Arrange colors from lightest to darkest to give a pillow cover a subtle shift. Fabrics are from the Artisan Spirit Shimmer collection by Deborah Edwards Northcott Studio for Northcott.
Gradations Pillow Cover
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Inspired by: Fly the Flag from designers Jo Kramer & Kelli Hanken

Quilt tester: Diane Tomlinson

Finished pillow: 14×26" rectangle

Finished block: 4×6" rectangle


Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

  • 9×21" piece (fat eighth) each light pink, dark pink, lilac, plum, purple, and dark purple prints (blocks)
  • 18×21" piece (fat quarter) navy print (blocks)
  • 1/8 yard purple stripe (flange)
  • 1/2 yard backing fabric
  • 14×26" pillow form

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From each light pink, dark pink, lilac, plum, purple, and dark purple print, cut:

  • 4—2-1/2×4-1/2" rectangles

From navy print, cut:

  • 24—2-1/2" squares

From purple stripe, cut:

  • 2—1-1/2×26-1/2" border strips
  • 2—1-1/2×12-1/2" border strips

From backing fabric, cut:

  • 2—14-1/2×15-3/4" rectangles

Assemble Blocks

Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seam toward darker fabric.

1 Referring to Diagram 1, lay out one light pink 2-1/2×4-1/2" rectangle, two navy print 2-1/2" squares, and one dark pink 2-1/2×4-1/2" rectangle in pairs. Sew together pieces in pairs. Join pairs to make a pink block. The block should be 4-1/2×6-1/2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make four pink blocks total.

Gradations Pillow Cover

2. Referring to Diagram 2, repeat Step 1 with lilac print and plum print 2-1/2×4-1/2" rectangles to make four lilac-plum blocks.

Gradations Pillow Cover

3. Referring to Diagram 3, repeat Step 1 with purple print and dark purple print 2-1/2×4-1/2" rectangles to make four purple blocks.

Gradations Pillow Cover

Assemble Pillow Top

1. Referring to Pillow Top Assembly Diagram, lay out blocks in three horizontal rows. Sew pieces together in rows, pressing seams in opposite directions. Sew together rows to make pillow top center. Press seams in one direction. The pillow top center should be 12-1/2×24-1/2" including seam allowances.

Gradations Pillow Cover

2. Referring to Pillow Top Assembly Diagram, sew purple stripe 1-1/2×12-1/2" border strips to short edges of pillow top center. Add purple stripe 1-1/2×26-1/2" border strips to remaining edges to complete pillow top. Press all seams toward border. The pillow top should be 14-1/2×26-1/2" including seam allowances.

Finish Pillow

1. Turn one short edge of each backing 14-1/2×15-3/4" rectangle under 1/4"; press. Turn same long edges under 1/4" again; press. Topstitch folded edges to hem.

2. Referring to Pillow Back Assembly Diagram, overlap hemmed edges of backing rectangles 4" to make a 14-1/2×26-1/2 " rectangle. Stitch across overlap to make pillow back.

Gradations Pillow Cover

3. Layer pillow top and pillow back with right sides together. Stitch all edges to make pillow cover. Turn right side out through opening in back; press.

4. Topstitch in the ditch between the border and blocks to make a flange.

5. To complete, insert pillow form in pillow cover.