilizes the fabric, making it possible to work in any direction. These instructions are for starting at the center and working outward.
1. With right sides together, layer a yellow basted hexagon and a blue basted hexagon, aligning a pair of edges for stitching. Hold hexagons together with your fingers or a clip.
2. Thread a hand-sewing needle with matching thread. Begin whipstitching at one corner; use tiny stitches and catch a few threads of both fabric folds (Diagram 4). You'll feel the templates with your needle, but do not stitch through them. Backstitch to secure, then stitch to opposite corner.
3. When you reach opposite corner, take a backstitch, then knot thread by making a tiny backstitch in fabric and passing needle through thread loop.
4. Lightly press open the joined hexagons and check seam from right side; your stitches should not show. If they do, take smaller whipstitches.
5. Referring to Diagram 5, continue in the same manner to join six blue basted hexagons total to yellow hexagon, setting in seams as necessary, to make a flower shape. To set in a hexagon, pin and sew seam on one side of hexagon. Reposition stitched hexagons so next seam is aligned, and continue sewing.
6. Repeat steps 1–5 with purple, pink, and teal basted hexagons to make a total of four flower shapes.
7. Referring to Diagram 6, join four flower shapes and green basted hexagons to make a flower unit.
8. Press, remove paper templates, and press again.
Assemble Pillow Top
1. Center flower unit on brown print 11×15" rectangle; pin in place (Diagram 7).
2. Stitching 1⁄8" from hexagon unit edges, topstitch hexagon unit to rectangle to make appliquéd pillow top.
3. Join dark brown 1-1⁄2×11" strips to short edges of appliquéd pillow top. Add dark brown 1-1⁄2×17" strips to remaining edges to make pillow top (Diagram 7). Press all seams toward dark brown strips. The pillow top should be 17×13" including seam allowances.
1. Turn a long edge of each dark brown print 11×13" rectangle under 1⁄4"; press. Turn same edges under 1⁄4" again; press. Topstitch folded edges to hem pillow back pieces.
2. Referring to Pillow Back Assembly Diagram, overlap hemmed edges of pillow back pieces about 4" to make a 17×13" rectangle. Stitch across overlaps to make pillow back.
3. Layer pillow top and pillow back with right sides together. Stitch outer edges together to make pillow cover. Turn right side out through opening in pillow back; press. Insert 12×16"pillow form to complete pillow.