Careful color placement in the classic Jacob's Ladder block gives a pair of pillows two different looks. Fabrics are from the Good Vibes Only collection by Shayla Wolf for Windham Fabrics.

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Inspired by Make a Trade from Annette Plog of Petite Quilts

Project tester: Lindsay Mayland

Finished pillows: 17-1⁄2" square
Finished block: 6" square

Materials for Star Pillow

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

  • 1⁄2 yard white print (blocks, border)
  • 5"-square yellow print (blocks)
  • 10"-square each teal, fuchsia, black, and black text prints (blocks)
  • 22"-square muslin
  • 22"-square batting
  • 1⁄2 yard backing fabric
  • 18"-square pillow form

Cut Fabrics for Star Pillow

Cut pieces in the following order. If you prefer to make triangle-squares larger than necessary and trim them to size, cut 3" squares instead of the 2-7⁄8" squares listed in cutting instructions.

From white print, cut:

  • 2-3-1⁄2×18-1⁄2" border strips
  • 2-3-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" border strips
  • 8-2-7⁄8" squares
  • 32-1-1⁄2" squares

From yellow print, cut:

  • 4-1-1⁄2" squares

From teal print, cut:

  • 28-1-1⁄2" squares

From fuchsia print, cut:

  • 4-2-7⁄8" squares

From black print, cut:

  • 4-2-7⁄8" squares

From black text print, cut:

  • 4-2-1⁄2" squares

From backing fabric, cut:

2-11-3⁄4×18-1⁄2" rectangles

Assemble Blocks for Star Pillow

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, pair white print 1-1⁄2" squares with yellow print and teal print 1-1⁄2" squares. Sew together pairs to make 16 Four-Patch units in the colorways shown in Diagram 1. The units should be 2-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

2. Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on wrong side of each white print 2-7⁄8" square.

3. Layer a marked white print square atop a fuchsia print 2-7⁄8" square. Sew together with two seams, stitching 1⁄4" on each side of marked line (Diagram 2). Cut apart on marked line. Press open to make two fuchsia triangle-squares. Each triangle-square should be 2-1⁄2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make eight fuchsia triangle-squares total.

4. Repeat Step 3 with remaining marked white print squares and black print 2-7⁄8" squares to make eight black triangle-squares (Diagram 2). Each triangle-square should be 2-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

5. Referring to Diagram 3 for placement and orientation of pieces, lay out four Four-Patch units, four triangle-squares, and one black text print 2-1⁄2" square in three rows. Sew together pieces in rows. Join rows to make Block A. The block should be 6-1⁄2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second Block A.

6. Referring to Diagram 4 for placement and orientation of pieces, repeat Step 5 to make two of Block B. Each block should be 6-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

Assemble Star Pillow Top

1. Referring to Star Pillow Top Assembly Diagram, alternate A and B blocks, orienting them as shown. Sew together blocks in pairs. Press seams in opposite directions. Join pairs to make pillow center. Press seam in one direction. The pillow center should be 12-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

2. Sew white print 3-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" border strips to opposite edges of pillow center. Add white print 3-1⁄2×18-1⁄2" border strips to remaining edges to make pillow top. Press all seams toward border. The pillow top should be 18-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

Finish Star Pillow

1. Layer pillow top, batting, and muslin squares; baste. Quilt as desired.

2. Trim batting and muslin even with pillow top edges.

3. Turn one long edge of each backing fabric 11-3⁄4×18-1⁄2" rectangle under 1⁄4"; press. Turn under 1⁄4" again. Stitch in place to hem pillow back pieces. Each pillow back piece should be 11-1⁄4×18-1⁄2"including seam allowances.

4. Referring to Pillow Back Assembly Diagram, overlap hemmed edges of pillow back pieces by 4" to make an 18-1⁄2" square. Stitch across overlaps to make pillow back.

5. Layer pillow top and pillow back with right sides together. Stitch 1⁄2" from outer edges to make pillow cover. Turn right side out through opening in pillow back; press.

6. Insert pillow form in pillow cover to complete the star pillow.

Materials for Chain Pillow

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

  • 5"-square each blue, teal, yellow, orange, pink, and fuchsia prints (blocks)
  • 1⁄4 yard gray print (blocks)
  • 1⁄2 yard white print (blocks, border)
  • 10"-square black print (blocks)
  • 22"-square muslin
  • 22"-square batting
  • 1⁄2 yard backing fabric
  • 18"-square pillow form

Cut Fabrics for Chain Pillow

Cut pieces in the following order. If you prefer to make triangle-squares larger than necessary and trim them to size, cut 3" squares instead of the 2-7⁄8" squares listed in cutting instructions.

From each blue, teal, yellow, orange, pink, and fuchsia prints, cut:

  • 4-1-1⁄2" squares

From gray print, cut:

  • 8-2-7⁄8" squares
  • 16-1-1⁄2" squares

From white print, cut:

  • 2-3-1⁄2×18-1⁄2" border strips
  • 2-3-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" border strips
  • 8-2-7⁄8" squares
  • 16-1-1⁄2" squares

From black print, cut:

  • 24-1-1⁄2" squares

From backing fabric, cut:

  • 2-11-3⁄4×18-1⁄2" rectangles

Assemble Blocks for Chain Pillow

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 5 for color pairings, join blue, teal, yellow, orange, pink, fuchsia, gray, white, and black print 1-1⁄2" squares in pairs. Sew together pairs to make 20 Four-Patch units in the colorways shown in Diagram 5. The units should be 2-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

2. Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on wrong side of each white print 2-7⁄8" square.

3. Layer a marked white print square atop a gray print 2-7⁄8" square. Sew together with two seams, stitching 1⁄4" on each side of marked line (Diagram 6). Cut apart on marked line. Press open to make two triangle-squares. Each triangle-square should be 2-1⁄2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make 16 triangle-squares total.

4. Referring to Diagram 7 for placement and orientation of pieces, lay out five Four-Patch units and four triangle-squares in three rows. Sew together pieces in rows. Join rows to make Block A. The block should be 6-1⁄2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second Block A.

5. Referring to Diagram 8 for placement, and orientation of pieces, repeat Step 4 to make two of Block B. Each block should be 6-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

Assemble Chain Pillow Top

1. Referring to Chain Pillow Top Assembly Diagram, alternate A and B blocks, orienting them as shown. Sew together blocks in pairs. Press seams in opposite directions. Join pairs to make a pillow center. Press seam in one direction. The center should be 12-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

2. Sew white print 3-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" border strips to opposite edges of pillow center. Add white print 3-1⁄2×18-1⁄2" border strips to remaining edges to make pillow top. Press all seams toward border. The pillow top should be 18-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

Finish Chain Pillow

1. Layer pillow top, batting, and muslin squares; baste. Quilt as desired.

2. Trim batting and muslin even with pillow top edges.

3. Turn one long edge of each backing fabric 11-3⁄4×18-1⁄2" rectangle under 1⁄4"; press. Turn under 1⁄4" again. Stitch in place to hem pillow back pieces. Each pillow back piece should be 11-1⁄4×18-1⁄2"including seam allowances.

4. Referring to Pillow Back Assembly Diagram, overlap hemmed edges of pillow back pieces by 4" to make an 18-1⁄2" square. Stitch across overlaps to make pillow back.

5. Layer pillow top and pillow back with right sides together. Stitch 1⁄2" from outer edges to make pillow cover. Turn right side out through opening in pillow back; press.

6. Insert pillow form in pillow cover to complete the chain pillow.

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